Lower King Midas & over north ridge into Keane Wonder

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Death Valley Dazed
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Lower King Midas & over north ridge into Keane Wonder

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Tue Apr 16, 2019 7:32 am

Kudos to our very own Mojave Geek for reminding me that King Midas could be a great hike. I foolishly thought I might be able to find a bypass to the 22 foot dry fall laying hundreds of feet below the King Midas Mine Works.

I did manage to scramble above the dry fall on the south ridge but got stopped by scary technical ledges. It's ok because even if I'd have made it, there was another 100 footer stop around the bend out of my sight that I was not aware of until returning and studying the area more.

So I just turned around and discovered more artifacts that I missed on the way up. I also just happened to discover the trailhead to King MIdas as I scramble up the north ridge looking across to the south ridgeline. I will use this trail in the future to attempt a hike all the way to King Midas and see if there is a way to connect over to Upper Keane Wonder from King Midas. It looks very steep and treacherous but maybe there is a bighorn trail or a miner's trail there somewhere?

This was not a wasted endeavor as I thoroughly enjoyed the views from the north ridge (which is the south ridgeline of Keane Wonder. Coming face to face with the bighorn ewe and her lamb was the cherry on top. I made a separate video about this. For now, enjoy this video created from my turnaround hike.

Hike halfway up King Midas Canyon, turn around at a 20-foot dry fall and then scramble up the north ridge with a view of the valley below and into Keane Wonder Mine Works. March 2019 Music by longzijun.

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Kauri
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Re: Lower King Midas & over north ridge into Keane Wonder

Post by Kauri » Tue Apr 16, 2019 10:11 am

I haven't had a chance to watch your video yet (looking forward to it!) but the zigzag trail bypassing the major dryfalls in King Midas Canyon is an old mule trail to the mine works. If I recall correctly, Digonnet has it marked on his map of the Keane Wonder Mine area. I started on this trail in January 2018 but had to turn around due to strong winds coming from the valley. Steve Hall has a report following the trail all the way to the mine, but from what I've heard the trail has been significantly washed out since then (can anyone confirm this?).
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Re: Lower King Midas & over north ridge into Keane Wonder

Post by Kauri » Tue Apr 16, 2019 8:25 pm

Just watched your video---I especially enjoyed the zoomed-in images of the tramway stations far above, and the impressive views from the ridge between King Midas and Keane Wonder!

You may find Tramway Canyon (at the southern end of the Black Mountains) a worthwhile destination for a future trip. It reminded me very much of King Midas Canyon. Perhaps you might be able to find a bypass for the dry fall which stopped us and also prevented Steve Hall from continuing to the upper tramway station in that canyon. If I recall correctly, the group who initially hiked that canyon was able to (somehow) access the upper tramway station.
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Re: Lower King Midas & over north ridge into Keane Wonder

Post by AJ » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:13 pm

I hiked to the King Midas mine in early February 2019. The switchbacks on the south side were in good shape with only one very small washout. The trail after the switchbacks was in very good condition and obvious to follow. However, when it got onto hard rock, it disappeared. I looked around and assumed that it must be going back to the tram. I guessed right. I would suggest taking a look at a map before heading out. That was my mistake. Up to the tram tower, where the cable makes a banana hook to the south, the trail is in good shape and should not be a problem to navigate. At that last tower, the mine finally came into sight which was a great feeling. On Google Earth, it was really hard to make out where the mine was or where the trail went, so I really didn't know how far it was. That great feeling was quickly replaced with massive disappointment when I saw the washout between the last tower and the mine opening. My first thought was that it would be impossible to get to the mine entrance. The trail disappeared completely and the way to the mine was across a steep slope of sand and rocks. After going that far, I decided to take a closer look. The last 200 yards was completely washed out. I slowly made my way across the slope but it was a very scary experience, with about a 50 foot drop into the canyon below. I made it to the mine and it was an amazing accomplishment for me after a 10 year wait for the area to reopen. The letter and the sign in the mine entrance made it worth the trip. I would love to hear how someone with more hiking experience views that last 200 yards. For me, it was far more than I would ever take on knowingly but I managed it!

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Re: Lower King Midas & over north ridge into Keane Wonder

Post by Kauri » Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:30 pm

AJ wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:13 pm
I hiked to the King Midas mine in early February 2019. The switchbacks on the south side were in good shape with only one very small washout. The trail after the switchbacks was in very good condition and obvious to follow. However, when it got onto hard rock, it disappeared. I looked around and assumed that it must be going back to the tram. I guessed right. I would suggest taking a look at a map before heading out. That was my mistake. Up to the tram tower, where the cable makes a banana hook to the south, the trail is in good shape and should not be a problem to navigate. At that last tower, the mine finally came into sight which was a great feeling. On Google Earth, it was really hard to make out where the mine was or where the trail went, so I really didn't know how far it was. That great feeling was quickly replaced with massive disappointment when I saw the washout between the last tower and the mine opening. My first thought was that it would be impossible to get to the mine entrance. The trail disappeared completely and the way to the mine was across a steep slope of sand and rocks. After going that far, I decided to take a closer look. The last 200 yards was completely washed out. I slowly made my way across the slope but it was a very scary experience, with about a 50 foot drop into the canyon below. I made it to the mine and it was an amazing accomplishment for me after a 10 year wait for the area to reopen. The letter and the sign in the mine entrance made it worth the trip. I would love to hear how someone with more hiking experience views that last 200 yards. For me, it was far more than I would ever take on knowingly but I managed it!
Thank you for sharing this update on the trail to the King Midas mine! I'm hoping to be able to return to that area sometime in the next year.
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Re: Lower King Midas & over north ridge into Keane Wonder

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Mon Oct 21, 2019 6:24 am

AJ wrote:
Sun Oct 20, 2019 7:13 pm
I would love to hear how someone with more hiking experience views that last 200 yards. For me, it was far more than I would ever take on knowingly but I managed it!
Wow, thanks for that detailed description of the area. I don't like to ever feel scared when hiking and scrambling but it does still happen. Good on you for living to tell the story. I'm hoping that you will post some images of your adventure to the King Midas Mine.

Like Kauri below, I hope to explore the area in 2020 sometime Thanks again for the engaging report.
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