Day 3 of a 5 day road trip had Karl joining me for the desert fun. Today's
summits were all clustered in the lower hills east of the Cronise Mtns, just
north of Interstate 15, somewhere between Barstow and Baker. Karl had arrived
the night before, using an excellent BLM road from the Afton exit that any
vehicle could manage. We were camped at a dry lake a few miles from the freeway,
far enough that the road noise was just a low background hum. In the morning
we took the Jeep for a drive about about a mile and a half up the spur road
for the first trio of summits.
Peak 2,557ft - Peak 2,284ft - Peak 2,657ft
The spur road we drove ends at an old mine at the base of Peak 2,284ft on its
southwest side. We parked short of this, directly south of Peak 2,284ft's
summit. We first paid a visit to Peak 2,557ft with more than 600ft of
prominence. The we ascended was an easy grade, leading to a
that curved around to the north where the highpoint is
located. We in about 25min, finding a Mark Adrian
from 2019. Seems he's been going after desert peaks with more
than 500ft of prominence over the past few years. We continued
and dropped off the NE side towards the small valley with
This allowed us to make a loop of our hike, ascending Peak 2,284ft via
and descending the SW Ridge.
It had another from Mark on the same day. In all we spent
about an hour and a half on the loop, by 8:45a. We could have
added Peak 2,657ft to the same loop, but instead we drove a short distance back
along the spur road to get us a little closer. It was less than a mile to the
summit from our to the west, half of this across the
to reach the base of the mountain. We went up a ridgeline to the
lower Pt. 2,576ft found to the south, then walked the
north to the summit about a quarter mile away. had almost
800ft of prominence and marking the highpoint. Mark
Adrian had come back a month later to do this third peak, climbing it at the end
of August - I could only imagine how hot it must be at that time of year. From
the summit, we continued north a short distance to descend
, giving us a nice loop around this minor peak. We were
back to the Jeep by 10:30a.
After returning to camp to pick up Karl's Element, we drove back out towards
I-15 and the Afton exit. We left the Element there and continued in the Jeep on
a powerline road heading northeast, following close to the freeway for about
three miles. Our next stop was Peak 1,940ft, a short hike of about a quarter
mile. There is an old mine on the southeast side with a spur road forking off
the powerline road to get one even closer.
us up the moderate southeast slope to reach in less than ten
minutes. The summit has a fine view of Cave Mtn across the highway to
. We left before
the same way.
Another road forks off from the mine going over a small rise and then north into
a hidden valley heading north. This allows convenient access to the next three
summits. The road sees very little traffic and eventually just becomes a drive
in a gravelly wash. We drove to
of Peak 1,540ft, the furthest away,
about 2mi north of the previous peak. It was another ten minute climb to
nothing particularly hard or memorable. We an easier line,
making a small loop of it before returning to the Jeep.
This peak lies to the east of the small valley we'd driven up. The road gets
within about a mile of it, but we somehow managed to cut that down by
half with some creative driving. From our at a low
saddle, we had to drop into the next wash system to the east before climbing
on the other side. There is a good view of the peak as we
descended from our starting point. It seemed far (perhaps only because the
previous two were so short), but took only 15min to reach .
The much higher Soda Mtns rise in a line to the east across dry Cronise Lake.
The Cronise Mtns and Cave Mtn can be seen to .
This peak lies about a mile south of Peak 1,621ft, also on the east side of the
road. A spur road goes up to an old mine on the northeast side of the peak.
Sandy , the route eventually becomes the more familiar volcanic
rock, following south. LoJ has the highpoint at the spot
elevation 1,839ft to the east, but (by about 5ft) is
to the west. We left on this summit before
the same way.
Peak 1,880ft - Peak 2,300ft
We returned to the powerline road and drove another mile or so east to the
edge of the Cronise Mtns where these last two summits are located. We did them
in a five mile loop, the longest of the day, starting at 2p and taking about
two hours. The lower summit stands off from the rest of the Cronise Mtns, a
from the south where on the powerline
road. Tucked under the summit rocks, we found of a Smatko
register in a pink pill bottle.
Unfortunately, the plastic lid had disintegrated and the paper contents tattered
and unreadable. After a short break, we to the northeast into
separating the peak from the main crest of the Cronise Mtns. We
weren't exactly sure which of several options was the second summit we were
after, Peak 2,300ft, but with the help of the GPSr we narrowed it down after
and starting . We
eventually gained , going over the lower Pt. 2,271ft
before reaching . Cave Mtn looms large to
, while the Cronise Mtn highpoint is tantalizingly close to
, only 80ft higher. I had been to it in 2012 with Evan
we were chasing down range highpoints. I knew Karl was very interested, and
offered to drive the Jeep around to the south side to give him an easier way
back if he wanted to give it a go. There were three things conspiring against
him - he was tired, it was getting late in the afternoon, and there was a drop
of 640ft between the two summits that would have to be negotiated. This latter
was significant, and in the end was the deciding factor in Karl declining.
Instead, we together off as the
quickest route to the Jeep. We would just
before 4p with about 45min of daylight remaining.
We drove back to Afton where we showered, then drove into Barstow for dinner
and a few supplies. Afterwards we drove to the Harvard exit on I-15 and found
a camp spot on a utility road south of Harvard Hill, our first stop the next