Manly Peak, Redlands Canyon Descent, Striped Butte


By: Steve Smith, Ron Jones


This trip was prompted by a recent proposal to initiate a major mining operation at Manly Falls which is located on BLM administered land at the base of Redlands Canyon in the southern Panamint Mountains. Ron and I were interested in seeing the area where the proposed Briggs gold mine would dig out ore around Wanly Palls and extending into the lower canyon. Canyon Resources is currently paying to have an environmental review prepared which will include the opportunity for public comments and review of their mining proposal.

We met Saturday morning at Ballarat with the group sire limited by our two 4WD's to nine participants - seven hikers and two shuttle drivers. Everyone could climb Manly Peak and Stripped Butte on Saturday while two participants agreed to drive the shuttle vehicles back to Manly Falls on Sunday while the remaining seven descended Redlands Canyon from Butte Valley in Death Valley NM to Manly Falls. Ron and I were joined by Dean and Pat Acheson, Jim Conley, Bruce Trotter and Mike Gruntman for the climb and descent while my son Shane Smith and Jeff Gillarde did only the climbing and drove the two shuttle vehicles around.

Although the weather was questionable, we proceeded and the weekend went almost as planned - we ended up dayhiking Redlands instead of backpacking due to the weather. We left three vehicles at the base of Redlands Canyon at Manly Falls and then drove through Goler Wash to Butte Valley. The Goler Road was easy 4WD except for one short steep slope where my narrow tires started spinning but the group was able to push me over it. We were climbing the Striped Butte by late morning and it was a pleasant a mile r.t. with 1,000' of gain, The register showed a lot of people climb this very striking peak. We climbed Manly Peak from the eastside - a little longer than the northern approach but better views. There was a little snow on the ground and a few snow flurries as we climbed near the tap. The step across was wider and steeper than Ron and I remembered and with the rock wet, most participants elected to sign the register after it was handed down.

By the time we were back to the vehicles, the weather was really looking bad which made the clean, weather-tight Anvil Spring cabin most attractive. So...we ended up staying in the pleasant cabin, complete with firewood and enjoyed the evening of interesting conversation. hors-d'oeuvres and cooking inside out of the wind. In talking with Mike, we learned that he left Moscow three years ago and it was interesting to hear about his climbing in the Caucasus Mountains. That night, there was plenty of rain so the cabin was a nice alternative to camping out in Redlands Canyon.

On Sunday, Shane and Jeff dropped us off in upper Redlands Canyon and we had a easy four hour hike down to Manly Falls. The road descends about half way down and then it continued to be easy walking with little brush. At 2,900', we reached Redlands spring which had lots of water sad a Bighorn sheep drinker which had been installed by the BLM. We followed a small stream over several small waterfalls and reached the mining roads around Manly Falls around noon. Having lunch, we discussed the pros and cons of the proposed mining for the area with everyone having an excellent awareness of the entire area end how it would be affected. It was good preparation for those inclines to review and respond to the environmental review when it is released for Public comment.

While waiting for the vehicles to arrive, we watched as miner Dave Pruitt and his workcrew began disassembling a millsite below Manly Falls. He told us that from l982-l987, he had operated the mill to reprocess the old tailings in the area. Dave is also the miner who initiated Paining at Panamint City in the early 1980's until the price of silver dropped. As we watched the dismantling, the vehicles arrived around 3:00p.m. to finish our successful climb and exploration Of Redlands Canyon.

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