Dec 17, 2023
|Photos / Slideshow
The last day of this roadtip had me camped on the east side of the Calument Mountains, along a well-graded BLM road. I had first been to the range back in 2014 for the range highpoint, returning again in 2019 with friends for some easier ones close to SR62. Today I was after a handful of summits on the east side of the range that I could do in a half day before driving home. To help me with the long drive, I was up early to start off on foot at 6:30a, just before sunrise.
I parked off the BLM road at the junction with an older road, now part of the Sheephole Valley Wilderness. There is no barrier at the junction where a Wilderness sign is found, and there are numerous tracks skirting around it. 10min west on the old road is a more formidable barrier, though I discovered this one has been driven around as well - so it goes. I followed the old road west for about 40min before turning southwest towards my first summit, Peak 1,929ft. I climbed up the east side of its NE Ridge and then followed the ridge to the summit where I arrived at 7:40a. Barbara Lilley had left a register here in 2011, no one signing it in the interim. It was the only summit of the four I would find with a register. The next summit was less than a mile to the WNW, but since all four summits are standalones, I would have to drop back down to the desert floor before ascending each in turn. All of this was class 2 scrambling on the peaks and class 1 across the sandy wash system, so pretty relaxing overall.
Peak 1,879ft was the westernmost of the four summits. Having climbed it from the SE side, I left a register before descending off the north side. Near the bottom I came across a neat find - an old aluminum canteen lying in the sand, probably from the 1960s, like one I owned way back in my days as a Scout. I took a photo of it before leaving it for the next random visitor to discover. I headed northeast across the broad wash before ascending a gully on the southwest side of Peak 1,820ft. This led to the South Ridge which looked more difficult than it turned out. I followed this to the highpoint, arriving by 9:30a. I left a second register here before descending the east side via a series of saddles and gullies that would get me back down to the bottom and just north of the last summit, Peak 1,492ft. The wash here showed evidence of heavy runoff from the tropical storm that pummelled the Southland in the early summer. The small trees growing here had been battered, some of them uprooted and left scattered in the sand, others managing to hang on and survive the event. It's a tough life out it the desert.
I climbed a gully on the NW side of the last peak, then followed the summit ridge to reach the highpoint by 10:40a. I left a last register before descending off the SE side, returning to the wash, the road and eventually the Jeep by 11:30a. After showering in the mid-morning sun, I put on some fresh clothes and got ready to start the 9hr+ drive back to San Jose. Good times...
This page last updated: Tue Jan 16 16:40:15 2024
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: firstname.lastname@example.org