Mon, Nov 18, 2019
Having camped a second night at the Dyadic Trailhead, we needed an easier day to allow for travel home at the end of it. We settled on a group of four low but rugged hills on the north side of SR62 which we could starting from camp, all of them located within the Sheephole Valley Wilderness. While Tom G and Iris were finishing morning prep, Tom B and I drove a few miles west to drop my jeep off for a shuttle to save us some effort, then returned to the others. The four peaks were roughly in a line southeast to northwest, about a mile north of SR62. The total distance would be a little over 5mi with 2,000ft of gain, the terrain rough and loose. Almost five hours would be spent on the effort.
We started from our camp soon after 7a, heading northeast to Peak 2,191ft. It was the lowest of the four, with each successive peak higher than the last. Going up a gully on the southwest side, there would be a few false summits to go over before reaching the top in about 35 minutes' time. Because one is never far from the highway, it's not so much the Wilderness experience one usually gets in the desert, as you could see and hear the occasional trucks as they rumbled by. Still, it was a fine morning with good visibility and we enjoyed a short break at each summit to take in the views. We descended the NW side of Peak 2,191ft, a steeper affair than the ascent. The loose rock caught Tom B off guard a few times as he took spills and bled some, his frustration showing in his expressions. Once off the slope, we had more than a mile to hike across the flats to our next summit, Peak 2,322ft. As we were crossing a wide, sandy wash, Iris realized she'd dropped her gloves somewhere since the first summit. She and the Toms went back to the base of the first peak to look for them while I wandered around the wash collecting old aluminum cans that had washed down from the roadside over the decades. They came back without the gloves a short while later and we continued on, leaving the desert was a little cleaner now. A bit further we found an aluminum ladder lying on the ground, riddled with bullet holes. It looks like it had been used to hang various targets, inevitably taking lots of wayward shots itself. Tom G made an effort to free climb the ladder, but gave it up quickly as a potentially dangerous stunt that could end badly.
We scrambled up Peak 2,322ft from the southeast, the sun hitting directly at the gully we climbed, slowing us some. We considered it might have been better to climb this route in the reverse order to give us more shade on the ascents. It would have been 300ft less gain, too. Live and learn. We reached the top of the second summit by 9a, all of us getting a bit tired by now - seems the previous two long days were catching up with us. The next two peaks were closer together, taking about an hour for each from one summit to the next. After descending to the base of the second summit, and having taken yet another spill, Tom B took that as a sign to cut his day short and headed back to camp. The remaining team pressed on, topping the third peak by 10a and the fourth one by 11a. We found no registers on any of the summits, but left one on the fourth and highest one. We descended the last summit to the southwest, dropping into a neat little wash that cut straight through the convoluted terrain back towards the highway. The sandy wash had only a modest amount of brush and it made a nice exit back to the road where we'd left the jeep. Tom was long gone by the time we drove back to camp, and not long after noon we were all heading back home. It had been a warmer-than-preferred first desert outing, but fun all the same.
I was on my way through Twentynine Palms when I got a concerned call from Iris. Seems she had left her wallet in my jeep on the drive back to camp. They were about 15min behind me, so I stopped at the McDs to use some free WiFi and wait for her to catch up. Crisis averted.
This page last updated: Mon Nov 25 10:34:31 2019
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