Sun, Dec 11, 2022
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Day four in the Kofa National Wildlife Refuge found me alone in the Kofa Mtns, friends having taken off the previous afternoon. The main objective today was Kofa Butte, but I would get five other summits on a rather full day. Peak 2,340ft proved to be the most challenging of the day and great fun.
A very busy register was placed by a Barbara Lilley party in 1982. She came back two years later with another Sierra Club party that included Gordon MacLeod and other notables. On the way back I took the class 2-3 chute from the plateau to regain the class 2-3 gully. In all I spent a little over 3hrs covering the 3.5mi with about 1,600ft of gain.
I had gotten a good view of the south and east sides of Peak 2,340ft while I was climbing Kofa Butte. It looked exceedingly hard. I chose to do this 3 summit loop in the order I did so that I could approach Peak 2,340ft from the southwest and west to see if there were better options there. Things looked difficult on that side as well. I climbed a class 2 slope to a saddle between the main peak and a detached pinnacle to the west. On the other side, I found a class 2-3 gully that nicely led south and east up to what I thought was the summit, the point identified on LoJ as the highpoint. It turned out to be a lower west summit with a very deep, vertical gap separating it from the higher east summit. Where I'd thought I'd discovered the key to the summit, I was left dejected. I descended a steep chute to the north, adjacent to the lower west summit. This led me around the north side of the peak where I found steep faces and narrow gullies that looked to go vertical near their top. It's possible one of these might work as a scramble route, but it looked too dicey for my taste from below. I continued around the north and northeast sides, eventually finding the northeast side has steep but more reasonable facets with some potential. I climbed up class 2 slopes about halfway up before things got harder. I left my poles and entered a class 4 chimney/gully with decently solid rock to chimney my way up it. This was followed by ledges and short faces, none harder than solid class 3, leading all the way to the summit. I was elated to find a way up this one, and excited to find a register with only a single entry - from 2001. A very fine summit, this one. I reversed the route back down to the poles, then continued traversing around the east side (finding a cool arch) and down a chute to the desert flats below on the SE side. It was 3p by the time I got back to the Jeep and I half expected it to be the end of the day. I still had an hour of driving to get back out of King Valley and back to the highway.
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