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Has Anyone Ever Climbed in Dead Horse Meadow in the Whites?
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By Ben.
From New Haven, CT
Apr 11, 2012

I was just hiking up in Dead Horse Meadow this weekend, and found a lot of stuff that looks like it would make for pretty good climbing. The meadow is at about 7,500 feet elevation on the east side of the White Mountains and is pretty remote, so I've only ever seen hunters there, but it seems like some climbers must have been there at some point. Either way, I think I'm gonna try to figure out a few routes, but please let me know if anyone has heard anything about it. Or if you feel like finding some first ascents of your own, I can give you directions so we can develop it a bit. Here are some pictures I took.

Dead Horse Meadow 1
Dead Horse Meadow 1


Dead Horse Meadow 2
Dead Horse Meadow 2


Dead Horse Meadow 3
Dead Horse Meadow 3


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By Greg Barnes
Apr 11, 2012
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Needle. Photo by Josh Janes.

That first tower with what looks like a sweet hand crack is super crumbly (just go to the base of the crack and you will see what I mean - rock disintegrating, cams won't hold type crumbly), and there is also an eagle's nest on the left side of the face. We called it the Sentinel because it guards all the rock around there from climbers (since it's so crappy)...

Various people have poked around here and there, you may find hexes from the '70s or even a piton. Don't be too quick to pull out a bolt kit, you will probably find rap slings on top of the formation you thought you were doing an FA on.

By the way, a fun mountain bike ride comes down from Crooked Creek through there, all on the jeep roads. Fun unless you hit it just after they drove the cows in (or out), then the jeep road is trashed!

And as you have already figured out, watch out for gunfire (target shooters, hunters, etc).


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By Ben.
From New Haven, CT
Apr 11, 2012

Thanks for the info. I figured someone must have been there a bit. I'm a student at Deep Springs, so Dead Horse is closer than any of the stuff in Bishop for me. I actually first noticed the area on a cattle drive. I'm putting together a short climbing guide for Deep Springs and the surrounding area, just for the students here, and Dead Horse is one of the most promising spots so if anyone has any info on nice lines that would be great. I've found a fair amount of decent routes in the area, but also a lot of total crap. If you're worried about blowing up the spot, I figure its enough of a pain in the ass to get to to begin with, and Deep Springs only has 26 students so we couldn't crowd it if we tried. Thanks for the email as well.


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By Greg Barnes
Apr 11, 2012
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Needle. Photo by Josh Janes.

Cool, Deep Springs is a fun spot. In spring I've parked near the Caltrans buildings (sort of near the school) and biked up to Westgard, up along the White Mountain road (past the locked gates since it was a bit early season), then down Wyman canyon - of course you have to time it right so you don't get TOO much snow on the ride!

No worries about the school guide, the rock just isn't that good and it's super remote. When you are taking the jeep road up through Dead Horse, there's one tower to the left (south) of the road - kind of the northwestern-most tower in the whole place (nothing worth interest down near that shot-up trailer). In the '90s we did a 5.9ish crack to face (no bolts) on the north to east side, then placed a bolted anchor (no other way down, seemed too sketchy to try counter-weight rappel). Long slings (and maybe rap rings) would be needed, think it was about 90feet. Bolts were 3/8" 5-piece, probably a tad rusty by now (I didn't know to place stainless back then). There's a fun 10+/11- toprope on the west face. Those rap bolts were the only fixed pro we ever left in the whole Dead Horse meadow area.

We also did a couple routes on formations on the east side of the road (maybe 1/4 mile past that first formation, then a bit east). No bolts, no names, mostly 5.7-9 ish.

There is some fun bouldering along the road where it jogs out of Wyman canyon, but I'm sure you've figured that out. Gets a bit hot pretty soon...

I just found some old notes, actually we called that "The Sentry" not the Sentinel...


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By Kevin Mokracek
From Burbank
Apr 11, 2012
whitney east buttress

One of the routes we did in Crooked Creek a few summers back.
One of the routes we did in Crooked Creek a few summers back.

I will email you with more info as soon as I get home.

Cheers,

Kevin Mokracek


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By Kevin Mokracek
From Burbank
Apr 11, 2012
whitney east buttress

Just a few more pictures.

I think Greg has climbed some of these formations.
I think Greg has climbed some of these formations.



This little meadow had some good rock around just out of the picture to the left.  Plenty of other rock however to keep someone busy for a while.
This little meadow had some good rock around just out of the picture to the left. Plenty of other rock however to keep someone busy for a while.



Another route we did a few years back.   Kind of a pain to get to byt fun climbing.
Another route we did a few years back. Kind of a pain to get to byt fun climbing.


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By NKunstek
From Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 11, 2012
Pitch three of Land of the Lost (WI4) Hylite Cyn. Montana

Sweet photos Ben. Been up in the cottonwood creek area twice in the past couple of years. Mostly for scouting and did a bit of climbng (mainly 5.7-5.9s all short <40') Love the area (mainly becasue it is so remote and quiet). Looking to get back up there this summer. We found some interesting larger rocks down near the base of cotton wood creek, but didnt climb them. How are the conditions so far?


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By Greg Barnes
Apr 11, 2012
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Needle. Photo by Josh Janes.

Some of the stuff Kevin is posting is getting quite a ways from the college time-wise, you could get to Owens faster (even though it is pretty close to Deep Springs). You're probably looking for cragging in the Dead Horse and Crooked Creek areas (namely up by the Deep Springs cow camp, not sure if that is still in use). If you are living up there you could potentially cross-country from Dead Horse or the cow camp, but I think Kevin has climbed some of the formations along Crooked Creek much closer to the cow camp.

Here's Kevin's first photo with some beta:

red line - a 3-pitch 5.9 R we did in '97, but the first pitch (5.9 R steep chimney/stemming - hidden behind the foreground rocks) was one of only a variety of options, there was an obvious easier-looking, but loose-block-looking as well, first pitch. We found an old hex with faded sling at the blue dot (halfway up a very nice 5.6 crack pitch). The true summit (50' top formation on left) is also 5.9 R (I had a #2 lowe ball in but it pulled out and fell right as I pulled the crux - you would deck into a ledge from 20') and has no anchor, you have to counterweight rappel (then go through a notch and down 4th class on the back). The summit is also sketchy on anchor pro (poor tiny nuts backing up a sit-on-your-butt belay). Obviously we weren't first (at least on the 2nd pitch).

blue line - a 2-pitch 5.easy we did, pick the best way through the roofs. Called it 5.3 but probably 5.6 (does 5.0-5.5 even exist these days?)

pink line - a 1-pitch 5.8 R we did, nice steep cracks and plates to a not well protected and slightly loose, but pretty easy, chimney/slot. We tried to find some way off that tower for a while but ended up having to drill a 2-bolt rap anchor, you rap off the back (you may have to search for it, it is camoflaged Metolius rap hangers). You rap down some nice cracks but we were out of time to climb them.

Kevin's photo with lines added.
Kevin's photo with lines added.


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By NKunstek
From Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 11, 2012
Pitch three of Land of the Lost (WI4) Hylite Cyn. Montana

The cow camp is still in use. Met some of the hands last year. Surprising since the shacks look about ready to fallover. Thanks for the beta photos.


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By John Korfmacher
From Fort Collins, CO
Apr 11, 2012
Long's

Ben, keep up posted...that is a beautiful, wild area. I made a couple of trips back in there 10 or 15 years ago but never did any climbing.


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By Kevin Mokracek
From Burbank
Apr 11, 2012
whitney east buttress

Greg,
Do you know if the Silver Canyon road is open yet? When I was up in Mammoth during the last big storm the Whites looked pretty clear of snow and it looked like Silver could have been open.


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By Greg Barnes
Apr 11, 2012
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Needle. Photo by Josh Janes.

I doubt it, there tends to be a snow patch near the top that sticks around longer than you think. It's actually really annoying even on mountain bike (and even when pushing your bike), there's no easy way to get past it, you end up slogging/postholing through it then down through some small aspen, then back up to the road. But the old Silver Canyon road is generally snow-free (for the biking descent) even when the patches on the new road are pretty good sized.

In any case the gates are controlled by the forest service so you just have to call them up in Bishop to find out.

Also the road along the crest tends to be ugly-muddy for a while and they don't want it damaged if they can help it. There are no gates up there so Silver Canyon won't open until the gates just past the Schulman Grove (where it turns to dirt) and down in Wyman canyon are open.

Here's a photo from up top in May '06, biking/hike-a-bike up the gates-closed Silver Canyon:

Looking north from the top of Silver Canyon road, May 2006.
Looking north from the top of Silver Canyon road, May 2006.


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By Ben.
From New Haven, CT
Apr 11, 2012

Thanks guys, that should give me something to do this weekend. I'll try to post an update soon.


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By Greg Barnes
Apr 11, 2012
Hanging out with Karin on the summit of Warlock Needle. Photo by Josh Janes.

Another thing you could check out is the narrows in Wyman Canyon. Looks like you could climb a few steep face routes in that area, depending on where the creek is channelled (they've bulldozed the road in various spots over the years) and if you could get to the top to set up anchors. Super easy access too, you might literally end up belaying on the road.

edit - I mean the upper narrows that the road passes through, not the low ones where the road bypasses on the bench to the south.


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By Ben.
From New Haven, CT
Apr 14, 2012

Yea there is some pretty cool looking stuff in Wyman Canyon, as well as some surprisingly good fishing. It just snowed about a foot here overnight, so I probably won't be going climbing, but I've already gotten in some good skiing. I'll have to wait a while to update on the climbing.


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By Rick Shull
Administrator
From Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV
Jun 26, 2012
Grip strength training, Nevada style.

Ben,
We've done some pretty fun boulder problems along the road heading up to Wyman. What else have you found around Deep Springs Valley? It seems like there is good rock and not so good rock. Kinda hot now....


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By Rick Shull
Administrator
From Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV
Jun 26, 2012
Grip strength training, Nevada style.

The narrows in Wyman has pretty good rock. I scoped a few lines there that look to be worth doing even if they are a little short....


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