Today was the second day of a 30mi tour through the BLM's Kingston Wash
Route. I had spent the night undisturbed in Kingston Wash - I saw no one
else driving the route during my visit. I got a full day in to tag six
summits, three of them along the route, the last three along the roughly
paved Excelsior Mine Rd.
This was the summit immediately south of where I had camped for the night.
I was up before 6a, but not ready to head out until 6:45a. It was plenty
light out at this time, the last week before daylight savings kicks in again.
It was around 37F, so I wasn't too excited about starting too early.
From Kingston Wash, I followed a side wash climbing to
the south for most of the ascent. It proved the better of the two routes
I used, a pretty tame, sandy wash that made for nice hiking and kept me
out of the early morning's cold breeze. It took about 50min to cover the nearly
2mi distance to the summit. Partly overcast skies would keep things
cool all day and mute the views some. Still, there are nice views looking around
the Kingston Wash area, including a pair of summits I climbed
the previous day to the west and the much higher Kingston Range to
the north with a light blanket of snow from earlier storms. On the
descent, I followed the North Ridge all the way back to
Kingston Wash, taking about an hour.
Peak 4,005ft - Peak 3,976ft
This were the highlight of the day, a pair of remote P500s that I combined in a
six mile loop that occupied me for the better part of four hours. I visited the
higher Peak 4,005ft first, following a wash in from the northwest, then
up to the summit ridge, approaching from the north. I went over the
lower north summit before landing on the highpoint an hour and change
after starting out. I left registers on both of these summits. In order
to reach Peak 3,976ft, I dropped off the SE side of Peak 4,005ft. The
upper part is a complex maze of steep gullies, all of which seem to
work at class 2-3. Lower down, I dropped into a wash system
that I could follow northeast and north to the second summit, all class 2, and
most of it very pleasant hiking. I went up through a class 2 gully in
the upper reaches of the peak's south side, then on to the summit,
reaching it about an hour and twenty minutes after leaving the first summit.
For the 2.3mi return, I dropped NW into a gully that leads down nicely,
only one dry waterall - a large one - that was easily bypassed
to the side. The second half of the return was another pleasant hike
in a wash that took me back to the Jeep by 12:45p. Still lots
of time left in the afternoon.
I drove the remaining 5-6mi of the Kingston Wash Route out to Excelsior
Mine Rd, then did a collection of short hikes to summits on either side of this
somewhat-paved road. Peak 4,806ft was the highest, in the Kingston
Range proper, and even had a few bits of snow in the upper reaches. Adam Walker
had used the NE Ridge to access this summit, but that seemed to have a bit of
extra work over intermediate bumps. Instead, I went up a gully on the
south side of this ridge, through a pleasant Joshua Tree forest, then
up a steep subsidiary ridge to join the NE Ridge very
close to the summit. Just under an hour for the ascent, I had expected
to find one of Adam's registers, but found none and left none. I
returned via the same route since it worked so nicely.
This was the easiest summit of the day, less than 2/3mi each way. I parked
off a dirt road west of the paved road and went up the NE side of Peak
3,996ft in less than 20min. John Vitz had left a register here in 2016,
but for the life of me, I couldn't manage to get the lid off the glass
jar. If I'd had another register with me, I'd have probably broken it, but
instead left it unmolested before heading back the same way.
It was well after 4p when I started on this last summit, found on the
east side of Excelsior Mine Rd. The distance was about 0.8mi, taking 25min to
make my way to the summit. All easy class 2 until the last 30ft or so,
then some easy class 3 which probably could be avoided by going around one side
or the other. Vitz had left a register here in 2016 as well, this time
I was able to get the lid off and add an entry. It was just after 5p by the time
I finished up. I still had about 5mi of driving on
BLM roads to position myself for the next morning. It was a chilly shower
I took in the roadway near where I camped for the night. Nobody would
disturb my well-deserved sleep tonight...