The Lost Pencil

Golden Hour 2013 Dec 31

Return to Towers of Uncertainty-South Index

(2D images first. 3D Galleries further down the page will require redcyan glasses to see the full 3D effect. Click Photos to Enlarge.)

Lost Pencil Joshua Tree NP

Trek date 2013 Dec 31. Wanderers E! • Murbachi • E!’s Ghost

On This Page

  • The Lost Pencil
  • Rocky Marciano
  • Jerry’s Quarry
  • Harry’s Quarry
  • Malapai Hill
  • Virgin Islands

THE LOST PENCIL is one of the lesser known Balanced Rocks in Joshua Tree National Park. It lies 1.3 mile west of Geology Tour Road. While visible from the road with the naked eye, binoculars improve the view greatly.

Similar to “Headstone Rock” in Lost Horse Valley’s Ryan Campground, this granite monolith is impressive when one is standing next to it. The first recorded ascent was made in 1956, via a bolt ladder on the east side. “Indian Giver,” the 5.11a** climb listed in Randy Vogel’s Rock Climbing Guide, is most often attempted, and lies on the west face of the pillar. Fortunately, the west face was basking in sunlight when we arrived. I got some nice angles before the shadows obscured it.

Rocky Marciano, west face

Rocky Marciano, west face

Jerry's Quarry - The Definitive Inselberg

Jerry’s Quarry – The Definitive Inselberg

Malapai Hill, west side

Malapai Hill, west side


Lost Pencil vs. Headstone Rock

2D ♦ 3D Anaglyph ♦ 3D Half Side-by-Side

Lost Pencil

Headstone Rock at Ryan Campground, Nov. 2012

  • Geology Tour Road Stop 5 (for most direct route to “Lost Pencil” and “Jerry’s Quarry”)
  • Type: X-country
  • GPS:  33°57’8.33″N 116° 6’5.88″W
  • El. 4079ft
  • Approach: 1.3 mi
  • Area: balanced rock and climbing pinnacle beyond “Jerry’s Quarry”
  • Things to see nearby: Malapai Hill, Pushawalla Plateau, Lost Horse Mountain, Ryan Mountain, “The Galapagos” rock climbing area, “Virgin Islands,” “Island in the Stream,” “Jerry’s Quarry,” “Harry’s Quarry”
  • Those wanting more adventure can head further on out past the “Lost Pencil” into the middle of nowhere and visit the “Solomon Islands” with its provocatively named climbing routes “Buttress Buttress,” “Golly,” “The Black Eel,” “Bury the Pickle,” and “Eat Me Volume 23”

2D ♦ Lost Pencil and Surrounding Features

Geology Tour Lost Pencil area

(Photo taken from Lost Horse Mine hilltop looking down on Queen Valley & Geology Tour Road)

IT IS DIFFICULT to say how long the Lost Pencil has stood here, balanced against the wind and shaken by earthquakes. The monzogranite in Joshua Tree is perhaps 85 million years old (some geologists believe even older, 150 million years). The pillar no doubt formed tens of miles deep under the earth as part of a solid igneous “pluton.” It was only in the last few million years that the overlying surface has eroded to expose the rocks that give JTNP their distinctive appearance.

Certainly, the Lost Pencil has stood exactly as you see it today for a tens of thousands of years, maybe even a hundred thousand—patiently waiting for Nature to end its glory days atop its boulder pedestal. Set against our puny human lifespans, the Pencil has outlived civilizations, awaiting a 3D photographer to record it in all its pomp and circumstance.

Circumstances being what they are, on our Dec 31 trek into Uncertainty, E! and your web host had long planned to include the Lost Pencil. It was nearby (only a mile and a half from the Towers towers). We accomplished the photo-taking session just before the setting sun was blocked by Lost Horse mountain. Our first stop was “Rocky Marciano.” Half a mile on, a very large rock pile called “Jerry’s Quarry” with its huge side-boulder which rock climbers lovingly call “Equinox.” Beyond, “Harry’s Quarry” and of course Malapai Hill, before we turned West directly into the setting sun for The Lost Pencil. The warm afternoon orange and golden glow are plainly visible as the sequence progress. With the sun in our eyes, it was impossible for me to get any 3D photos southwest in the direction of the Lost Pencil, because of the glare, until our arrival.


First Stop “Rocky Marciano” ♦ 3D Anaglyph Gallery

(Sit two or three feet from the screen to view, for best results. Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS).


  • Use glasses to view 3D Anaglyphs
  • Click to Enlarge Photos



3D Anaglyph Gallery

The Lost Pencil

(Slideshow Follows)

Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS.



3D Anaglyph Slideshow

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


3D Half Side-by-Side Gallery

 Lost Pencil

Suitable for 3D TV viewing. Half Side-by-Sides avoid the minor Anaglyph anomalies that can occur. Click images to enlarge. 1080p resolution. Or Windows users, right-click and choose SAVE LINK AS. Selections—the complete Lost Pencil 3D H-SBS Set contains 96 photos. Also, 2016P H-SBS JPG sets available on request. I have made two Lost Pencil slideshows to background music in H-SBS MP4 1080p format for 3D TVs.




WHERE’S WALLY? (known in the United States and Canada as Where’s Waldo?) is a series of children’s books created by British illustrator Martin Handford. If you are familiar with this series, perhaps you might also want to discover “Where’s E!” in the following mind-numbingly complex 2D collage of commingled monzogranite pinnacles, poky Mojave yucca flora, inedible shrubs, and shy fauna, where can be found our mystery-person.

E!, it so happens, has gotten famous. This “Lost Pencil” image can now be found on Google Earth! Co-ordinated readers having the Google Earth browser software already installed, may link directly using the secret code known only to NSA, the Illuminati, and your tennis coach: 33°57’8.33″ N 116° 6’5.88″W

Click to Embiggen



Visit E!’s Lost Pencil & Towers of Uncertainty page HERE


Enjoy the Lost Pencil! Thank you for visiting.

Return to Towers of Uncertainty-South Index

Posted 2014 Sep 22

Updated 2017 Nov 11

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