Orange BM P500
Peak 3,297ft P300
Peak 3,290ft P300
Peak 3,218ft P300
Peak 3,077ft P300
Peak 3,188ft P300
Peak 3,251ft P500
Peak 3,658ft P300
Peak 3,362ft

Dec 3, 2019
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2 3


Day 2 of my birthday desert trip had me in the Bristol and Marble Mtns south of Interstate 40, on either side of Kelbaker Rd. I'd spent the night camped off Kelbaker Rd, a little too close to the highway to have a quiet night. Tired as I was from the day's hiking, I slept pretty good regardless. My main targets today were a collection of seven summits in the Bristol Mtns which went faster than I anticipated. With a few hours of daylight remaining, I headed to the east side of Kelbaker where the Trilobite Wilderness and the Marble Mtns overlap. The weather was a bit warmer than the previous day, but overcast. The clouds would only get thicker as the day progressed, with a forecast of rain come evening.

Orange BM - Peak 3,297ft - Peak 3,290ft - Peak 3,218ft

With more than 700ft of prominence, it was Orange BM that drew me to the area initially. That there were a number of other closely-spaced summits that I could do in a loop was a big bonus. The BLM road that I drove west on from Kelbaker Rd was an excellently graded pipeline road. Where I turned north, high-clearance is recommended for the remaining few miles to the Orange Blossom Mine. The mine and surrounding areas are private property, well-signed for No Trespassing. There is a trailer and other structures in the canyon east of Orange BM but not in the canyon to the northeast. It was this latter canyon that I used, though it, too, was signed for No Trespassing. I spent three and a quarter hours visiting the four summits in turn, all class 2. The loop made for an enjoyable romp around this area that features some colorful rock and nice vistas. One is never far from the Interstate and the noise from the trucks can be heard along the entire route. Orange BM was the only summit with a register that I found all day. Andy Smatko had left a register here in 1983. A more recent one had been left this millenium by John Vitz, though somehow I missed getting a picture of it.

Peak 3,077ft

I had originally planned to do this in a larger loop with the next two peaks, but found that well-graded roads lead within 1/5mi of the summit. So I made this a quick up and down before tackling the other two. This four mile loop was also enjoyable, starting from the north and tackling the easier Peak 3,188ft first, about a mile from the start. The pointed summit is very peak-like from a number of directions, one of the better-looking peaks I visited. From its summit, I followed the connecting ridgeline to Peak 3,251ft, heading southeast. This was the highest of the Bristol peaks I visited today with fine views, though they were muted due to the heavy cloud cover. The summit had a large cairn with a survey stick in the middle. I left a register on this one, thinking it deserved one with more than 500ft of prominence.

Peak 3,658ft - Peak 3,362ft

These two summits are located in the northern part of the Marble Mtns, not far from the Interstate. I first tried to approach Peak 3,658ft from the southwest, via a dirt road shown on the topo map off Kelbaker Rd. This worked nicely until I got within about 2.5mi of the summit and hit the Wilderness boundary. I didn't think I would be able to do this before dark, so went back to Kelbaker. Then I noticed the pipeline road I'd used in the morning extended east of Kelbaker Rd and could get me within a mile and a quarter of both peaks. This four mile loop would keep me busy until almost 5p. I visited the higher and further peak first, finding the highpoint further south than the topo map would leave you to believe, at the end of a long summit ridgeline. I then dropped down through a few cliffbands on the peak's northwest side to make a more direct line towards Peak 3,362ft. There was some class 3 stuff here on somewhat loose slopes, but nothing that felt particularly dangerous. An easy class 2 ramp then lead up to the second summit, followed by another cliffband descent off its Northeast Face, also class 3. After dropping into the wash system below, it was really just a matter of following this back out to the car, the light fading into early evening. I rather enjoyed this last part of the hike before it got dark, with the air still for the first time in two days. This made for nice shower conditions with the air temp around 50F. After my shower I drove back out to Kelbaker Rd, refreshed with a cold beer and some salty snacks. Desert fun at its finest...


Jackie (AD) comments on 12/08/19:
Best sunrise I've seen you capture, it made studying suck at little less :) Also your selfie game it improving, but next time you should try looking towards the camera! Love you!
anonymous comments on 12/11/19:
Where's the sunrise and the selfie? I'm intrigued now!
Anon comments on 12/12/19:
The reports on Bob Burd's site are so nicely designed that I am surprised more hikers have not copied the template. Most hiking blogs are unreadable because of all the photos cluttering them, including selfies in which the photographer is looking towards the camera. Pages on SummitPost site are similarly nice and clean.

And the selfie is really nicely taken, giving it a cold shoulder.
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