I was able to get the Jeep's swaybar bracket re-welded the day after I got
back from the last roadtrip. My wife was heading to Spokane, WA for a
volleyball tournament, so I headed to Joshua Tree for an extended weekend.
It's about 7.5hrs of driving from San Jose, and with an early start, I
was able to get to Indian Cove shortly after 2p. I wanted to get an
unnamed summit to the east and then with the remaining time, visit some of
the other crags at Indian Cove that I had missed on my visit a few months
The peak lies due east from the Indian Cove Picnic Area where I parked.
Most folks out for a hike from here head up Rattlesnake Canyon to the
south. I will have to come back for that fun little adventure another
time. Peak 4,500ft lies outside the boundary of the Wonderland of Rocks, but
it still has a significant amount of granite rocks peppering the slopes.
There's some brush as well, so the two combined make for a modest pace. I
went over an intervening ridgeline at a high saddle, then descended into
the drainage on the other side about 100ft below. I followed
the first wash only a short distance north before traversing out and
around a ridge to get to a second wash heading southeast. The better
route would follow this second wash until southwest of the summit (which I did
on the return), but instead I climbed out onto an indistinct ridge with
much class 2 boulder scrambling before reaching the summit ridge north
of the highpoint. In all, I spent more than an hour and a half to go
only 1.7mi. There are views overlooking Indian Cove to the west, 29
Palms to the north, and higher ridgelines to the south. I had
intended to leave a register here, but forgot to toss one in my pack. Rats. I
did a much better job on the return, following a straighter line and
finding it easier going, too. In all, I spent 3hrs on the outing, not
returning until 5:20p.
This is the westernmost pinnacle in Indian Cove, found on LoJ. I spent
about 25min circumnavigating the feature without finding a reasonable
scrambling route I could manage. The easiest line appears to be a class 5 climb
on the south side - will have to come back with a rope and partner,
and maybe get a bit of beta beforehand, too.
This one is named after the Campfire amphitheater found on its
northeast side. My route approached from the southwest, climbing to a
lower point to the west, then traversing across to the
higher point further east. The crux was a short face helped by a thin
ledge running up diagonally to the right, found just below
a rap station. Not good handholds here. Once at the
rap station, it's a fun romp across to the highpoint with lots of short
face bits. 9min to reach the highpoint.
This is the shortest of the pinnacles, just off the main road. I parked
between Pixie Rock and Varnished Wall and did them together. Pixie Rock is tough
from most sides, but the north side has a hidden groove rising to
the west that gets
you most of the way up. There are three summits of nearly the same height,
though the eastern one appears higher. The west and east summits have
short bits of class 3-4 face climbing.
After descending back down Pixie Rock, I walked across the road and headed
up the west side of Varnished Wall, which seemed to have a reasonable
possibility. Halfway up, I came across a gentleman and his daughter
sitting on the hillside, rather unexpectedly. They said they had watched
me romping around on Pixie Rock. They, too, were playing around to see
which features they could climb. I
asked if they'd been up to the summit [of Varnished Rock], thinking
maybe they'd give me a hint. Nope, they hadn't. I continued up, finding
the crux just to the left of where they were sitting, a steep slab that
had a couple of high finger holes to make it somewhat safe. Another fun
bit of scrambling past this to eventually work my way to the highpoint
at the east end. It was close to 7p by the time I had gotten back down
to the Jeep, having run out of LoJ points in the immediate area. Time to go
find a place to shower...