By: Erik Seiring
Mary is a friend, a fine winsome lass. As well as the named summit benchmark of a nice scramble in the Hexie Mountains. It's an enjoyable departure, especially if you're in the Joshua Tree area climbing, or hiking a DPS or HPS peak. The route description (#14-7) in Patty Furbush's guide, "On Foot in Joshua Tree National Park" is accurate. East of Fried Liver Wash, proceed cross-country south from the Pinto Basin Road. Head towards Mary's cliff-racked north face. This aspect is of the dome-shaped mountain is striking, although the author's characterization of it as the "most-extreme looking mountain in the park" is debatable. The customary route, class 1-2, follows the prominent northeast ridge, bypassing the face to the summit (elev. 3820').
To make it interesting, I deviated from the suggested route. I scaled the left, principal gully, which steeply cuts through the rocky cliffs on the face. Fairly stable class 2-3 boulders and debris. The only significant obstacle is an immense chockstone near the head of the draw. This is surmounted by an easy but exposed c12 maneuver. The summit offered great views of the DPS Eagle' Pinto Mountains, and Coxcomb Mountains.
I traced an alternative descent route for a loop trip, adding 1.25 miles. Drop southwest into the pleasant wash that bounds the western side of the mountain. The wash is filled with smooth granite boulders and waterfalls, much like a route on the DPS Sheephole Mountain nearby. Nearly stepping on a dozing rattlesnake reminded me that they're out there. But it wasn't the dreaded Mojave Green (or is that Red?... nope, that's the beer!).
Statistics: 7.75 miles, 2100 feet gain roundtrip.
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