It had been almost a month since I had last gotten out for some peakbagging,
and after spending most of January either mopping up or waiting out the rain,
I finally snuck out for a short 4-day desert trip. I headed to the town of
Joshua Tree to do some stuff around the desert town in the southern part of
San Bernardino County. I got to the area around noon, doing a bunch of minor
summits until Patrick was due to arrive in the latter part of the afternoon.
Not really a summit, just near the corner of Celesta St
and Desert Shadow Rd, out in of scattered homesteads
northeast of town. There's a neighbor immediately adjacent to the west, but a
high fence makes this less intrusive.
Just NE of Moonlight Mesa, at least has a few hundred feet of
prominence. There are residences to the and . I
parked at the end of Rice Ave on the SW side and went up and back in 15min.
There's a battered at the top and a large
for camping/drinking with a view.
This is the second highest (and only other) summit of Copper Mtn, between Joshua
Tree and 29 Palms. Jeep roads get you to a defunct mine on the east side of the
peak. Other roads, not shown on the topo map, can get you even closer on the
south and west sides. I used the mine road and went up the rocky
in about 15min. Remnants of can be
found with views to dry Coyote Lake.
Another very minor point like Moonlight Mesa, this one has little
discernable rise, found on the west side of 29 Plans and a close resident to
, across Easy St.
Found on the northwest side of 29 Palms, just south of 2 Mile Rd, one can drive
to the top from the south and southwest. I parked off 2 Mile Rd and took two
minutes to hike to .
is found south of SR62 in 29 Palms, a near drive-up. Paved
Cactus Dr takes one to just east of the highpoint. A
spur road to an empty house pad on the northwest side makes for good parking
and a 30 second hike to the top. A reinforced with a
steel pipe is found at the summit.
This is found northeast of 29 Palms. A water tank is hidden
from view just east of the highpoint. I was able to drive to
up a sandy road on it's NW side starting from Amboy Rd. I went off the north
side down the steep sand afterwards. Good fun.
Patrick was supposed to join me earlier, but heavy traffic out of LA would delay
him for a few hours. So I headed to Indian Cove on the north side of Joshua
Tree NP, to the popular rock climbing area. LoJ has added about nine
found in Randy Vogel's Rock Climbing Joshua Tree
I had enough time to do five of these before I had to leave to meet Patrick.
They were all quite challenging, especially without any beta. I parked in
between and Dark Shadow Rock and visited
each of the five in turn. I found
them all in the 4th to low 5th class range. Half of the fun was figuring out
the routes, each with at least a few spicy moves. I spent just over an hour
scrambling here. Will have to come back to try .
South Park Peak West - Peak 4,783ft
I drove to the South Park area south of Yucca Valley on the NW corner of Joshua
Tree NP. Patrick finally arrived around 4:30p, and we were
sometime after 5p, not long before sunset. This would
be a headlamp hike well before we were done. Starting from the High View Nature
Loop TH, we first headed to South Park Peak West, a slightly higher version of
the official South Park Peak shown on the topo map. It's a fairly
, taking about 15min to reach from the TH. The more
interesting objective was Peak 4,783ft,
the westernmost summit in Joshua Tree NP. After descending the SW side of the
first summit, we picked up a park trail which we followed west down a drainage
to pick up another trail heading south up an adjoining drainage. This trail
climbs up to Warren Peak before descending to the east into Black
Rock Canyon. Our route would follow the trail only a short distance before
heading southwest towards Peak 4,783ft. The cross-country is mildly brushy,
nothing difficult, but we wouldn't get far before breaking out the headlamps -
not wanting to stumble into a yucca or cactus. The final 400ft were terribly
steep and seemed to go on forever. We kept thinking we were near the top, only
to find more ground to cover. A bit more than an hour after leaving the first
summit, we gained the summit. It was windy and quite chilly, and three layers
didn't seem enough. We could see the lights of Yucca Valley to
those of the Coachella Valley to the south as we looked over the crest of the
Little San Bernardino Mtns. We dropped back down the NE Face via a slightly
different route, not really better or worse. It was nearly 7p before we managed
to find our way back to which we could then follow for the
next half hour back to .
Ours were the only two vehicles left in the lot, no real
surprise. It would be a tepid shower tonight, but a fun day overall...