Peak 2,503ft
Peak 2,565ft P300
Peak 2,732ft P300
Peak 2,811ft P500
Peak 2,477ft
Peak 1,784ft

Dec 15, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile


Coxcomb Mountains

On my own today, I headed east on SR62 several miles from where I'd camped the previous night. I was interested in a collection of five summits on the northwest side of the Coxcomb Mountains. They are smaller than, and detached from the main bulk of the range, but they are composed of the same granite jumble for which the Coxcombs are known. I spent almost 8hrs covering 11mi and more than 2,400ft of gain. I started and finished with almost 3mi crossing desert flats to reach the first peak and then the Jeep at the end. In between was a good deal of scrambling on granite rocks of varying sizes and stages of decomposing. I got a nice tour through the granite wonderland, and along the northern edge of the Pinto Basin with views deep into Joshua Tree NP. The more complex main bulk of the Coxcomb Range rose dramatically to the southeast. I found no registers on any of the five summits, leaving one of mine on each one in turn as I visited them in order from west to east. Almost all of the day's travel was class 1 or 2, with some class 3 moves here and there that could probably have been avoided. I was pretty tired by the time I reached the last peak, happy to be done with most of the elevation gain. The descent off this last summit took me through a small maze of rocky washes that eventually exited onto the flats which I could follow back to the Jeep to the northwest. It worked out to be a very fun day of low-risk scrambling in a quiet corner of Joshua Tree NP.

Peak 1,784ft

This summit is part of the Calumet Mountains, one of a collection of small, isolated peaks at the southern end of the range, just north of SR62. I had done a number of these a few years earlier, but this soft-ranked one had been neglected. I had some remaining daylight and energy for the 2mi roundtrip effort starting from SR62. I went across flats and then a wash that skirts around the west and north sides of Pt. 525m, between SR62 and Peak 1,784ft. I left the wash to cross a few minor side drainages, then ascended the peak up a steep, somewhat loose slope from the southwest. I spent half an hour on the ascent, finding no register at the summit. Later, I learned that Barbara Lilley had climbed it in 2011 (around 80yrs of age!) and wished I had looked more carefully, as she usually leaves a register on summits she visits. On the descent, I took an alternate route along the West Ridge and then into a gully that was better than the ascent route I'd used. I was back to the Jeep by 4:15p, just as the sun had set behind low hills to the west - good timing, I thought. I would end up spending the night along the BLM road a few miles to the east that runs north along the eastern edge of the Sheep Hole Valley Wilderness. It was a nice, quiet spot to spend the night...


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