Lonely Ol' Granny
The saddle south of Point 1429.
For those who seek obscurities in extreme remote settings, this objective has your name written all over it! Tucked in the Old Woman Mountain Wilderness (remotely located between Hwy's 62 and 40), the Old Woman Statue is an eye-catching pinnacle that begs the attention of the ever fanatical peakbagger, with both free and aid climbing opportunities. When viewed from the east, this monolithic structure reselmbles the figure of an old woman draped in a shawl, hunched at the shoulders. The Mojave Indians first spotted this lone figure and identified "her" as 'Nomopeoits' (pronounced "no-mopo-wits"), which simply means "old woman". In 1961, it was first sought out as an objective of the Sierra Club's Desert Peaks Section but didn't see a true first ascent until 1970 by first ascentionist, Dick Sykes, by means of direct aid. Since that first ascent, the Old Gal sees very few visitors at her lonely desert lookout. But for those who endure the long desert approach and the near 2-mile hike up to her "hem line", she will reward you with her whispered stories of centuries gone by.
"Over The Desert And Through The Wash...."
For those coming from the west, head east on Hwy 62 to Twentynine Palms (highly suggested to make a gas top off here!). From Twentynine Palms, continue east until the intersection of Hwy 62 and Hwy 177 is reached. Turn left and continue on Hwy 62 for 18.4 miles. Look for a BLM dirt road on the left side of the highway. Turn LEFT onto this road (also known as Cadiz Road, which parallels the Cadiz railway). Once on this dirt road, follow the turn directions and distances below. Begin by resetting your odometer once you turn off Hwy 62 and onto Cadiz Rd.
-Once on Cadiz Rd, drive north 14.3 miles to an intersection (marked by transmission lines heading north)
-Turn RIGHT onto a good dirt road. Pass over the Cadez Railroad tracks at 14.8 and continue on this road (which parallels a set of power transmission lines).
-Turn LEFT at 30.9 miles onto a less maintained dirt road (high clearance vehicles a must! 4x4 vehicles are ideal, especially in the late winter and early spring rainy season).
-Veer right at the Old Woman Wilderness BLM sign at 31.1 miles.
-At 35.7 miles, be on the look-out for a dirt road that joins in from the right side. Be sure to stay on the left side of this section, since the two roads join.
-Turn LEFT (south bound) at an intersection at 36.0 miles.
-Turn RIGHT (west bound) at the Painted Rock intersection at 37.5 miles.
-At 39.0 miles, one will spot a broken windmill on the right side of the road and a water trough on the left side of the road. Continue past here an addition .5 miles to reach road's end at a good camping spot with a fire ring (room for 3 vehicles max).
DO NOT use the DPS trip report dated 27 January 1996 (submitted by Mark Adrian). The approach drive is inaccurate and the Iron Mountain Pumping Plant is now a restricted access location, guarded and fenced. Use the information provided on this page to prevent any logistical "nightmares".
...To "Grandmother's House We Go!"
From the parking/camping area (UTM 671130E, 3821100N), hike NW, using the toe of a ridgeline marked by "red" rock as a reference. Pass over this toe and into a drainage, navigating the path of least resistance upward toward a saddle (south of point 1429m).
The "business end" of Old Woman Staute
Pass over the saddle. This will be your first intial view of the Old Woman Statue to the west. Contour along a ridgeline that heads west then bends to the southwest while maintaining consistant elevation with the base of the Old Woman Statue. The last section of the approach to the base becomes a bit of a scramble through rocks and foliage. Aim for a notch/pseudo saddle on the north side of the Old Woman Statue. Once up on top of the "saddle", scramble to the south and climb up 3rd class ledges (via a chockstone in a crack) to a small notch at the base of the northwestern side of the statue. Locate a near vertical left-facing corner crack (roughly 30'). This is the start of the route leading to the summit. Climb this corner (5.7) to an exiting point 30' above and to the right onto a large ledge. Locate a two bolt anchor and belay the second from this anchor. Directly above this set of anchors is an A1 bolt laddder. There are 12 bolts in all, mostly 1/4" thread bolts and buttonheads, with the occasional 3/8" to keep it safe yet sporty. Climb this bolt ladder to the summit (25'), where a two bolt anchor with rap chains are located. Fix a line to the anchors for the second to jug. Near the anchor is a pile of rocks that secures the summit register (courtesy of Greg Vernon, placed in Feb 2000). A single rope rappel WILL make it back down to the notch, at the base of the route.
The "business end" of Old Woman Staute
-Key equipment: small to medium nuts, cams to 1", 24 oval carabiners, two sets of etriers, a set of jumars, a bolt kit (should one of the ancient 1/4" bolts blow out!) and a cool head!.
As a side note, this location seems to channel most of the wind passing over the ridge and can be a very chilly location when climbing in the winter and early spring (bring warm clothes!!).
[img:369828:alignleft:small:Old A1 bolt ladder (...with a few 3/8" bolts to keep it sporty and somewhat safe)]
Camping On "Granny's Property"
The Old Woman Statue is located in the 146,000 acre Old Woman Mountain Wilderness, managed by the BLM Resource Office in Needles, CA. There are no current hiking or camping restrictions. No permits are needed. Any questions regarding the management of this wilderness, the BLM office can be reached at (619) 326-3896.
Topos: 15' Topo - Essex, 7.5' Old Woman Statue (UTM Zone 11)
-DPS Trip Report by Mark Adrian