Peak 4,370ft
Peak 4,327ft P300
Peak 3,789ft
Peak 3,736ft P300
Fenner Hills P300
Peak 3,113ft P300

Wed, Mar 30, 2022
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profile


Hackberry Mtns summits

I was camped on the south side of Hackberry Mtn in Mojave NP. In hindsight it appears I had driven a short distance into the Wilderness during the night, perhaps half a mile. The Wilderness sign I passed was obvious in daylight, and probably was at night, but I was too tired to notice it. I was here to do an eight mile loop covering four summits. I discovered during the hike that Andy Smatko had done this same foursome (possibly in the reverse direction) back in 1976. None of the other usual suspects had ventured into these hills since then.

I was up at 6a, having slept 10hrs and feeling like I could have slept more. I was slow to get up and breakfasted, not ready to start out until 6:40a. I followed the continuing road for a mile and three quarters to a defunct mine found on the lower SE slopes of Peak 4,370ft, my first stop. The road was in poor shape, but made for decent walking. I probably could have made a more direct ascent of the peak from the northeast, saving more than half a mile, but the walk along the road was pleasant enough that I didn't mind the detour. I ascended class 2 slopes above the tailings, lots of broken rock but decent footing, steep in the middle third of the ascent before rolling off. It took an hour to reach the summit. My GPSr showed that Smatko had visited it in Dec of 1976, but I found no sign of his signature registers at this or the other summits in the loop. I left one of my registers, adding Smatko's name as well.

From Peak 4,370ft, I turned south towards Peak 4,327ft about 0.8mi away, connected by a ridgeline dropping almost 300ft to a saddle. The descent off the summit was steep at first, but then becomes moderate for the rest of the route to Peak 4,327ft. There isn't much cacti on the whole route, but I did find a collection of various species at the saddle between the two summits, including a member of the yucca family in bloom. It took a little under an hour to get between the first two summits. I left a second register here.

The 3rd summit, Peak 3,789ft, lies about 1.2mi SE of Peak 4,327ft. After descending to a high saddle SE of Peak 4,327ft, I contoured around the point to the SE before making the rest of the descent, saving me a bit of elevation loss had I simply descended off the south side of Peak 4,327ft. At the low saddle between the two peaks, I crossed over a road going over the saddle east to west. Though part of the Wilderness, the road showed recent, light use. Someone had found a way to drive here from one side or the other. Much like the first two peaks, Peak 3,789ft is a rounded bump with some features to it, pretty much class 2 from any side. I reached its summit at the end of the third hour and left another register.

The fourth summit lay a little over a mile to the ENE. Peak 3,736ft was the most interesting summit of the bunch, looking to be crowned with a difficult cap of dark volcanic rock. It would turn out to be easier than expected upon closer inspection. After descending the northeast side of Peak 3,789ft, I dropped into a wash draining around an intermediate point and Peak 3,736ft. I followed the gravel wash in the drainage for a short distance around the north side of the intermediate point before starting up to Peak 3,736ft from the west. The rocky summit is broken on the west side by a vegetated slope that ramps up steeply on that side. I followed this up to a wide notch where I expected to find class 3-4 scrambling for the last 40ft. This turned out to be class 2-3 via a series of steps that lead to the summit on the south side of the notch. Another hour was consumed between the last two summits and a fourth register was left while I took a short break at the top.

I found the NE slope descending from the notch to be no more than class 2 as well, then dropping to the desert flats on the north side of Peak 3,736ft. From here it was less than 2mi across pretty easy terrain to get back to the Jeep. Enroute, I passed over another old road now consumed by the Wilderness. This one showed no recent use. It was 11:45a by the time I returned to the Jeep, the outing coming in at just over 5hrs.

Fenner Hills HP

I had hoped to do two other summits south of the first four, but it was getting too warm and I didn't feel like doing the five mile hike it would take to collect them. Instead, I drove further south to the Fenner Hills for a few short hikes that I could do with my remaining energy. The highpoint of the Fenner Hills is found less than 1/2mi north of a powerline road I drove heading west. I parked under a tower and headed up the rocky slope. Composed of decomposing granite boulders and rock, it made for a decent scramble, taking all of 25min. It was tiring, climbing 500ft up the south-facing slope with the bright sun reflecting off the light granite rock. At the summit I found a register left by Adrian/Carey/Hanna in 2004. Another party had visited in Sep, 2011. A month later, Barbara Lilley had visted and left a notebook. This was about the time that Gordon had stopped climbing peaks, but still driving to them with her.

Peak 3,113ft

This unnamed summit in the Fenner Hills is found south of the highpoint. A rough spur road off the good powerline road leads conveniently to within a quarter mile on the northwest side. Less than 15min was needed to climb to the summit. Also composed of granite, this summit has less scrambling than the highpoint, but still a nice climb. I left a last register here. I finished up back at the Jeep by 2:15p, deciding to call it a day. I still had almost 5hrs of daylight, but it was too warm and I was out of easy summits in the area. I drove out to Goffs, then into Nevada and the small town of Searchlight where I gassed up (the first time in a week) and had an early dinner at Denny's. With a few more supplies from one of the convenient stores, I headed into the Highland Range to spend the night. I had plans to climb here the next day and found a very nice spot at one of the passes to while away the evening...


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