Friday, June 6, 2014

Native American Rock Art: Chimney Meadows, Lamont Meadows


Chimney Meadows.

Here are photos from two stops on an eventful day ranging from desolate deserts to mountain meadows. I went back to Jawbone Canyon and ruled out a hunch, and drove out to Walt Bickel's mining camp in the El Paso Range, but what I really wanted to see were a pair of rock art sites which can be accessed via the Chimney Peak Byway.

Hidden away near Chimney Meadows is a small rock art site. The paintings cling to the underside of a granite shelf which overhangs the paintings. The art is old and fading, much of it essentially gone. The photo below shows hints of a fading orange, though the other elements are strictly monochrome red. It's a neat site that offers deluxe views of the meadow and immediate access to Chimney Creek.

The second site is fairly well known. It is located in Lamont Meadows which lies below and downstream of Chimney Meadows. The art is displayed on the roof of a large granite overhang which is difficult and dangerous to get to (see caption below). There are about 20 individual monochrome red elements on this roof, all of them bearing a resemblance to other Kern County sites. I was intrigued by the art, the overhang, and it's inaccessibility. I am unused to being unable to climb up to a place so this circumstance left me a bit peeved. With a belay and rock shoes it would have been a breeze, but without the rope... too dicey for me.

The meadow complex up here was pretty, and made for a pleasant drive through towering peaks and piney forests. I'd like to complete the backcountry drive which continues from Chimney Meadows all the way down to and through Kennedy Meadows. That'd make for a really cool day behind the wheel.






Chimney Meadows.
The pictographs at Lamont Meadows. What sets these apart from many rock art sites is the inaccessibility. 
I was able to get up to the ledge just below the overhang with the paint, but beyond that I could not overcome my better judgement. A couple of very exposed 5th Class moves would have gotten me there but they were awkward, barn door moves with poor feet and a sloper top out, 30ft off the deck. There was another option, one which I think the natives used, but that was a sketchy series of no-hands traversing moves which today are obstructed by a complicating plant. Too risky. In the photos above and below you can see the pictographs on the roof of the overhang.



7 comments:

  1. Chimney Peak Byway is a lot of fun. With a truck, you have access to a lot of good wilderness. And even though so much of the region is accessible with a car, the area is in great condition; no litter, campsites are nice and clean, not overrun, rockart you can almost drive to, gets you close to Domelands, peaks to bag, etc. I guess it is just far enough from the metropolitan areas to dissuade the less caring. - Jeff Roth

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sometimes good judgement is the best tool in your box! Thanks for posting the this. I don't know if I'll ever make to that place.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Did you see the great pictographs between Chimney Meadows and Lamont Meadows?
    Mike B.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Ummmm...no. Rats! I figured there was plenty more there but had no idea where to start looking. It's a big place. If you felt compelled to give me some hints I'd be happy to head back up there, and grateful.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sure no problem...
    Can you post your email or some other less public way of giving details?
    Mike B.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anybody can email me any time at:
      David.stillman72@gmail.com

      Delete
  6. Hi David
    Despite all the academic wannbees and self-appointed Pictograph stewards I think you are doing a service posting these sites.

    Soon they will be gone and this will be the only record that remains.

    I don't for a second think any of your readers would damage a site

    ReplyDelete