Panamint City backpack.

of Death Valley and vicinity
Moly Man
Breyfogler
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:32 pm
Location: Bagdad, Arizona

Panamint City backpack.

Post by Moly Man » Tue Oct 25, 2016 12:15 pm

Last week, I hiked up to Panamint City with a friend. During this two day outing we visited the side canyons of Sourdough and Water. We also spent a fair bit of time visiting the modern mill located on the south side of Surprise Canyon and did the obligatory underground mine tour thru the Lewis adit. As this was our first visit to the town, we had to hunt around a bit to find a source of water. This turned out to be Slaughterhouse spring which was running at about 5 gals/hour measured at the discharge to the tank. We had planned on camping at one of the three main cabins in Panamint City but; after inspection, decided to camp a short ways up canyon. Due to limited time, we were not able to visit the two largest mines in the area: the Hemlock or the Wyoming. We did however have time for a short detour visit to the Steward Wonder camp and operation during our hike out. Hiking time up from Chris Wicht's (or Novak's) camp was about 6 hours and about 4 hours for the return. One thing that still amazes me is that there was at one time a fairly decent road up this canyon.

User avatar
Death Valley Dazed
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 546
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:24 pm
Location: Utah

Moly Man - enjoyed your brief trip report

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Sat Nov 05, 2016 4:00 pm

which was "too" brief for me because over Labor Day Weekend I also hiked up Surprise Canyon, to Panamint City and also to Panamint Pass, after a 3PM start and staying just one night. My adventure was just a "quickie" so the details you provided in your trip report will keep curious until I take a two or three nighter back up Surprise.

I share your amazement how people actually constructed and maintained a road up Surprise Canyon. Did you notice the remaining dynamite blast holes present in the closer granite gaps where the stream now flows?

I don't know what grade that road is but it must have been quite the chug-a-lug getting that heavy machinery up. Then all those overheated breaks or runaways heading down.

The washouts must have been frequent. The smokestack won't be standing much longer because the base looks quite deteriorated. So if anyone readying this thread has not been up to Panamint City, I'd suggest making an effort in the next few years. That smokestack is quite the eye candy for the weary hiker approaching the city.
Life begins in Death Valley

D.A. Wright
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 2231
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: Nevada

Post by D.A. Wright » Mon Nov 07, 2016 1:41 pm

Somewhere on my drives I have a photo of a 1955 or 1956 Oldsmobile parked in PC with the mill smokestack in the background (a car driven up by tourists - they visible in photo, not then resident "Shotgun Mary's Olds). For more modern 4x4 runs, you might be able to find a copy or online version of Rick Russel's Panamint Range 4x4 trail run videos, which includes running Surprise Canyon.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

Moly Man
Breyfogler
Posts: 94
Joined: Sun Oct 15, 2006 11:32 pm
Location: Bagdad, Arizona

Post by Moly Man » Fri Nov 11, 2016 11:57 pm

DV Dazed...when you do manage a return trip to Panamint City, you might want to check out the Stewards Wonder mine if you haven't yet done so. And yes, I agree that the smokestack for the smelter appears to be nearing the end of it's days but then again who knows? We did notice several bore holes for blasting at the narrower parts of the canyon that you referred to. I wonder if these could have later been used for winch cable attachment points?

D.A. Wright, I saw one you tube video showing a four wheel drive club out of Bakersfield doing the climb up Surprise Canyon. Really incredible! I believe this group may have also been among the first four wheelers to complete this run. Finally, the book, Silver Stampede by Neill C. Wilson also shows a picture of the original road up Surprise Canyon. The book was published in 1937 and may be hard to find.

User avatar
MojaveGeek
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 1968
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2008 5:22 pm
Location: Boston

Post by MojaveGeek » Sat Nov 12, 2016 6:59 am

To me, that chimney is completely iconic of Surprise Canyon. I'll be sad when it goes down.

Wingman
Jayhawker
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon May 13, 2013 3:08 pm

Post by Wingman » Sat Nov 12, 2016 10:10 am

Does anybody know how tall that smokestack is?

Neal

D.A. Wright
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 2231
Joined: Fri Jun 23, 2006 6:07 pm
Location: Nevada

Post by D.A. Wright » Mon Nov 14, 2016 12:04 pm

Moly Man wrote:DV Dazed...when you do manage a return trip to Panamint City, you might want to check out the Stewards Wonder mine if you haven't yet done so. And yes, I agree that the smokestack for the smelter appears to be nearing the end of it's days but then again who knows? We did notice several bore holes for blasting at the narrower parts of the canyon that you referred to. I wonder if these could have later been used for winch cable attachment points?

D.A. Wright, I saw one you tube video showing a four wheel drive club out of Bakersfield doing the climb up Surprise Canyon. Really incredible! I believe this group may have also been among the first four wheelers to complete this run. Finally, the book, Silver Stampede by Neill C. Wilson also shows a picture of the original road up Surprise Canyon. The book was published in 1937 and may be hard to find.
The smokestack appeared doomed even on my last visit to PC in 1997. I am certain the day will come when it collapses, but dout soon. A major earthquake is likely the main threat in the short term.

I have seen a historic photo showing a military surplus 6x6 drilling those bore holes. I am sure it was for road maintenance, as in those days the road was still under Inyo County jurisdiction, as there were still tax paying land owners and at least one full time resident.

I do have a copy of Wilson's book.
D.A. Wright
~When You Live in Nevada, "just down the road" is anywhere in the line of sight within the curvature of the earth.

User avatar
ETAV8R
Grubstaker
Posts: 204
Joined: Sun Nov 07, 2010 1:25 am

Post by ETAV8R » Thu Nov 17, 2016 11:44 pm

Moly Man wrote:...Finally, the book, Silver Stampede by Neill C. Wilson also shows a picture of the original road up Surprise Canyon. The book was published in 1937 and may be hard to find.
Thank you for the book reference. I'd not known about this book. A new addition to the DV library. Should arrive tomorrow. There are quite a few on Amazon.

matmiss
Breyfogler
Posts: 124
Joined: Wed Jun 28, 2006 2:03 pm
Location: Ridgecrest, CA
Contact:

the road

Post by matmiss » Fri Nov 18, 2016 3:42 am

in the ole days, 60's and 70's, the road up to Panamint City was GREAT - drove it in my VW bug many times. Miners had filled in "the falls"" with a lot of gravel. At that time, the side canyon springs weren't as obvious as they are now - maybe the water was being tapped to go somewhere? It was a huge flood in 1984? that washed out the whole lower end. Then the jeep people started winching jeeps up over the falls!!! - until BLM finally shut the canyon down to all vehicle traffic. It has been amazing how quickly the falls appeared and recovered.

stan
Jayhawker
Posts: 59
Joined: Mon Mar 25, 2013 1:09 am
Location: where ever you go, there you are

Post by stan » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:36 pm

I drove a stock VW Bus to PC back in 1972, no real problem getting up there, was a blast.... I have some pics (for proof) laying around here somewhere.

User avatar
Death Valley Dazed
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 546
Joined: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:24 pm
Location: Utah

Post by Death Valley Dazed » Sat Nov 26, 2016 4:02 pm

stan wrote: I have some pics (for proof) laying around here somewhere.
I'd love to see those pix. Please post them up if you can.
Life begins in Death Valley

User avatar
blackturtle.us
Jayhawker
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:24 pm

Re: Panamint City backpack.

Post by blackturtle.us » Sun Sep 30, 2018 8:56 pm

I just got back from a quick dayhike up to PC. Lots of graffiti. I don't recall seeing any graffiti on my last trip up there four years ago. Anyone know how recent the graffiti appeared? The worst item was a large banner painted up right below the chimney. Otherwise there were lots of small items all the way up to Thompson Camp. Did the apple trees stop bearing or is it likely that someone picked them? Not a sign of an apple today!!!

OLD PIC FROM AUGUST 2007 showing apples on trees:
Image

User avatar
blackturtle.us
Jayhawker
Posts: 41
Joined: Sun Oct 26, 2014 8:24 pm

Re: Panamint City backpack.

Post by blackturtle.us » Sun Oct 07, 2018 8:50 am

The graffiti I was talking about is visible here:
Image
MORE PICS: http://www.dvplants.com/SITES/SURPRISE/
Last edited by blackturtle.us on Sat Oct 13, 2018 11:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
wbdeford
Death Valley Resident
Posts: 614
Joined: Sat Dec 15, 2012 2:22 pm

Re: Panamint City backpack.

Post by wbdeford » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:13 am

That stinks.....glad I got there 1 1/2 years ago before this was done.

User avatar
Randy O
Jayhawker
Posts: 70
Joined: Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:16 pm
Location: Greenville CA

Re: Panamint City backpack.

Post by Randy O » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:59 pm

We saw that graffiti when we hiked up there at the end of February this year. It's bad to see this get started in a place like this.

Post Reply