Peak 3,780ft P300
Peak 3,660ft P300
Peak 4,140ft P300
Peak 4,100ft P300
Peak 4,264ft P300

Wed, Jan 16, 2019
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

More rain was coming to the California Coast. Half way through the month, there hadn't been more than a few sunny days. Good for greening up the hills, not so good for my mental health. Luckily I was heading out to the desert on a 12-day roadtrip, just before the biggest storm of the season, so far. I managed to get to Barstow with only a few drops of rain while crossing Tehachapi Pass, but the wet weather was threatening to spill into the desert regions. I climbed a handful of unnamed peaks in the Calico Mtns near Ft. Irwin Rd, none of them very difficult. The rock here is all varnished volcanic rock with good footing except on the steepest faces. It had evidently rained here in the past few days, leaving the ground damp and the rocks less secure than they would be with drier conditions. All of the peaks were on BLM lands well outside the Ft. Irwin Military Reservation.

Peak 3,780ft / Peak 3,660ft

I started this 2.5mi loop from paved Ft. Irwin Rd, An easy 3/4mi stroll across desert flats to first climb Peak 3,780ft and then Peak 3,660ft. There are actually three unnamed, closely spaced summits with 3,780ft of elevation in the area - two of these I had climbed on a previous occasion, so this was taking care of some unfinished business. Both summits had small cairns, but neither sported a register. Heavy clouds hung over the area, but no rain fell. To the east, Calico Peak, the highest in the area, had its summit buried in the clouds.

Peak 4,140ft / Peak 4,100ft

As I was parking for the first two summits, I noticed a couple of utility trucks exiting a dirt road on the east side of Ft. Irwin Rd. I guessed this road might be the one that goes to the summit of Calico Peak and decided to go and explore along it, to see if I could reach some other unnamed summits in the area. There is a whole network of roads back here that don't show up on the topo maps or my GPSr, but are quite enjoyable to drive the jeep on. The easiest way to reach these two peaks is from the road that runs across the saddle between them, but I didn't figure this out until I was on the hike. I had parked about 1/3mi to the west of Peak 4,140ft, climbing that one and then noticing the second peak only 2/3mi to the northeast. I managed to do both of them in a 2mi loop, taking advantage of the road on the way back. Peak 4,140ft had the broken remains of a plastic film cannister, likely one of Andy Smatko's registers. These don't hold up as well as his more rugged metal film cannisters, unfortunately. There were no remains of paper or pencil, likely absconded for the nest of a nearby mouse.

Peak 4,264ft

I had spied this one from atop Peak 4,100ft, about 1.25mi further east. I didn't have enough daylight to include it in the same hike, but after returning to the jeep I decided to see how close I could get. "Very" was the definitive, answer, less than 1/3mi away. Even though it was after 4:30p, I had plenty of light to get to the summit and back without needing a headlamp, despite the heavy skies. This summit, too, had bits of a plastic film cannister. It would be pretty dark before I managed to drive back out to the highway, however, but that mattered little - the roads were in good enough shape that obstacles weren't a serious problem.

Continued...


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