Colorock Summit P750 RS
Peak 3,855ft

Feb 20, 2024

With: Iris Ma
Tom Grundy

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profile


Rain today. The "atmospheric river" was pummeling California, though not quite as hard nor quite where it had been predicted. The rain was light for most of the day, steadier as the day wore on. The river was flowing from Los Angeles to Las Vegas which fed light amounts of water to desert between and beyond. We managed a few peaks in the morning, but by noon we had no interest in longer outings that could leave us several miles from the Jeep in a downpour. So we found some entertainment in visiting a pretty lame collection of benchmarks that Candace Skalet had added to the PB database, probably when she had unfavorable conditions herself.

Colorock Summit - Muddy Knife

This pair of summits are found in the Muddy Mountains, southwest of Valley of Fire State Park. Colorock is named after the mine of the same name and appears in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. Muddy Knife was named by Adam Walker on his ascent a few years earlier. We used tracks from Adam and Stav Basis (who visited shortly after Adam) and cobbled together our own version that was shorter (about 3mi and 1,600ft of gain), mostly because we drove further up the road as it grew rougher.

We parked near the old mine and headed out for Colorock around 8:10a. Iris had an audio work call at 8:30a, so we chose this direction to get her onto Colorock's North Ridge where we expected she would get cell coverage. We were a few minutes late in reaching the ridge, but she got on her call and continued hiking with us as she listened in. Whenever she had to say something substantial, we would pause and she would converse for a few minutes, then we would continue. It was not a quick pace getting to Colorock, but we got there in under 40min. The drizzle had started up so we donned raingear, leaving a register and deciding not to continued around the connecting ridgeline as Stav had done, instead dropping to the northeast into a drainage, more directly in line with Muddy Knife. We paused near the bottom to remove rain jackets, then went over a low shoulder and onto Muddy Knife. The name seems appropriate, and from a distance the summit ridge appears serrated and difficult. We stayed off the connecting ridgeline, favoring the West Slopes and worked our way up through some fun class 3 on wet limestone (water seems to have no effect on limestone's grippiness). Just below the summit we had a short class 3-4 effort to reach the knife-edge, then along this gingerly to reach the highpoint by 10:35a. Adam had left a register in 2021, Stav adding his name six days later. Ours was the third party three years later. Wind, cold and limited visibility had us staying only a few minutes. We descended off the NNE side down a gully with some class 4 near the top and lots of class 3 slab descending below that. The route worked quite nicely and we were back to the Jeep by 11:20a.

Benchmark Fiesta

As we drove back to camp along Valley of Fire road, the rain picked up and would continued on (mostly) and off the rest of the day. We had a weather map on the Jeep showing the rain showers shuttling between LA and Las Vegas that hardly looked promising. We decided to move camp to the I-15/US93 exit where a Love's truck stop is located. With no real plan, we did some recon on the BLM roads between this exit and Apex to the west. While perusing the PB app, we noticed a whole collection of benchmarks along the highways and RR tracks that Candace had added to the database. So we started hitting these up, one after another, even while Iris was taking a 2:30p work conference call. Most of the benchmarks were located not far from road or RR track, and for most of them we had to walk less than 100ft to reach them. Iris would carry her phone with her, still on the call, as we parked, got out and walked or ran (depending on how much wetness was coming down) to the benchmark. I took no other pictures save for of the benchmarks themselves, 11 in all. Our travels took us under obsure bridges on the Interstate and RR tracks, past lots of garbage, some horrendously muddy sections that had us slipping around in 4WD, and general goofiness that only a peakbagger might appreciate. It was 4:45p before we finished up, and a little later before Iris was done with her work calls. I didn't bother to make maps of these or list them as ascents on my website, but the GPX track will give them all to you in the unlikely event that it interests you.

We returned to the Loves truck stop where we'd left Tom's truck, then headed to the truck stop for some hot water from the restroom there, and eventually settled behind the truck stop for the night on the north side. There is a 50% chance of rain tomorrow, but we're hoping to have a better showing tomorrow...


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