Palen Mountains


By: John Vitz


After a pleasant Sat climb of Chuckawalla Mtn with Bob Herlihy and a group of DPS types, we proceeded thru axle-deep sand to a point just eight miles west of Palen. The weather had cooled to a beautiful desert evening after having been a bit squally during the day.

Sun AM we set out across the seven miles of sand and desert varnish to the base of the peak. We were unable to pick out the right route and ended up in a fairly tedious traverse of the southeast ridge. Once on top, as is the general case, the route became readily apparent.

The easy descent was balance with the problem of locating the car in the hundreds of square miles of sand flats and brush filled washes. After tracking ourselves back we reached the paved road by dark, though I don't know when the sand will ever get out of my clutch and gear shift linkage.

The difficult task makes for a crown eliminator and ours was the ninth ascent since the register was placed in 1960. It is an easy peak to do after its base is reached.

A number of roads wander around the east side of the peak but are reported to be poor. We climbed from the sandy road paralleling the road north of Desert Center. This was done to avoid a number of wash crossings on the route from Palen Pass Read. The best route form the west is to climb the main wash on the west face to a point on the summit ridge just to the north of the high point. Its seems strange that some crazy miner hasn't located a mine and especially a road somewhere on the west side of this mountain. Oh well, they can't all be like Orocopia!

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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