Copper Mountain P500
Peak 4,717ft P750
Peak 4,248ft P300
N Dino BM P300

May 3, 2018
Copper Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile


After dinner in Twentynine Palms, I had driven to the top of nearby Copper Mtn to spend the night. A gravel/rock road leads to the summit where there are some FM towers. In the morning I walked around the summit area and the lower east summit (with a benchmark nearby. To the west, I could see that the recent brief storm had dropped some snow on San Gorgonio and the San Bernardino Mtns down to about 8-9,000ft. I had planned to do some hiking up there today, but decided I didn't want to play around in wet boots and looked for an alternate plan. I decided to visit Berdoo Canyon in the Little San Bernardino Mtns on the western edge of Joshua Tree National Park. I had driven up the old paved road leading into the canyon earlier in the year, but the van had been unable to negotiate the washed out section where the regular pavement ends. The Jeep had little trouble driving up it today despite some sections being rather rough, and just after 8a I was ready to head out.

I was after a trio of summits that MacLeod & Lilley had climbed back in the 1980s. The highest, Peak 4,717ft, had more than 750ft of prominence and was the most prominent peak in Joshua Tree that I had yet to visit. Peak 4,717ft and Peak 4,248ft were within a mile of each other, on the same ridge found on the north side of Berdoo Canyon. I had parked at the base of Peak 4,717ft's SE Ridge and simply followed that up to the summit. "Simply" involved some 3,000ft of gain over the course of two and three quarter miles, taking me more than two hours. The bottom of the canyon is a bit filthy with trash from many years of shooting and off-road driving, but once a few hundred feet above the canyon, all is fairly pristine. Warm-ish temperatures were returning, so it was quite a bit of work too, or so it seemed, for the climb. I found the expected MacLeod/Lilley register from 1981, also visited by a Vitz party in 1990 and another undated vistor looking for the VABM another 1/3mi to the east at a lower point. After a short break I turned southwest and started down the ridge to the saddle between the two peaks, then up another 400ft to Peak 4,248ft. Here I found the second register from the same date in 1981, showing also a second party visiting in 2006. I then descended the SE Ridge of Peak 4,248ft to return to Berdoo Canyon and the Jeep by noon, about 4hrs of work. Having carried only a quart of Poweraid which I had just finished off, I gulped down some water from the Jeep, grabbed another quart of Poweraid, and started up the south side of the canyon for the last summit, Peak 3,460ft. Thankfully, this was a much easier effort, taking just under an hour to reach the summit, overlooking the Santa Rosa Mtns and the Coachella Valley. Look as I might, I was unable to locate any register. I left one I had carried up before starting down a different ridgeline back into Berdoo Canyon. It was 2p when I finished up, calling it an early day with the temperature close to 80F now. The water I showered with was nearly scalding, in sharp contrast to yesterday's cooler temps and the rather tepid shower that resulted. I drove down to Indio to find some relief inside from the warm temps. I wasn't sure where I'd be spending the night or what I was going to climb the next day, but I had more than a few hours to work on a plan...


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