Palen Mountains


By: Maris Valkass, John McCully


This was a DPS exploratory trip conducted on 12 March 1994. I have been planning to do this trip several times before, but each time something came up to change my plans. I was glad that John McCully agreed to lead it with me this time. As with most exploratories, the participation is slim, for a while we thought that only four of us will be going. Then in last few days we picked up seven more for a total of thirteen. The participants were: Anna Valkass, John McCully, Carol Smetana, Igor Mamedalin, Suzanne Mamedalin. Tery, Turner. Bruce Turner. Jim Hinkley, John Rhodehamel. Grahm Breakwell, Rena Tishman, Rich Henke, and Maris Valkass.

We met at the intersection of Palen Pass road and Hwy 177. From there we headed towards Palen Pass for about 1.8 miles to an intersection with a north/south road. There we turned south, and drove about 8 miles to quadrangle 23 or 26 shown on 15 minute Palen Mts. topo. The intersection, where a sign points to Ironwood, is about halfway. Except for the beginning, where the road is sandy, it was in pretty good condition. Two VW vans had no problem going through. We followed the large southernmost canyon (south of pk. 2019) to its head wall and climbed up one of the ridges. We left at 8:30, and summited at 1:00. We were half hour on top, and returned to the cars by 5:30. The gain was about 3000 ft. It is a very nice peak and everyone enjoyed it. The register was placed in Feb 1977 by Wes Shellberg Barbara Lilley and Gordon McLeod climbed it in Dec. 1984. followed by Mike Kellog Apr. 1989, and J. Vitz and Donna on Feb. 1993. One of my great enjoyments is reading these registers where only few people over many years have signed in. I have a feeling of having some bond with them, even if I don't know them. The hike was a lot harder than anticipated. The round trip was probably 12 miles. There were many gullies to be crossed which made the walk much more difficult. We still had a nice campfire, but we retired early. Next morning most of us did not have the ambition to do the second peak. We will do Little Maria another time.

Thanks to John McCully for assisting me and everyone else for the wonderful camaraderie.

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