Kramer Hills
Peak 2,795ft
Peak 3,780ft P500
Peak 3,780ft P500

Thu, Jan 11, 2018
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPXs: 1 2 3 4 5 Profiles: 1 2 3 4

Another month, another desert trip. This ten day effort would take me to Death Valley and south to San Diego. I dropped a visiting friend at the San Jose airport in the early morning before heading out to the Mojave. I didn't have a plan for this travel day, but figured I could make one up during the drive using my available resources (the Internet and Peakbagger App). All of these are fairly easy hikes, only the last one of any consequence and that only 4mi with less than 2,000ft of gain. The others were around a mile each with embarassingly low amounts of elevation gain. All are located on BLM lands.

Peak 2,795ft

This unnamed summit is the highpoint of the North Edwards area, a small community on the north side of SR58 and Edwards Air Force Base, though this isn't saying much. I noted that Jeff Moffat had climbed it, so figured I'd better too. Paved Claymine Rd leads to good dirt Dennise Ave which I followed west to the south side of the summit. 4WD can actually drive to the summit, but the walk from the 2WD road wasn't very hard, taking less than 15min. From the summit one can look over North Edwards to the south and the huge borax mine some miles to the east. On the way back I found a selection of DirectTV dish antennae that had been riddled with bullet holes and abandoned. A disgruntled employee, perhaps?

Kramer Hills HP/Kramer 2 BM

These easy summits are found on either side of US395, south of Kramer Junction where the road tops out as it winds through this small range of hills. 4WD vehicles can drive to the Kramer Hills HP and any vehicle can drive to Kramer 2 BM (this is "Kramer Benchmark" on PB, but does not appear in LoJ since it has little prominence). I parked along US395 for the highpoint, crossing the road (the most dangerous part of the hike) and making my way uphill to the nearby point. There is an old antenna at the summit though I don't think it is used anymore. Barbara & Gordon left a register here in 2006. There were only a few other entries, all fairly recent. During the short outing, the quiet was loudly disturbed by a pair of B1-B bombers roaring overhead, having just taken off from Edwards AFB. Pretty darn fast for such big planes.

Kramer 2 BM was a little more interesting, from a history perspective. US395 was rerouted to remove some turns in the original route and make the grade easier. I drove up the deteriorating old pavement most of the way, then a spur road up to the top. There are microwave and cell towers at the summit, the benchmark located on the north side of the highest fence.

Katz BM

This is another short outing only found on PB since it has little prominence. It is located along Irwin Rd north of Barstow, off Old Hwy 58. I parked at an informal shooting range on the north side of the peak and made the easy climb from there. One can view the Waterman Hills to the west and Barstow to the south.

Peak 3,780ft x2

I continued north on Irwin Rd to its junction with Ft. Irwin Rd (the names can be confusing), and then about 4mi further north. On the west side of the road (really a highway, with 65mph speed limit) lies a collection of four unnamed peaks, three of them with the same elevation of 3,780ft. I spent the hour of daylight (and about 30min past sunset) climbing the two northernmost ones with more than 500ft of prominence each. It was a very enjoyable hike across easy desert terrain in the magic hours of the late afternoon with the sun casting soft orange light on the surrounding hills. I found a large geocache at the first summit I visited, filled with all sorts of things, some even mildly interesting, though there were few entries since it was placed 15yrs earlier. The second summit was less than a mile to the northwest with a drop of about 560ft to the saddle between them. No geocache or register at the second summit. It was 5:20p by the time I returned, no need for a headlamp (good, since I didn't take my pack with me on this or the earlier hikes). I showered at a turnout along Ft. Irwin Rd on my way back to Barstow, before heading into town for gas and food. Then more driving on Interstate 15 to Baker, the "Gateway to Death Valley"...


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