All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Been on a recent trip? Here is the place to share it.
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Death Valley Dazed
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All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Thu Feb 28, 2019 4:29 pm

Through social media, "Hiker Tom" has confirmed that he summited Blue Mountain the second week of February 2019 and that a friend of his also summited a week later. This now makes a total of three people (Men so far, c'mon ladies get your Blue Mountain on!) who have topped Big Blue that I am aware.

Hiker Tom writes: "I thought Blue Mountain was gorgeous!! I love the colors in that area and really enjoyed the views in all directions. It’s also pretty neat how Blue Mountain looks so different depending on the angle. The Mountain doesn’t really completely reveal itself until you’ve dropped off the Borax BM ridge into the basin."

Hiker Tom gave me permission to share the lovely images of his Blue Mountain adventure with you here:

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John Morrow
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by John Morrow » Fri Mar 01, 2019 6:23 am

Well, since everyone is getting into the act, I thought I'd share my Nov 2017 hike to Borax BM with a view over to Big Blue and the littler one to the NW that DVD has gone over, too.
Fine memories of a beautiful area. Hope we don't make it too popular?!?


ImageBottom of Corkscrew Canyon by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImageUp Corkscrew Canyon; Death Valley National Park, CA by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImageNeat in Corkscrew by John Morrow, on Flickr
ImageFun short slot; Corkscrew Canyon by John Morrow, on Flickr

Imagewindy by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImageInto main Corkscrew Canyon by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImageLooking back by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImageThe "Blue Mountain" at head of Artist Palette by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImageToward Artist Palette by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImagePalettesque; Black Mtns Death Valley National Park by John Morrow, on Flickr

ImageHead of 20 Mule Team Canyon by John Morrow, on Flickr

Imagedescending 20 Mule Team by John Morrow, on Flickr

Imagein Canyon moonrise by John Morrow, on Flickr

Imagedowncanyon by John Morrow, on Flickr
Image20 Mule Team colors by John Morrow, on Flickr

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Fri Mar 01, 2019 10:55 am

Great shots there John. I love just wandering around this area aimlessly to see what surprises are around the next corner. I have not been disappointed yet. Thanks for jumping aboard The Blue Mountain Express.
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Kauri
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Kauri » Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:05 pm

Great to hear more folks have summited the Blue Mountain!

Is the next challenge to summit one of the colorful peaks due east of the top of the Artist's Palette Second Dip Canyon? :)
My trip reports, from Death Valley and beyond: http://kaurijacobphotography.yolasite.c ... eports.php

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Mar 12, 2019 4:32 pm

Kauri wrote:
Mon Mar 11, 2019 9:05 pm
Is the next challenge to summit one of the colorful peaks due east of the top of the Artist's Palette Second Dip Canyon?
Well maybe? Thanks for your post Kauri because I was unaware of Second Dip Canyon having an official name. I should change my name from DVD to DVC- Death Valley Clueless.

I actually attempted to summit the back side of Blue Mountain via Second Dip Canyon but of course, got boxed out by those gigantic but gorgeous dry falls. Securing a bypass around those falls was way over my head, literally. I remember standing on top of Big Blue and gazing southward to those looming peaks that you are alluding to and wondering if I'd ever try to reach the top of one. A big challenge for sure.

BTW - Hiker Tom told me that he's bagged about 97 of the infamous "200 Peaks of Death Valley List." I was unaware (clueless again) of such a list. Here's Hiker Tom's exact quote from our email:

"I’m trying to climb a list of 200 peaks in the park, and I’m at 97. I’m pretty focused on completing the list and this park has so much terrain that a lifetime isn’t enough to see it all - I tend to not repeat most hikes. Regarding other folks, there’s a few of us trying to complete the list of 200 peaks and I’ve added Blue Mountain to the list. One of my friends summited Blue last week and was #3. I expect a few others to follow!"

Kauri, do you or anyone else on in this forum know of such a list? Maybe Steve Hall is aware of it and trying to bag as many peaks as possible. I'll see if Hiker Tom will share a copy of this list with me.
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Kauri
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Kauri » Thu Mar 14, 2019 7:46 am

If I recall correctly, Charlie Callagan had a list of about 200 named peaks/benchmarks in the park, and he'd summited most of them. Steve Hall may have the list; I'm not sure.

Admittedly, I prefer hiking in areas for which there currently aren't any trip reports, so I doubt I'll attempt the "200 peak challenge."

I've always been interested in visiting that colorful area above the second dip canyon; maybe someday I'll get to it, though I agree it looks like a difficult area to access.
My trip reports, from Death Valley and beyond: http://kaurijacobphotography.yolasite.c ... eports.php

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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Rockhopper » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:17 pm

Thanks for the video, and for the Corkscrew / 20 Mule Team pictures. Beautiful stuff!

I went up 20 Mule Team on my last trip. That area is certainly special. I had thought I might backpack in and camp up beyond the head of the wash, but darn that pack (with 3 gallons of water) was heavy. Then a boulder jam (probably near the place Tom labeled "Descending 20 Mule Team") coupled with a steep, semi-stable bypass persuaded me to drop the pack and make it a day hike.

I think probably Laura and I will do a day-hike or two in that area when we're in DV in a few weeks, however.

An oddity, maybe someone can explain: I saw large sheets of something very shiny glinting on the mountainside to the southwest of the open valley at the head of 20 Mule Team. What the...? Surely the borate miners didn't pack in glass picture windows to put in their hovels?

Image

With a telephoto:

Image

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Kauri
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Kauri » Fri Mar 15, 2019 6:51 pm

It looks like a very reflective rock---I've been fooled by things like that on many occasions. Given the area, I'm thinking it maybe could be a form of quartz?

If I recall correctly, in other locations (e.g. the Grapevines), I've spotted similarly reflective rocks, and they turned out to be coated with looked like desert varnish.

Hopefully a geologist here will be able to give us more information :)
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Gowergulch42
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Gowergulch42 » Sun Mar 17, 2019 10:41 pm

Kinda looks like aircraft wreckage. If it's not that, then probably desert varnish.
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Rockhopper
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Rockhopper » Mon Mar 18, 2019 3:17 pm

I hadn't considered wreckage. I remember finding a jettisoned fuel pod in a canyon once. Could be!

The reflection was surprisingly bright -- like a very smooth, glassy surface. In my experience, desert varnish tens to be somewhat irregular. Could be an exception, though... I did find some palm-sized sheets of transparent crystal in the wash, something I've seen before in Gower Gulch as well. Not quartz, more like calcite or -- wait a minute, Googling --

Gypsum. That's probably the palm-sized crystals. There's a place in Utah called "Glitter Mountain" that's all, well, glittery, from the gypsum crystals scattered on the surface.

Colemanite also forms crystals, and it's the main ore that was mined for boron in the Funeral Formation. I didn't find any images showing flat, tabular forms, though.

Meyerhofferite. Never heard of it. But there's a photo on http://webmineral.com/specimens/picshow ... JAVCXWYVUQ, and the specimen is identified as coming from 20 Mule Team canyon. Again, not really something that would form sheets, though.

I'm guessing crystalline gypsum. I may have a try at getting closer when Laura and I are down in the Valley next week.

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Kauri
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Kauri » Mon Mar 18, 2019 7:02 pm

Thank you for the correction! I always thought those small sheets of transparent crystal were quartz---hopefully someday I'll have the opportunity to take a geology class and correct other such gaps in my knowledge. :)

I'll be curious to hear what you find in a closer inspection of those reflective objects!
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Rockhopper » Wed Apr 03, 2019 5:26 pm

Just a quick note -- I was back in the area a few weeks later, and there IS quartz there as well as the other minerals. With a sample in hand, it's easy to tell quartz -- you can't scratch it with a knife. (The steel might leave a little gray streak of metal on the quartz, though.) Crystalline gypsum and colemanite both scratch easily.

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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Candace_66 » Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:58 pm

On the topic of Death Valley National Park peaks lists, the site "Lists of John" has such a list. And their list has 465 ranked peaks and 559 total peaks. ;-)

Here's a link to the list, but I'm not sure if it's visible to non-members: https://listsofjohn.com/NP/arealist.php

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Death Valley Dazed
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:31 am

Candace_66 wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:58 pm
Here's a link to the list, but I'm not sure if it's visible to non-members:
Wow Candace, what a resource for hikers and scramblers and is user-friendly. I did not see Blue Mountain listed unless it's what the list refers to as Artist Palette Peak?

I will most likely join up to the list and donate the $20 to obtain full access. Even without creating a login I was able to enjoy many of the list's benefits such as searching for individual hiker accomplishments such as you bagging 59 of the ranked peaks yourself. Damn good and you're too humble about your personal coverage of Death Valley.

Thanks again for the valuable resource and link! I do hope that you'll add Blue Mountain and make that peak number 60 for you! :dance:
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Re: All aboard The Blue Mountain Express

Post by Candace_66 » Tue Apr 16, 2019 9:05 pm

Death Valley Dazed wrote:
Wed Apr 10, 2019 3:31 am
Candace_66 wrote:
Tue Apr 09, 2019 12:58 pm
Here's a link to the list, but I'm not sure if it's visible to non-members:
Wow Candace, what a resource for hikers and scramblers and is user-friendly. I did not see Blue Mountain listed unless it's what the list refers to as Artist Palette Peak?

I will most likely join up to the list and donate the $20 to obtain full access. Even without creating a login I was able to enjoy many of the list's benefits such as searching for individual hiker accomplishments such as you bagging 59 of the ranked peaks yourself. Damn good and you're too humble about your personal coverage of Death Valley.

Thanks again for the valuable resource and link! I do hope that you'll add Blue Mountain and make that peak number 60 for you! :dance:
Aww, thanks! :oops:

Blue Mountain is there, but they simply have it listed as 2750' ... https://listsofjohn.com/peak/65809

If you join, be sure to check out the Forum. I created a thread in there about Blue Mountain, and included links to your reports here.

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