Peak 2,772ft P300
Peak 1,459ft P300
Peak 1,755ft P500

Fri, Jan 14, 2022
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX

I was back in the Mojave for another 3-4 day roadtrip, fairly soon after my recent visit to the Old Woman Mtns. This time I was doing a collection of peaks between Baker and Tecopa. I had gotten an early start on the drive from San Jose so that I would have a couple of hours in the afternoon to tag a few summits. I've been to the Silurian Hills on several previous occasions. Today's summits are a trio of orphaned peaks on the west side of the range. I've always enjoyed my visits to the Silurian Hills because the summits are primarily composed of limestone, which usually makes for fun scrambling. Today was no exception. I didn't finish up until after sunset, but since it was not long after, I didn't need a headlamp.

Peak 2,772ft

This was the highest and longest of the three outings, so I tackled it first, about 3mi roundtrip with 1,300ft of gain. The peak is located in the main group of hills at the western edge. I used a BLM road off SR127 traveling east across dry Silurian Lake to reach the base of the peak in about 4.7mi. Most of the road requires just high-clearance, but the last half mile past a dilapidated cabin is a bit rougher, 4WD recommended. The road ends at the mouth of a wash where I traveled upstream on foot to start. The wash narrows sharply in the middle, but there are no dryfalls and the going never exceeds class 2. After about 3/4mi or half the distance, I started climbing out of the wash on the southwest slopes of the peak. The going is steep and appears to be a bunch of loose talus, but the limestone held the slope together well. There were plenty of rocky options to avoid the loosest stuff and keep things interesting. The highpoint is not visible until reaching a false summit. Here the gradient relents and the remaining short hike is an easy one. Smatko, MacLeod and Lilley had all visited this summit decades ago, but I was unable to find a register inside the modest cairn that adorned the summit. Views take in the Valjean Valley to the north and the brunt of the Silurian Hills to the east and south. I left one of my registers before heading back, using pretty much the same route with only modest variations.

Peak 1,459ft

These next two summits are both short outings. They lie to the west of the main Silurian summits, standing individually on either side of the BLM road I had driven in on. I backtracked a short distance, then parked on the northeast side of Peak 1,459ft, about as close as one can legally drive, less than a quarter mile. The ascent took about 15min, initially up a rocky gully, then up class 2-3 limestone slopes to the top. There was no register at this summit, either. To the west is the Silurian Valley with the Avawatz Mtns behind it, to the east the Silurian Hills. There is a fine view of Peak 1,755ft to the north. I returned via the same route.

Peak 1,755ft

This last summit has a large tailing (with a mine shaft above it) where I started on the the southeast side. With more than 500ft of prominence, this one was almost twice the effort of the last peak, but still much easier than the first. I was racing the setting sun as I scrambled up one limestone ridge and down another. This summit had a register from Gordon/Barbara dating to 1980 with a small handful of additional entries, the last in 2000. I caught the last of the sun to the east on the Silurian Hills, but it would gone well before I got back to the Jeep a bit after 5p. I would spend the next hour driving north on another BLM road that follows an old railroad grade. This lesser-used road was much rougher, with washouts and obstacles that would have me out of the Jeep to check what was in front of me on a number of occasions - probably best not to be driving this road in the dark. I eventually reached the location of an expected junction with another road heading east to the Valjean Hills. I couldn't see the road in the dark, so I decided to camp and wait for better light before proceeding further in the morning...

Continued...


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