| Round Mountain: The Littliest LaSal
Round Mountain 6184
Smack dab in the middle of Castle Valley
TH from Castleton Rd
Sunday, June 9th, 2013
725' of gain
After trying to figure out a way to get up LaSal Peak went south, I chose this little hot bastard to salvage my vacation! The map says it's on state land/forest land, so I see a road going west almost straight to it. Drive onto this road and hide in the thick pinion & juniper srcubland. Make a lite pack with plenty of water and ride out on this straight road.
Immediately the road turns, Okay? I crashed down into a gulch and start up the otherside, now going away from Round! What's up with this, you take the bike thinking your gonna cut down the time and it turns into hell on wheels!
After topping a rise, I lean the bike up against a juniper and start cross country for the little LaSal. The srcub is 8" tall, but it will trip you dead on your face if you don't respect it. The gravelly dirt is loose and feels like sand. This was supposed to be a short hike, now it feels like an ordeal, the heat is pouring on!
Crossed a couple little draws before hitting the road I was supposed to be on. I was a little wary of approaching thickets of junipers, thinking rattlesnakes might be lurking, but really it was even too hot for them at 11am.
Left that road and started up the SE slopes following a slight gulley up to a large rockface! It was worse than loose talus, you learn just how to place your foot before loading it and finally made my way to more stable boulders and linking them up to move up.
Once at the rockface, I climbed along it's edge in the talus, using it to pull me along. I see the 1st of 3 summits, so I climb the one nearest me and trying not to get too excited. Yep, the far north one is the top, but I have a beautiful view of Priest and Nuns! Nice rocky point with a juniper growing out of crack on a class 4 wall. Twisted wood and rock!
Downclimb and skirt the middle pt to the west and see a trail coming from the east in a small saddle! I figured the locals must do this sometimes. Follow a nice little switchbacking trail to another bald rocky point and see the 1st trail register of the entire trip. Guess who put it there? He even makes a joke about himself! Just the 3rd one officially here, since MG put it here in March! Actually had a cool breeze blowing and so I lingered around for a while to cool off. Quite a few houses down in Castle Valley, mostly butted up against the Porcupine Rim side of the valley.
I wasn't going back the way I came and went down the east face in a narrow gulley at first and then a wide talus field later. Once back on the desert floor and the heat, I angled toward a ridge my instincts told me to take, but I ignored earlier. I finally found my previous path and headed straight for my bike in the haystack of pinions/junipers.
Looked around at a landmark on the horizon I planned to head for before leaving the car. Starting out, I shouldered the bike for the x-country maneuver. You can't roll the bike along, the short scrub was really hard to push a bike through it, dirt too soft to ride. Crossed through a gulch thinking next road was on the next ridge. Wrong! Still heading to my landmark, cross another ridge, no road. Another gulch, a road is here, don't know where it's going, so keep heading to landmark. I've stopped and readjusted the bike a million times already, left shoulder, right shoulder, across both shoulders! Very painful, I thought if I left the bike here, it would still be here 20 years later.
I can see the utility poles on the road, so I just break straight to them, shoulda did this a lot sooner though. Took a few last sips of water and poured the rest on my head and 5 minutes later popped out on the road.
OK which way? Ride left and it better be the correct choice. After a couple 100 yards I see the colvert off the shoulder. Immediately I think that since this took me way longer than I thought, my water in the shade was now in the sun. It was and I didn't care and drank heartily of the warm water, least it wasn't hot.
I think it took me about 3 hours to do this thing. It was one of those "Objects appear closer in mirror" than they actually are kinda thing. It was really a dumb idea this late in the morning to do, but no harm done. I decided to skip a hike up to the Priest and Nun for that reason!
It was 99 degrees in Moab on Sunday, lucky I didn't get fried out there!
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