Peak 2,395ft
Peak 2,486ft P300
Peak 2,540ft
Sacram BM P750
Peak 2,359ft P300
Peak 1,980ft

Mon, Dec 9, 2019

With: Eric Smith

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile


The Sacramento Mtns are a small desert range just west of Needles, CA, close to the Colorado River and the border with AZ. I had already paid three visits to the range, most recently only five days earlier at the beginning of this desert roadtrip. We were here today to collect a handful of lesser peaks in the southeast part of the range. We had spent the night not far from US95 south of Needles, camped on a pipeline road running west across the range. After two days, brother Jim decided to take a rest day, while Eric, after four straight days, was still holding his own. So we left Jim and his RV where we had camped that night and headed out before 7a.

Peak 2,395ft

This was the westernmost of the day's collection, an easy summit with a road leading to the telecom installation near the top. There is a locked gate 3/4mi from summit requiring some effort, but not a whole lot - it took less than 20min to make our way to the top and about the same to return.

Peak 2,486ft/Peak2,540ft/Sacram BM

This closely-grouped trio is found about a mile northeast of the first summit. We repositioned the jeep for a shorter hike that could do all three in a loop starting from the south. Sacram BM was the highest of the group with more than 800ft of prominence, and the last one to reach. The first two were mostly easy class 2, but Sacram BM proved more of a challenge, ascending the steep western face and descending the SE Ridge and South Slopes. Sacram BM was the only summit featuring a register, left by John Vitz in 2004. We spent 3 and 3/4hrs on the 4mi loop, making no speed record to be sure, but having good fun all the same.

Peak 2,359ft

We drove back to our campsite to find the hood of Jim's RV open, tools spread around on the ground and elsewhere, an iPhone and iPad sitting out on a camp chair and, oddly, no sign of Jim. While we looked inside the unlocked RV and cased the surroundings outside, we examined the clues to the abduction that obviously took place. Clearly the took him for ransom because they didn't bother with any of his valuables. Jim came walking up about five minutes later, wondering why we might be concerned. Such a trusting soul. We asked if he wanted to visit Peak 2,359ft, but he still had no interest in hiking today. Eric wanted to take a break after four peaks, but didn't want me to leave him with my brother, a sentiment I could understand. So he left with me in the jeep, driving to back out to the highway and then south to approach the peak from that direction. The peak is the southernmost one in the range with a little over 400ft of prominence, fairly easy to reach from the highway which we parked near. I left Eric at the jeep with a camp chair and his book while I headed north to the peak. I crossed a number of low, rounded ridges in the hilly area south of the peak, eventually climbing the peak from the southeast up a standard desert class 2 slope. I spent about 40min making my way to the summit where I left a register because, well, because I'm not really sure why, but I had some in my pack and this seemed a pretty unloved peak that could use some. Another 40min saw me back to the jeep by 3p where I found Eric wandering around on foot, stretching his legs.

Peak 1,980ft

I asked Eric if he was interested in an easy one at the end of the day, to which he wisely asked, "How easy?" Less than a quarter mile from the highway, I explained. Eric was game. Peak 1,980ft is located just east of Lobecks Pass and US95. As we drove north to the pass, I could see a rounded class 2-3 highpoint off to the right. I checked the GPSr to confirm, parked and we started up. It was a bit more work than expected thanks to some rather loose talus slopes and more elevation gain than I had guessed. Still, it wasn't too bad and we were on top in about 20min. As we sat there reveling in yet another success, Eric pulled out his phone to register the win on the peakbagger app. He had some trouble though, unable to find the red dot to signify the peak we'd just reached. I told him he was probably just sitting over the red dot and needed to zoom in further. He did so, but could still not find the red dot. What? I checked the GPSr to confirm a sinking feeling I was getting. I then looked to the south, tapped Eric on the shoulder while pointing, "Oh, the summit's over there!" The summit had only been a quarter mile from our starting point, but was still 0.2mi away. Seems we'd climbed the wrong point. I was embarassed by my complete failure to navigate but could only laugh. With a little extra coaxing, I got Eric to join me for the climb between the two, connected by a ridge through a saddle with a drop of about 200ft. Happily, it was all easy class 2 and would take us only 15min to get between them. It was 4p when we reached the correct summit, took a few photos and then started down the southwest side, to make a small loop of it. The descent was a little tricky but we managed it without mishap and were back to the jeep with a bit of sunlight remaining. All's well that ends well. Jim had already driven to Needles, so after retrieving Eric's car we met up with Jim in town for dinner for the second night. Next up - back to Arizona...


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