Ascent to West Maria Benchmark-cliff at top of lesser gully on 2016-01-18

Climber: Dan Baxter

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Monday, January 18, 2016
Ascent Type:Unsuccessful - Turned Back
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Point Reached:West Maria Benchmark - cliff at top of lesser gully
    Elevation:1750 ft / 533 m
    Remaining Elevation:1137 ft / 346 m (60% left to go)

Ascent Trip Report

I failed to summit secondary to time constraints and my use of a small canyon that eventually cliffed out.

I drove that day from just south of Chuckwalla Mountain where the birding was surprisingly good that morning, and arrived at Blythe for lunch. The Midland Road heads NW out of town. My original plans were to park at Styx and then walk along the Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, and then head up to the WNW ridge.

Pleasantly, though, the railroad has been removed and a very nice gravel bed road placed in its stead. Even Burd's minivan would have an easy go on this road (at least, until the first bad rains erode it). There was another Jeep parked roughly at the "a" in the word "and" on the topo. I suspect this was another climber, although I never saw him or her. I drove farther, checked out and ruled out the WNW ridge as it looked to have more exposure than I was willing to do solo, then returned to about a hundred yds N of the other Jeep, and parked at WGS84 33.88765N 114.78353W. Here I went up the wash then gully due east. It LOOKED to have in its upper reaches the northern slopes of what turned out to be part of the larger wash/canyon to the south - the one I suspect the other Jeep owner may have used. In any case, my canyon ultimately cliffed out where I could look SE into the larger canyon. There was was appeared to be doable class 3 stuff above me, but as it was late and I was solo I decided to just head back down.
I would have opted to attempt the larger canyon which lies 265 degrees (ie nearly due W) of the summit, then veer N in its upper reaches, but it was too late in the day, and I also had to pick up someone at LAX at 6 am the next day.

Addendum: I see now that the other Jeep had Daryn Dodge and Kathy Rich in it. How I wished I had known! They left while I was still ascending.
Click on photo for original larger-size version.
I would recommend using the canyon on the right of the two major canyons seen in this photo. I used the one on the left and was cliffed out (2016-01-18). Photo by Dan Baxter.
Click here for larger-size photo.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:772 ft / 235 m
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:772 ft / 235 m
    Start Trailhead:Railroad turned road  978 ft / 298 m
Descent Statistics

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