Obscure rock in Nevada: photos, reports, & tales.

  • Long ago on Supertopo, someone asked about the Blue Mass Scenic Area on a thread with a similar name. They never received an answer, but the question made this "self-styled" connoisseur of obscure Nevada mountains somewhat curious. An internet search revealed only one short rock-climbing report about the area, but I put Blue Mass on my "must visit someday" list.

    Someday happened last week when my SLC pal Jerry & I met in Wendover & drove south to the Blue Mass. Good maps are a must, since BLM road signs are a rarity in the area. We went in from the north & found good rock that was somewhat heavy on large Muscovite mica crystals, rather than more solid feeling quartz or feldspar. I confess to no technical climbing there on our part, but we did do some minor scrambling on rock that was confidence inspiring. We had the area to ourselves. We found a mudhole early on, that I slid sideways into & buried the right side of my 4-Runner to the doors. Happily, Jerry easily pulled me out with his rig. After surviving several more mudholes we parked & hiked on up the road.

    The wildflowers were best ever, after a very-wet spring. Wild horses were in the upper part of Blue Mass canyon & we found a near-pristine camp-spot in the rocks.

    The first photo is of the west side of the Deep Creek Range just west of Ibapah. After that we drove 140 miles on dirt in the next 3 days.






    Along the way we surprised three wild horses at a spring. They found us interesting & circled us repeatedly at a minimum distance of a 100 yards for our hike, while another herd watched us from a ridge a 1/4 mile away.

    After we got back to our vehicles we soon found a nearly pristine campsite surrounded by rock features. We called this 75' high formation "The screamer."

    The next morning we took a chance & went over a pass to Grassy Canyon, which led us south with minor washouts to where we picked up a good road to the early 1900's mining camp of Tungstonia. The road up-canyon to Tungstonia took us by the one remaining cabin in the camp & up to an easy pass & a view back down to many more granite outcrops southeast of Blue Mass.

    Rock Springs cr. Kern Mtns from Tunstonia divide.JPG

    If I was a little younger I might be tempted to go back & "shudder-gasp" do some "new-routes" in the area.

  • @FritzRay -- hey there, say, fritz... thank you so very much!!!!

    i don't post here, much, since, i 'can't post' a lot of posts, in a row-- makes me sad, as, i'd love to comment to so many things that folks share, before i have to get off-line, (have to jump on and off, etc, though-out available time) ...

    so-- i just thought i'd add, i miss all you guys! and, sharing stuff...
    but, i STILL drop in, to peek...
    happy god bless to all, and to all a super-good eve!!!

    SURE hope others see the 'post bump' here, and can see that i said "hey there!"

    edit-- ooops, forgot-- NIGHT ALL... all for now... 🙂

  • @FritzRay Nice! 📷

    Looks like could be "The City". Same look and feel for the rock?

  • @toby The rock is solid & looks somewhat like COR rock, except Muscovite mica crystals up to 2" are more common & feel less stable than the feldspar crystals at COR. The one climbing report I could find for the area kinda mentions that, without naming the mica. Once they got used to it, the older trad climbers who wrote the report knocked off several routes in the 5.4 - 5.7 range without problems.

    Here's an example of those big mica crystals.

    A geologist's report on the Kern Mountains, which includes the Blue Mass says this: "The main mass of the Kern Mountains is quartz monzanite (aka granite) that in places, notably around Tungstonia, grades into porphyritic granite containing large phenocrysts of muscovite & orthoclase."

  • Nice TR, Fritz! Especially liked the wild horses pic.

    I am a little dubious about the identity of the author, however, as there wasn't one photo of a pistol in the whole sheebang.


  • @FritzRay Aye, Caramba!!! Looks a bit vicious on the tips....

    Don't know my geology at all. Enrolled in a course once upon a time but was sooo boring I could not abide. Instructor did not make much investment so little else than massive memorization sans context. Criminal that this guy was so poor that he bored a rock jock into dropping. Have mercy! 😢

  • @FritzRay said in Obscure rock in Nevada: photos, reports, & tales.:


    Thanks so much for this. I planned a couple trips not taken down closer to the Great Basin area to look for trees and stuff. Nice seeing rock! Didn't even do any 3rd classing?


  • Toby? I do want to post stories about my current main hobby, hiking to remote mountain mines in search of "minerals of interest." I was not a geology major in college, but I've been interested in remote "minerals of interest" since I was about six years old.

    Them remote rocks are fun! Muscovite mica hexagonal crystals from the Blue Mass.


    Darwin: My scrambling may be your 3rd classing, but I did not go to any significant summit & I was searching for minerals of interest.

  • @FritzRay Seems to me that geology is pretty intimately related to rock climbing, mountaineering and such. Hence, I would suspect at least some minimal level of interest? Particularly among those seeking new haunts to develop. For example, I know Todd Skinner was fairly into it - helped him find cool places like the Wild Iris right in his backyard. ⛰

    I think maybe post them up in "General" and tag them "geology" ought to do it. Ultimately, reception, or lack thereof, from community at large will be your gauge, eh?

    Or does everyone just pull plastic nowadays... 🦆 🦆

  • L'aura! Per your mention: "I am a little dubious about the identity of the author, however, as there wasn't one photo of a pistol in the whole sheebang."

    I did have my S&W 22 pistol along, but there wasn't much to be paranoid about, so it didn't make it onto the table in the evening. I do have this photo of me behaving badly in front of a mine shaft.


    And the largest herd of wild horses we saw. These were on a ridge about 1/4 mile away. The watched us on our first afternoon's hike as long as we were in sight.

  • Muscle, tendons, skin and hair on a sharp obsidian knife from 2,000 years ago have proved that the stone weapon was used for human sacrifices.

    The forensic samples prove that brutal human sacrifices were being carried out in the region 1,000 years BEFORE the Aztecs.

    Mexico's National Institute of Anthropology and History said the finding clearly corroborates accounts from later cultures about the use of sharp obsidian knives in sacrificing humans.

  • Zbrown? Does the report detail where they found this evidence. There is ample evidence that early groups in the 4 corners region of Utah, CO, AZ & NM ate some other humans. I haven't seen anything related to Aztec-style human sacrifice?

  • @zBrown It's been proven that Mexicans eat people? Damn! Better get that wall built.

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