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.
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...