Peak 3,822ft P500
Peak 3,494ft P300
Essex BM P300
Peak 3,694ft P300
Peak 4,488ft P300
Peak 5,462ft P300

Sat, Feb 26, 2022
Etymology
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2 3

Continued...

I was on my own again after three of us had a successful climb in the Old Woman Mtns. Robert and Scott had already headed for home well before I was up in the morning. Camped near the dilapidated town of Essex, I had some unfinished business in the area that would occupy me for much of the morning. I had thought I might head home after completing the first four summits, but the day was turning out to be quite nice and I instead head to the Mojave NP for a few more peaks. I ended up hiking until almost 4p, a pretty full day.

Peak 3,822ft - Peak 3,494ft

These two peaks lie in the nether region between three ranges - the Piutes, Little Piutes, and Old Woman Mtns. The first looks like an actual mountain, while Peak 3,494ft is more the highpoint of low, rolling hills. Both have more than 300ft of prominence and Peak 3,822ft exceeds 600ft. I parked off a pipeline road north of Peak 3,822ft and followed a wash system southeast and south to the base of the mountain. Moderate slopes lead up to the NE Ridge which makes for a pleasant stroll to the summit, taking about 50min. There is a large cairn at the top, but I found no register tucked inside (there might still be one, but I didn't want to tear it apart to find it), so left one. I then proceeded to Peak 3,494ft to the northeast, back along the full length of the NE Ridge, across the wash, then up to Peak 3,494ft in about 50min. This one had no cairn nor register. Views from both summits are nice, but not outstanding. I was back to the Jeep shortly after 9a, about two and a third hours for the outing.

Essex BM - Peak 3,694ft

These are the westernmost summits in the Piute Mtns, a pair I ran out of time for two days earlier when I was visiting summits in the range. A BLM road heading north connects the pipeline road with the access road to the Lazy Daisy Ranch, nestled at the base of the range to the east of these peaks. There is still some cattle grazing going on in the area - I had seen a small herd in the wash system on the way to the first two peaks. Shortly after starting up to Essex BM, I came across a cattle skull. I found another on my way back later. Not clear what might have done them in, as the desert can be harsh in a variety of ways. More interestingly, I came across a small snake sunning itself on the way up to Essex BM. It was the only snake I would see in my 18 days in the desert on this trip. I spent 30min to reach the summit, finding a benchmark and a set of nested red cans courtesy of Adrian, Carey and Hanna, the San Diego trio in 2004. Barbara Lilley had visited in 2011, one of the rare times she signed into someone else's register. There were a few other entries, though I didn't recognize the names. I turned northeast to head to Peak 3,694ft about a mile away. I could have followed the undulating connecting ridgeline, but it was faster to use the more direct route which took me down to a wash before climbing onto one of the peak's SW Ribs. It took about 45min between summits, all class 2. I found no register and had neglected to grab a few more earlier, so ,P26>this summit will remain without for now. To the east one can see the layout of the Lazy Daisy Ranch, mostly a collection of old vehicles, trailers and a corral. When I got back to the Jeep around 11:15a, it occurred to me that I had neglected to retrieve my cooler in the morning. I leave it outside during the night to give me more room inside the Jeep, but drove off this morning without realizing it. I drove back out to Essex and the campsite I'd used, finding the cooler right where I'd left it, the drinks inside still swimming in icewater.

Peak 4,488ft

I drove north to Interstate 40 and headed west towards home, not really sure what I wanted to do next. When I spotted the Providence Mtns on the right, I recalled there were a couple of peaks off Kelbaker Rd I could do without too much trouble in the afternoon. Peak 4,488ft was the first of these and rather easy. It's just south of the Providence Mtns in the Horse Hills, but they share some of the same characteristics with the Providence Mtns. I parked at a microwave relay tower off Granite Pass, a short distance west of the peak. It took less than 20min to reach the summit with a cairn and two register pads, one from John Kirk (of LoJ) in 2017 and the other by Mark Adrian in 2020. I was a bit careless in forgetting I was in the Providence Mtns now, home to some of the nastiest cacti in all the Mojave. After feeling a needle through the bottom of my boot, I had to stop to remove several hitchhikers and then be more careful on the return.

Peak 5,462ft

This last summit was the hardest of the day, surprisingly so. It is the southernmost peak in the Providence Mtns and would involve more than 1,400ft of gain, a fact I glossed over when I started out. I used the same trailhead at Arroweed Spring that one would use for Providence BM (which I'd done a decade earlier). I don't recall noticing the spring on that first visit, but my route today happened to go right through the spring, really just a brushy collection of vegetation with a bit of water seen here and there at the surface. Use trails go through and around the spring, evidence that it is a semi-popular place to visit off the beaten path. Though the distance was only about a mile each way, it would take over an hour to reach the summit. The lower 2/3 were pretty decent, made easier by following sheep trails where I could, but there was a lot of rock, brush and cacti, more than I'd seen in the past few weeks. The upper third became an increasingly challenging boulder scramble, with large granite blocks piled upon each other. It probably would have been more fun earlier in the day when I was less tired, and the extra vigilence needed to watch for the cacti took more of me. After a few false summits of yet more boulderiness, I landed atop the highpoint around 2:45p. A Smatko film cannister was lying there with a small rock leaned against it - not a very good way to secure a register. I knew that Smatko had been here in 1973, and this was the original register. There were half a dozen other entries, all since 2016. The only name I recognized was Eric Su's from his Providence Traverse in 2017 - that seems like it would require a glutton for punishment. On the return I took a different route off the summit, what seemed like an easier line but still much close involvement with large boulders. Eventually I reconnected with my ascent route to take advantage of the sheep trails, returning to the Jeep by 3:45p. It had still taken almost an hour for the descent.

I took a shower at the TH and dressed in some fresh clothes before heading off. I would spend the next hour+ driving to Barstow for some fine dining options and gas before continuing west to the Tehachapi Mtns where I planned to hike the next day. This long road trip was drawing to a close...

Continued...


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