Dec 5, 2023
We were camped on the southwest side of the Chemehuevi Mtns where we would start hiking the next day. My companions were headed to the range HP, a DPS summit I had done 15yrs earlier. I would join them for the first part of the hike before veering off to do another summit, Peak 2,992ft, SSE of the HP. We started out shortly after 7a, hiking northeast through a vast stretch of washes and low rises, peppered with an abundance of cholla. There was so much time spent watching each footfall for the needled pods dropped from the cholla, that I didn't notice I had lost visuals with my companions as I started veering more eastward after the first half hour or so. I spent the first hour working my way across the wash system, the range HP always visible to the north, but Peak 2,992ft not at all discernable in the collection of summits and ridges to the east. I began climbing out of the wash and onto a ridgeline which my GPSr told me would lead to the summit. It would, but not with out some difficulties I bypassed to the left, and it would be another half hour before I finally got a view of the summit. It would be another half hour further before I reached what LoJ indicates is the summit at the spot elevation of 2,992ft. There is a moderate cairn found there and a swell view of Chemehuevi Peak. If my companions had gotten to its upper reaches I saw no sign of them, but probably wouldn't have been able to see them standing on the summit since its about a mile and a half away. To the southeast I noticed there was another point that looked higher than where I stood. I took an elevation reading before heading off to it, taking about 15min between the two and finding the SE point 5-6ft higher. This seemed like the better place to leave a register. I got a call from one of my adult children while at the summit and spent a quarter hour talking with them over some issue they were having. I'm still not sure if being so easily connected these days is a good or bad thing.
For the return, I found a more direct route by dropping directly down the steep gully to the southwest which would work nicely to return me to the wash system without any dryfalls to work around, all class 2 on mostly broken, somewhat tedious rock. It would take me an hour and a half for the return, getting me back after 11a, four hours after I had started out. I had no plans for the rest of the day other than the fuzzy idea to "do something else" while the others were still doing Chemehuevi Peak. In the end I decided to take the rest of the day off and drove to Needles where I got gas, supplies, and then WiFi at the McDonalds in town. It was a bit of a crazy experience spending 2-3hrs there. Aside from the odd locals that pop in trying to get free food or a job, the young manager there was incessantly yelling at her fellow employees, every ten minutes or so. I couldn't make out everything she said in her tirades, but it was mostly stuff that could have been more effectively communicated in a few calm sentences. She apparently never learned to use her indoor voice as a child. She noticed me watching her yell from the cash register at one point, then said to me more calmly, "I guess that was a bit loud." Her screaming did not diminish even when she noticed the customers getting uncomfortable. It was a crazy experience overall, but the WiFi worked nicely, so there's that.
When the others caught up with me in Needles, we headed to the Indian restaurant in town that we all thought was surprisingly good (Flavor of India, for those interested). Afterwards we headed to Arizona to spend the night at Desert Tromp Base Camp (depicted on Google Maps south of I-40, off Exit 2), near where we planned to climb the next day. There were others camped in this large dry camp area, but there was plenty of room to not disturb one another, and it was sufficiently far from the Interstate to be a reasonably quiet place to sleep. We had one last roaring campfire with Eric before he was scheduled to leave in the morning, and we collected enough wood to make it a good one...
This page last updated: Sat Dec 23 10:30:48 2023
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