Big Maria Mountains, Palen Mountains
By: Gene Olsen
The group (13) met at the power line crossing on the Midland road at 7:30. We caravaned a short distance north on the power line road before abandoning a BMW. Three of' us proceeded north on the road to tower 45/1. This is approximately 7.3 miles from the highway. In all honesty, this was a mistake, for the Red Van if not for Joe McCosker's truck. This is a bad road. 11 of us then headed up the large canyon to the S.E. and exited up the left hand slope at about the 2200 ft. contour level. Round trip took 3+ hours including the summit rest. Six of the party elected to do the south hi point. The drive out was more difficult than the drive in. The drive up the road should terminate at pole number 46/3 and avoid the worst road spot. The climb can be done from here with very little added gain and distance. This parking spot on the map would be where the road jogs west just south of Pt. 1404 and is about 5.7 miles from the highway.
We then caravaned to the Palen Road head going to Inca and west around the end of the McCoy Mountains. At this point there appears to have been extensive changes to the road, and we drove about 6.7 miles past the Palen Pass Road junction on a good road to a flat area just before the road turns bad. See map for distances. We had a good dinner and campfire. Also tried a phone patch for Chuck Stein and ended up talking to Betty Walin (Desert) KD6CY.
Next morning we moved out at 7:30 and ended up two canyons to the right of where we should have been. This resulted in a large elevation loss in one case and a long traverse in another. We ended up at the saddle northeast of the peak and climbed from there. Made a call on the Hand Held and Betty responded. It was like old home week. We dropped down the N/S canyon and were back at the cars by 1:30. A nice trip.
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