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I was camped on the western edge of Mesquite Valley, close to the CA/NV border, in the northeast corner of San Bernardino County. Today's summits were a collection of peaks around the valley, in both California and Nevada. Only the first summit had been on the planned agenda, but as I was ahead of schedule, I came up with some others to fill the rest of the day. Later in the afternoon I drove to Las Vegas to join my wife, who had just flown in for a girl's volleyball tournament this weekend.
From where I parked, I headed northwest, more or less directly towards the summit. The first mile and a half was a slow ascent across the desert flats, an enjoyable effort with only minor wash crossings. As I neared the base of the peak, I worked my way up towards a gully that ascends to the SE Ridge via a route mostly hidden from view on my approach. The gully turned out to have some fun scrambling on good limestone. Various small dryfalls added to the challenge, though nothing more than easy class 3. At the top of the gully is a short vertical section with chockstones that formed the crux - stiff class 3 and a bit airy, but the holds were all good. Past the crux, I moved out onto the class 2 South Slopes that I could follow all the way to the summit. The gully had gotten me only about 1/3 of the ascent elevation, and I was surprised just how much more I still had to go. A full hour and a half were consumed in getting me the 2.6mi to the summit. A high wind advisory for Inyo County was proving accurate, with 30mph winds blowing over the summit. I grabbed the register jar and ducked over on the leeside of the summit to get out of the brunt of it. I had expected the MacLeod/Lilley register, but did not know at the time that Craig had paid a recent visit - quite a gap before his arrival. The summit has some outstanding views of the vast Mesquite Valley to the north, east and southeast. Rain was falling on the Kingston Range to the west and I hoped it would not reach me before I got back.
After a short summit stay, I headed off SW Ridge to follow the connecting ridgeline to Peak 4,353ft, about 0.9mi away. Barbara Lilley had recorded an ascent on that one as well, so I figured I might find another register from 1984. The ridgeline was a pleasant hike, all class 2, and very enjoyable with sheep trails on many sections to make this a breeze. I spent about 40min getting between the two summits. Sadly, I found no register, so left one I carried with me. My return would be nearly 3mi, the longest leg of this loop. I descended the SE Ridge back down to the flats, then made a beeline for the Jeep. I could see the Jeep from a mile and a half away, which made the navigation pretty easy - no need to use the GPS for this one. A very nice loop, I thought.
This page last updated: Sat Mar 18 09:57:33 2023
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