Peak 3,728ft P300
Daggett Ridge P500
Minneola Ridge P500
Peak 4,591ft P300

Mon, Jan 4, 2021
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX Profiles: 1 2

The first roadtrip of the new year had me heading to the Mojave Desert. It had been almost a month since my last visit, an unusually long stretch, and it was actually my wife who suggested I take off now that the kids had gone back to school. The Bay Area was getting ready for a week of wet weather, so this did indeed seem like a good time to get out Dodge. I left Sunday evening around 7p, a few hours ahead of the first storm that was due. I had some rain once I was on Interstate 5, but it was all over once I turned east on SR58 to go over the Sierra. I ended up sleeping off SR58 east of Kramer Junction on BLM land, not getting to bed until well after midnight. I was up with the sun at 7a to start my day, making a pitstop at Starbucks at the Outlet stores along Interstate 15. Then on to the first summit. Today's summits were orphans left from previous trips, nothing spectacular on offer, but a very nice day wandering about the desert.

Peak 3,728ft

About 15mi southwest of Barstow along I-15, this summit lies west of the Interstate and a few miles north of Silver Mtn. A decent pipeline road (high-clearance recommended) passes within half a mile to the southeast of the summit. I drove up a steep spur road to get a little closer (4WD needed for that) and then made the easy hike to the summit from the south in all of twelve minutes. The peak and surrounding area are criss-crossed with motorcycle and OHV tracks, not very wilderness-y, this one. It looks to get a decent amount of motorized traffic, so I didn't bother to leave a register. Class 2 from any direction.

Daggett Ridge

I next drove through Barstow, forking onto I-40, then exiting at Daggett for Camp Rock Rd. This excellent dirt road runs through the Newberry and Ord Mtns all the way south to SR247, but I only drove a few miles to a utility road heading southwest, along a triplet of high-voltage transmission lines. This road is decent, but high-clearance is recommended. After about 7mi, I parked northwest of the summit where the road goes over Daggett Ridge, leaving me a little less than two miles each way to the summit. On my way to the highpoint, I skirted the ridge itself, sidehilling on the northeast side to avoid some extra elevation gain. I didn't find this particularly efficient and simply used the ridgeline for the return. With more than 600ft of prominence, there are some fine views to be had in all directions from the ridge's highpoint. Richard Carey had left a register in 2015, with Mark Adrian and Jeff Moffat signing it before me. Not quite used to the new year, I dated it "2020" instead of "2021". On my way back along the ridge, I spotted a raptor perched on a local highpoint well ahead of me. I managed to get a distance picture of it, but it took off before I could get much closer. I spent a little under 2hrs on the 3.4mi effort. There's a decent amount of cactus to watch out for on this hike. I had to stop three times to take a boot off to remove a needle that had pierced the sole.

Minneola Ridge - Peak 4,591ft

This was the more interesting hike of the day, a 6.5mi loop in the Newberry Mtns, picking up two summits in the western half of the range that I had neglected on several previous visits. Once back to Camp Rock Rd from Daggett Ridge, I drove a few more miles southeast on the good road, then west on a spur road that leads to the western edge of the Newberry Mtns Wilderness. I parked near the end of the road at a saddle before it starts to drop east. Minneola Ridge can be seen plainly from here. The Wilderness boundary is encountered shortly after starting down the continuing road on foot. The road dead-ends into the hillside a third of mile after I started out. I had to drop almost 500ft into a wash system before starting up to Minneola Ridge, but it made for easy walking. The climb up to Minneola Ridge from the northwest (and indeed, just about any direction) is fairly steep. The slopes are littered with more volcanic rock than the other summits I visited on the day, but not annoyingly so.

At the summit I found the partially standing remains of a wooden survey tower, the LAVA benchmark, and a register left by Mark Adrian in 2019. Jeff Moffat had visited exactly a year before my arrival. Very nice views looking east to the bulk of the Newberry Mtns and south to the range highpoint that I had climbed maybe a decade earlier. After a short break, I descended off the Southwest Ridge, steep with a short cliff section at the bottom, but still class 2. I then recrossed the upper part of the wash I'd crossed earlier, then ascended a side wash continuing southwest that would get me close to Peak 4,591ft. I went over an intermediate point and down to a saddle before the final, steep climb to Peak 4,591ft's summit from the east. Mark Adrian had left a register here on the same day, though Jeff seems to have skipped it. A few other paid it a visit in his stead, including a fellow only a week before my arrival.

My return to the Jeep was both interesting and very direct, first dropping into a wash draining northwest, then exiting it for a short climb to return to the high mesa I had parked on. The wash had some easy scrambling and beautiful lighting in the late afternoon sun. It was nearly 4p by the time I finished and time to call it a day. There was a stiff, chilling breeze blowing over the saddle where I parked, so I drove a short distance back towards Camp Rock Rd, stopping for a jug shower before the sun could set. It doesn't take long for the air to turn cold after sunset this time of year...


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