Peak 2,437ft P300
Peak 3,540ft
Chimney Rock
Peak 3,396ft P300
Peak 3,060ft
Peak 3,056ft P300
Peak 2,822ft
Clews Ridge
Peak 2,675ft P500

Tue, Jan 5, 2021
Etymology
Chimney Rock
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 5 GPX

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My second day in the Barstow area of San Bernardino County saw me visiting a number of peaks east of Barstow and north of Interstate 15. I had been to all of these areas to climb the highest points - Calico Peak, Alvord Mtn and Dunn BM, so this was a return to tag the lower summits in the same hills. All of the climbing was class 2, though some of it was a bit on the spicey side.

Peak 2,437ft

This is a standalone peak on the west side of the road to Ft. Irwin, a few miles north of Interstate 15. I'd camped the night on the south side of the mountain at its base. There has been significant quarrying of the rocks on the southeast and northeast sides, but none recently. Though less than 1/5mi one-way, the climb is quite steep initially, easing once the SE Ridge is reached. I climbed it shortly after sunrise, leaving me a neat photo of the mountain's shadow looking west when I reached the summit. There is also a good view of the more impressive Lead Mtn to the southwest.

Peak 2,540ft

This peak is another 4-5mi to the north near Pickhandle Pass, on the east side of the Ft. Irwin highway. I'd done most of the peaks in the Calico Mountains, but left this soft-ranked one. It was a short hike from the highway, seemingly obvious. So obvious that I climbed the wrong point, a slightly lower summit to the northeast. That's what I get for not looking at the GPSr. It was only another five minutes to the correct highpoint, so no big deal. A pretty easy peak.

Chimney Rock

This is an interesting feature, though not really a summit. It's located on the south side of the Calico Mtns, a few miles east of the Calico ghost town. I found some OVH roads that got me within a mile of the feature from the south. Chimney Rock might better be called Rock Chimney - it's a vertical cleft, some 50ft high in an area of badlands at the base of the range. The hike to reach it is easy, following a broad wash. It looks pretty cool from below, but the rock is terribly rotten and impossible to climb without bolts at least a foot long. Getting above the feature is a little dicey with questionable footing, but a fun challenge.

Peak 3,396ft

The next four peaks are all found east of Alvord Mtn (which is really its own small range and perhaps better named the Alvord Mtns). I exited I-15 an Manix, then used a series of BLM roads that reach deep into Spanish Canyon where the four peaks are located. I tackled the furthest one first, just outside the Ft. Irwin base. It can be seen from the mouth of the canyon as a white ridgeline far to the north. The BLM roads I used got within about a mile of the summit, but it seems there is another road I missed that can cut about half a mile off the distance. The spur road I was following ended somewhat abruptly when the side canyon narrowed to block vehicles. I climbed up the through the narrow gully to the north, going over a ridge to another drainage (where I found the alternative road), then up to the summit. LoJ had the spot elevation of 3,381ft as the highpoint, but the true highpoint was another quarter mile to the north and about 15ft higher. I left a register here before returning by much the same route.

Peak 3,060ft - Peak 3,056ft

After returning to the Jeep, I retraced about a mile of the sandy wash back down to the south, stopping for these two summits found east of the canyon. They are easy to do in about an hour in a nice loop. I believe the elevation for Peak 3,060ft is too high - the other peak looks clearly higher from both summits. Less than two miles for the loop. Barbara and Gordon had been to Peak 3,056ft in 1982, but I was unable to find a register I'm sure they would have left. I left one of my own and added their names to it.

Peak 2,822ft

Another mile south is this standalone summit with no easy way to the top. The peak is basically dried mud covered to various depths with loose rock and gravel, steep on all sides. I climbed up the SE Ridge and found it a bit treacherous and didn't want to have to descend the same way. I found a slightly better way down by circling around in a clockwise fashion along the summit ridge to another descent line. This one had more rock covering the route - much of it came down with me as I descended, but not treacherously so.

Clews Ridge

This named feature is found a few miles east of the previous summit. It has less than 150ft of prominence and doesn't stand out much. I returned to the powerline road and drove that northeast for about 3mi. I turned left into a sandy wash and drove another mile to get within about half a mile of the summit. More badland-style gully mazes lead one to the base of the ridge and a short climb to the highpoint.

Peak 2,675ft

This last summit is found about 5mi east of Clews Ridge, but required about 8mi of driving on the powerline road and a BLM road that forks south. I parked about a mile northeast of the summit where the road jogs to the southeast. The hike goes over lots of volcanic rock that cover the slopes, though not so much as to be burdensome. Much of the hike was in the shade as the sun began to set behind it. The climb was fairly tame, leading to the only summit on the day that had a register, from Mark Adrian in 2018. No other signatures. After returning to the Jeep, I drove another few miles to a dry lakebed where I would spent the night. Karl was driving out to join me for the next few days, scheduled to arrive sometime around bedtime...

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