Peak 4,373ft
Peak 5,032ft
Peak 6,043ft P300

Fri, Mar 25, 2022

With: Patrick O'Neill

Story Photos / Slideshow GPX Profile


Having camped quietly at Granite Pass for the night, we were up early to drive north on Kelbaker Rd, then east on a utility road going over the Providence Mtns at Forshay Pass. Neither of us had been to the pass before, so there was a bit of the unknown in going over it - was the road open, and could we drive over it? It was, and we could, with both the Wranger and Grand Cherokee.

Peak 4,373ft

On our way up the utility road, we stopped short of the pass for a warmup hike to this soft-ranked summit. Peak 4,373ft lies above the Vulcan Mine on its south side. As we started up the East Ridge, we could see a party camped below at the defunct mine. We watched them drive off in a couple of ATVs to explore the various spur roads around the mine. It took just over 20min to find our way to the summit where we left a register in the absence of finding one. The nice view to Foshay Pass was unfortunately washed out by the early morning sun in that direction. There is was a good view looking west to the Devils Playground (Kelso Dunes) and southwest to the Granite Mtns.

Peak 5,032ft - Peak 6,043ft

Upon returning the vehicles, we continued up to Foshay Pass where we left my Jeep before continuing together in Patrick's for a few miles down the other side of the pass. There are two utility roads running roughly parallel off the east side of the pass. The better one is the gasline road, though the transmission line road is slightly closer to the peaks. We drove down the better road before backtracking up the other to park under one of the transmission towers near the entrance to the drainage we intended to start up. This would allow us to do these two peaks in turn, finishing back at Foshay Pass, roughly covering three sides of a square in a clockwise fashion. The Providence Mtns have a reputation for some of the densest, nastiest cacti to be found in all the Mojave. We were happy to find that this did not include this section of the southern portion of the range that we would travel today. There was, in fact, only modest amounts of the stuff and the terrain was pretty tame - nothing like the Granite Mtns we traveled the previous day.

To start, we followed a dry wash south for about a mile before climbing out of the drainage. I pointed ahead to Patrick, telling him we'd aim for the saddle to the left of our peak. The peak itself looked like difficult scrambling from our vantage point, but it would be no more than class 2 from the saddle via slopes hidden to us. I reached the saddle first and continued up to the summit only five minutes further. Patrick arrived at the saddle a few minutes behind, stopping for a rest and to take a few photos. I was at the top watching him, thinking he'd seen me continuing to the summit, when I noticed him starting towards the lower NE summit. I called down, catching him by surprise, and got him redirected in the proper direction. While it would have been funny to see the look on his face had he gone to the NE summit, I don't think he would have been very happy about it. I vehemently denied I'd given him wrong instructions - I think something was simply lost in the communication.

The imposing rock face of Peak 5,032ft was on the north side only. The east, south and west sides were somewhat steep, but class 2. Not finding a register, we left one before heading down the west side to follow the ridgeline connecting Peak 5,032ft to the higher Peak 6,043ft, about 1.4mi in that direction. We had to drop a bit under 300ft before climbing almost 1,300ft to the higher summit, an effort that would take us an hour and three quarters. The terrain was quite decent and enjoyable, with a few breaks to catch our breath. Arriving at the summit around 12:15p, we found a register left by Adam Walker in 2018. To the southwest rises the P2K Providence BM, another 600ft higher, about 1.5mi distance. We joked a bit about Patrick continuing on to do that one while I went down to the Jeep where the beers were chilling in the cooler. It was a bit warm today and neither of us were in any mood for a more serious outing, so it got no serious consideration.

We turned our attention to the north and the descent back down to Foshay Pass. It would take us about an hour to make the 1,700-foot descent over the course of a mile and a half. We were done around 1:40p, ready to call it a day though there was more than five hours of daylight remaining. More than an hour of this would be taken up in driving to the Bonanza King Mine about 5mi to the northeast (the driving was hardly direct and would involve about 13mi on various roads, some good, some poor). On the final leg of the particularly rough road leading to the old mine, the Grand Cherokee suffered a puncture, two in fact, on the left rear tire. We spent some time repairing it, happy to find that it was holding air. I was expecting Patrick to call an end to the trip since these sort of mishaps tend to get in his head and keep him from enjoying himself, but after checking the tire pressure a dozen times over the next few hours, he decided to let it sit overnight and see how it held. We moved our vehicles to the end of the road where there is a covered structure that would allow us to get out of the warm sun. We spent the night there in comfort with plans for more hiking in the Providence Mtns the next morning...


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