Monday, October 10, 2016

Powerline Road - Red Pass

When returning to the Los Angeles area from the Mojave Desert, I often prefer to take the powerline road that parallels I-15.  The conditions vary.  Sometimes it's easy.  Sometimes it's hard.  Today it was easy.

Just so you don't follow my lead and then get stuck, my label of "easy" includes some very deep sand.  And not a short 50 foot stretch.  One section is more than a half mile long that really bogs you down.  Easy means I never considered turning around, and I never had to recon the route on foot.

North of Baker, CA I turned off highway 127 and onto the powerline road.  I drove roughly 60 miles to reach the interstate at Minneola Road.


I expected it to be very hard on this trip, because the current Google satellite imagey shows several washouts on the switchbacks at Red Pass.  They might be even worse when I arrive.


On my previous trip (I've now driven the Red Pass section 4 times) there was a power company utility truck dangling off the edge at those switchbacks.  Four more trucks were there for moral support, and a tractor was arriving to pull the stuck truck free.  This required me to go truly off-road and point my Land Rover straight down a hillside covered in loose deep sand.  That was fun!

On this trip, those washouts on the switchbacks had been repaired and it was fairly easy.  There were 2 short (30 ft) sections of super deep sand that nearly stopped me.  But the Land Cruiser clawed its way through them.

Here are some photos of the military facilities on Red Pass Lake.




And here's some shots of another military training area west of the switchbacks.  It looks like a mock Afghan village.  They've got a much larger one deeper inside Ft. Irwin.



The road conditions were pretty good, aside from the long sandy section.  Here's the typical wash crossing.


This is the only rocky portion of this road.


I stopped along the way to look at some rock piles.  The Google satellite imagery showed several rows of rocks placed on the natural gas pipeline scar.


Each pile is about 6 feet tall.  I didn't see anything extra to explain the activity. 


The rest of the road was uneventful.  


The long stretch with deep sand is located just north of the Afton Road turnoff.  If you just want to drive in deep sand, then take the Afton Road exit off I-15 and head northwest for 5 miles to the powerline road, then turn right and enjoy.

Saturday, October 08, 2016

Teutonia Peak

I returned to Teutonia Peak, near Cima Dome in the Mojave National Preserve.  Reading the information on summitpost made me realize that I have never been to the true summit.  So I thought I'd try again.


[now for the excuses]  I haven't hiked or run in a long time, so this was more of a fun hike with a vague goal.  Yup, that means I didn't reach the true summit.  I got closer.  According to the Google Earth plot, I got pretty close.


I knew I missed the mark when I stood atop a rock and noticed that taller rocks were on both sides of me.  Problem is, the GE image indicates that the actual summit is south of where I stopped.  However summitpost indicates that the highpoint is on the "Central Summit" and that was just north of where I stopped.  I was trying to reach that from a notch just south of there.

Adding to the puzzle... the highpoint mark in Google Earth is south of where I stopped, not on the central summit north of my end point.  Bob Burd's photos from his hike of Teutonia indicate that the summit is south of where I stopped, consistent with the mark in Google Earth.  In particular, he posted this photo facing north from the summit.


In Bob's photo, I can clearly see the boulder where I stopped.  I circled it.  Here is one of my photos taken while standing next to that boulder.  


Just for completeness, here's my photo looking south toward (what I now know to be) the summit.


I'm pretty certain that I was south of the "central summit" as labeled in the panorama photo posted to summitpost.  Here's that photo from summitpost.


And here's the photo I took of the same ridgeline, with my route drawn onto it.


On my next visit I'll hike a bit further south along the east side of the ridge and choose another route up.  The next photo shows the route I'll try.  Happily, it matches the photos of the route described on summitpost.


I think the route described on summitpost is probably the correct route to reach the highpoint.  However the highpoint is not on the "Central Summit" as labeled on the panorama photo, but is instead on the "South Summit".

I'll try again and find out.

ps: I'm not linking to the NPS website for the Mojave National Preserve because they now throw interstitial popovers in front of site visitors.  I despise that practice.