Peak 4,091ft P300
Peak 3,641ft P500
Boise BM P300
Peak 3,792ft P300
Twentynine Palms Mountain 2x P1K DS

Sat, Apr 1, 2023

With: Tom Becht

Twentynine Palms Mountain
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2 3 4
Twentynine Palms Mountain previously climbed Tue, Dec 11, 2012


Tom had come out to the Joshua Tree area to join me for the weekend. We met up in 29 Palms around 7a and then carpooled in his Jeep for the rest of the day. We made a driving tour through the western part of the Pinto Mountains, utilizing BLM roads through Gold Park and Music Valley. We spent much of the first hour driving into Gold Park where our first hike was located. The temperature was on the cool side to start, but it would end up around 60F with a breeze, quite nice for hiking.

Peak 4,091ft

This peak is located about a mile and a half inside Joshua Tree NP, southeast of Gold Park. We parked off the BLM road that skirts the park boundary, then followed a wash south upstream, towards our peak lying at the head of the small valley. A 4WD road shown on the topo is no longer open to traffic, and there is almost no trace of it remaining. It's an easy hike in the mostly sandy wash, then a steep climb with decent footing up the east side of the peak. We reached the summit ridgeline north of the summit and followed it to the highpoint, taking about 40min. There are three points along the ridgeline curving to the east at the head of the valley, all with the same number of contours on the topo map. LoJ conveniently has the first point we reached as the highpoint, and our amateur eyeballing to the other points decided it was probably good. Or maybe we were just being lazy. Richard Carey will probably take his level up there and prove us wrong. We left a register and headed down the east side, dropping into the same wash we could follow north back to the Jeep. Just shy of two hours for the outing.

Peak 3,641ft - Boise BM

We spent the next 30min driving from Gold Park into Music Valley, along a road that roughly follows the park boundary. Where the road turns south, the valley narrows, eventually becoming a wash that drains into the park and Pinto Basin. The road becomes less and less traveled the further south one goes, the last part entering the park before ending where some stakes have been planted across the drainage to exclude vehicles. We were only about half a mile from where I'd hoped we could drive, so it would suffice. The two peaks are located on the east side of the drainage, some of the more remote summits in the Pinto Mountains Wilderness. No ascents have been recorded online. We hiked down the wide, sandy wash, a pleasant bit of hiking. After about 15min, we started climbing out of the drainage to our right, gaining an indistinct ridgeline that take us up to the summit of Peak 3,641ft. There is a lower summit to the west that we bypassed by traversing to the saddle between them, then up the final bit to the summit from the west. Some broken pieces of wood remained from the survey team that did the spot elevation, left among a small pile of rocks. We took in the views while taking a break and leaving a register, then headed off the South Ridge along the connecting ridgeline to Boise BM, about a mile t o the SSE. It was a pleasant traverse, taking us about an hour between them.

As expected, there is a benchmark atop Boise BM, with nice views looking south into Pinto Basin and the center of the park. Eagle Mtn, Monument Mtn and Pinto Mtn are all easy to identify. We left another register here before leaving the summit, working our way northwest and west back to the main drainage. There was some steep, loose crud to negotiate before dropping into the wash, but once there, it was an easy, pleasant walk for a mile and change back to the Jeep. There were lots of flowers in the drainage, unlike the slopes on either side which are relatively bare of much color. I almost stepped on a chuckwalla as well, camouflaged as it was with the surrounding rocks. This was the longest outing of the day, taking us more than three hours.

Peak 3,792ft

We drove back north into Music Valley, Tom deciding to rest his recovering knee while I did this peak on my own. Peak 3,792ft is located a little over a mile east of Music Valley in the Pinto Mtns Wilderness. Unlike the earlier peaks, this one has a great deal of granite rock jumbled about, making for a slower effort. There is narrow wash that helps make this a whole lot easier than it might otherwise be, but I had trouble locating it at the start, making for some wasted effort. Once located, it can be followed until within a quarter mile of the summit on its west side. A final steep climb of about 300ft leads to the summit where I found a couple of old, quart-sized glass bottles tied together by a thin wire. A green bottle had no label, but the clear one was an old Barq's root beer, probably at least 60yrs old. Cool find. I left them at the summit with a last register I carried with me. On the way back, it was much easier following the wash, though I still had a quarter mile at the end crossing some rolling terrain over some minor washes and rounded ridges. I was about an hour and a half on the outing.

Twentynine Palms Mountain

Twentynine Palms Mtn is the 2nd highest and 2nd most prominent summit in the Pinto Mountains, towering high above the north side of Music Valley. I had visited this summit in 2012 with Adam Jantz, most of the details forgotten as Tom and I were driving north through the valley. We marveled at the impressive road that climbs up out of Music Valley and I knew that Tom would probably enjoy driving it. I suggested I wouldn't mind tagging it a second time. There is a gate low on the road that Adam and I had been stopped at on that first visit, making for a much longer climb than Tom's knee was going to allow. So we were a bit dejected when we discovered the gate with a shiny new chain and lock. We'd found enough of these to know that you should at least check it out - often one finds the lock open or other ways to bypass the gate. My initial inspection did not bode well, the lock firmly closed. But on a second look, I noticed the chain was not connected to the metal post, merely slung around it to look secure. I gave Tom the thumbs up, removed the chain from the post and opened the gate for Tom to drive through. We were able to drive quite high, stopping at a saddle before the road goes downhill (the road services a small radio facility about a mile and a half north of our peak). The saddle is only 300ft below the height of 29 Palms Mtn, and maybe 2/3mi to the northwest. We didn't quite appreciate the intermediate summit in our way which would double the elevation gain to 600ft, but it was still much easier than hiking from the gate. It would take us an hour for the roundtrip effort, a fairly tame outing. The old register has disappeared, replaced by a newer one, only two weeks old, left by Mark Adrian. There were two other entries from visitors that had climbed earlier the same day as ourselves. It was 5:15p by the time we got back to the Jeep and time to call it a day. We would spend much of the next hour enjoying our beers and the drive back out to town where we dined at Edchada's. Decent enough food, but service a little slow on a busy Saturday night...


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