Peak 4,694ft P300
Peak 5,154ft P300
Peak 5,331ft

Wed, Apr 12, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX

My wife was heading to Kansas City (volleyball, naturally) and needed to be at the San Jose Airport by 5:15a. In offering to drive her there, it gave me an opportunity to get an earlier start on a desert roadtrip than I was otherwise likely to manage. This worked out quite nicely, giving me time for three hikes, even after driving more than 8hrs. It was after sunset before I finished up, but I didn't need a headlamp. It was 78F when I started the first hike, but a stiff wind helped cool things some, as did cloud cover which blocked the sun most of the afternoon. By the end of the last hike, it was starting to get a bit chilly, so not too bad overall. All of the peaks are located in the New York Mtns, east of Ivanpah Rd, which I used to reach the range from the north. I chose this range because most of the peaks are above 5,000ft and the extra elevation would give me cooler temps than most other place in the Mojave.

Peak 4,694ft

I hadn't planned on this peak beforehand, and was sort of winging it. I noticed on my GPSr that there was a rough road forking off Ivanpah Rd (a well-graded road, suitable for all vehicles) that could get me almost half of the two mile distance to Peak 4,694ft. I wasn't sure if the road was inside the Wilderness or not (later I found that it is not), but it had tire tracks and seemed to get occasional use. I drove it as far as I could, stopping at a washout that pretty much ended things. It left me with a little over a mile each way to the summit. I had to go over a low rise initially, before dropping into Willow Wash, the main drainage on this side of Ivanpah Rd. I crossed the wash and went up a ridgeline leading to the peak from the southwest, taking all of 40min to reach the top, a pretty straightforward affair, class 1-2. Andy Smatko had recorded an ascent in 1972, but there was no sign of an old register (though admittedly, I didn't dig very deep into the summit cairn), so I left a new one, to which I added his name. I went back via a slightly different ridgeline, no better or worse than the ascent one.

Peak 5,154ft

I drove back out to Ivanpah Rd, south a short distance, then another spur road heading northeast into the range. This one had seen some serious engineering in its construction, crossing over several drainages that had been filled in for the roadbed and cutting through minor ridgelines, much like a more modern road. There are some minor washouts that make one think twice at several sections, but careful driving got me through the worst of it. There are some old mining buildings to the south of this spur, now riddled with graffiti, some of it quite elaborate. I knew from my research ahead of time that this was not in the Wilderness, part of an area cut out around Ivanpah Rd. I stopped before the Wilderness boundary where the road was no longer driveable, leaving me with about 2mi on foot each way.

I followed the undriveable portion of road to its conclusion at Willow Wash. It appears there were abutments made on either side with plans to bridge the wash, but there was no sign of a bridge and I suspect it was never actually built. After climbing over another low ridge, I was in the main Willow Wash, following a fork of this most of the way to Peak 5,154ft. It was sandy with decent footing, but more importantly, little brush and easy walking. When I was about 1/3mi from the summit, I climbed out of the wash and up to the summit, approaching from the south. About a little over an hour from my starting point. There's a pretty cool view of the pinnacled summits of the Castle Peaks area to the east, and a view to the much higher summits of the New York Mtns to the southwest where I planned to hike the next day. I left a second register here before returning, using a ridgeline for the descent before dropping again to Willow Wash and following my ascent route.

Peak 5,331ft

Mid-April combined with Daylight Savings Time meant the sun wouldn't set until just after 7p, giving me time for one last summit. I went back to Ivanpah Rd, drove a few miles uphill to the south, then a third spur road heading northeast. This was a rough bit of road that neatly got me to a cool overlook only 3/4mi from the summit of Peak 5,331ft (near Bathtub Spring on the topo map). This one had no flat portion to start as the other two, all uphill. It started off with easy class 2 like the others, but soon presented a couple of volcanic dikes and some nice scrambling to make it the more interesting summit of the day. It took a bit over half an hour to reach the highpoint, with some class 3 at one point (that I bypassed on the return with a variation of the ascent route). No summit register here (Andy Smatko had not recorded an ascent of this one, unlike the previous two). My GPSr showed I still had 0.13mi to the summit to the east, but it seemed clearly lower. I left a last register at the west summit before visiting the east summit "to be sure." It turned out to be about 10ft lower by the GPSr readings. I was treated to a fine sunset through the clouds in the western sky on my return, getting back to the Jeep by 7:15p. My parking spot was so nice (and cell service, too) that I decided to spend the night there. I took a shower in the failing light, then hunkered down for the rest of the evening...


Submit online comments or corrections about the story.

More of Bob's Trip Reports

This page last updated: Sun Apr 16 15:28:12 2023
For corrections or comments, please send feedback to: