I'd spent the night camped along Copper City Rd, an excellent dirt road that
any vehicle can negotiate. When I awoke in the morning I found Karl parked
about 100yds away. Evidently he had arrived before I had the previous night,
but I had not seen his car in the dark. Karl had come out to join me for a long
weekend around the Barstow area. The first
two days were intended to be a tour around BLM lands sandwiched between
Barstow to the south and the China Lake/Ft. Irwin military reservations
to the north.
It turned out we were able to drive close to the base of every summit we
visited, on average taking less than an hour for each, including the
driving time between them. This allowed us to knock them all out in a single
day, and enjoy dinner at the Idle Spurs Steakhouse back in Barstow as reward.
An excellent deal.
Peak 3,951ft/Peak 3,833ft
Leaving Karl's Element along Copper City Rd where we'd slept, we carpooled in
the jeep for the morning shift, driving about 14mi out to the furthest peaks
to the west that we intended to climb.
This was the only hike that combined more than one summit, totally two and a
quarter miles. Both of these are located northeast of Opal Mountain (climbed
previously), which has the same elevation as Peak 3,951ft. We could have made
the hike to Peak 3,951ft shorter by driving to the saddle between it and Opal
Mtn, but that would have made the loop longer. Instead, we parked on the
southeast side of Peak 3,951ft and went the higher peak
first, a climb of some 700ft. After taking we
to Peak 3,833ft, 2/3mi to the northeast. The second summit
is composed of much which forms a strong contrast
with the fresh green sprouting up between all the rocks. Knowing that Barbara
Lilley had visited in 2006, we were a bit disappointed to find no register from
her. We of our own, penciling in her ascent before our own,
13yrs later. We were by 9:30a, taking a little over
an hour and half for the loop.
The next three peaks are closely-spaced in a line running south to north, a few
miles west of Copper City Rd. Peak 4,097 is a dark, volcanic mountain whose
summit is . This made finding any sort of highpoint
difficult and ultimately, a bit silly. Plenty of on this
one, and some bits almost .
This is of the three, with less than half the prominence
of the other two (though still more than 300ft). There were
blooming on of the peak as we
climbed it. An exceedingly short climb, taking less than 15min to reach
The northernmost of the three and the highest, Mesa BM sports more than 800ft
of prominence. We approached it from the east, with old roads allowing us to
drive of the summit. There was a lot of
someone who had regularly used this for camping and shooting before abandoning
it with some of his stuff still strewn about. With cliffs on most sides of this
flat-topped summit, we used
running up the SE side
through the cliff band. We found and a register left by
Barbara & Gordon . There were a few
as well, about one every couple years.
Wells BM/Peak 3,831ft
These two isolated summits are found on the east side of Copper City Rd, just
north of our campsite. We climbed the higher from
, of two ridges on the west side (I
went down the other ridge, finding them about equal). Like Mesa BM, there was
and a Lilley/MacLeod , this one dated a
day later in October of that same year. There was also an older
of paper that predated the register booklet, none of the
names from the usual suspects. Because the two summits were separated
by only a mile and half, Karl chose to hike between the two while I went back
to the jeep and drove it around to of Peak 3,831ft. I
beat Karl to its summit by about five minutes - he was the
north side when I looked over the top of the summit and spotted him. There are
two points of similar height on Peak 3,831ft, both of which I visited, but the
western one appears highest.
This peak lies about 4mi south of the previous one. We went back and picked up
Karl's vehicle before driving south on Copper City Rd. There are
in the area south of the peak and numerous roads through the area
suggesting it was planned to be a bigger development at one time. Only a few of
the homesteaders remain with others abandoned, burned or both. With very little
prominence, the climb up took all of 12 minutes.
Lane BM is located just west of where Copper City Rd goes over a low, shallow
saddle between the Mud Hills and the Calico Hills. Lane BM is the highpoint of
the Mud Hills, though it makes for a somewhat
unimpressive summit. It is located in an open-access OHV area and is a driveup
with a high-clearance vehicle. We found a busy at the summit,
the entries dominated by motorized visitors.
here was placed in 1985
by the Defence Mapping Agency. There is a telecom installation about half a mile
, likely maintained by the China Lake or Ft. Irwin folks.
The last two summits are isolated little bumps located further south, within
sight of paved Irwin Rd. The closer proximity to Barstow means more dumped
garbage and badly maintained homesteads. Dirt roads criss-cross throughout the
area and are popular with OHV enthusiasts - there were several wagon trains of
RVs circled up with motorcycles and ATVs collected in the center. There is a
pretty rough 4WD road that we drove up of Peak 3,380ft
to within a few hundred feet of the summit, making for .
Another , this one was memorable for
we came across
during the ascent up the southwest side. Quite skittish, these large lizards
usually dart out of sight immediately, leaving only fleeting glimpses.
long enough for us to snap a few pictures of it before zipping
under a rock. It appeared to be a juvenile, about 9-inches from head to tail.
On the south side of the summit there is
composed of painted white
rock. It looks like the rocks were arranged as a "B" at one time, probably
for Barstow. We finished up after 6p, making for a 10hr+ day. Of course it
wasn't all that hard of a day since we had plenty of time to rest on the
frequent drives between summits. Not a single classic desert summit in the
bunch, but still an enjoyable day...