Peak 6,294ft P300
Peak 5,354ft P300

Apr 19, 2020

With: Karl Fieberling

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX Profiles: 1 2

Karl and I had planned to meet Monday morning in the Coso Range for a few days of peakbagging. I knew he had left a day earlier to hike around in the Southern Sierra, so as I was driving south on I-5 Sunday morning, I texted to see what he was up to. He had cell coverage and told me he was on the summit of Lamont BM. That happens to be only a few miles from where I was planning to hike in the afternoon, so we made plans to meet up on Chimney Peak Rd at 2pm. The timing worked well as he finished up his morning hike and got to the meeting place less than 15min before I pulled in.

Peak 6,294ft Located about 1.3mi southwest of Lamont Peak, Peak 6,294ft is deceptively tiring. It's only a mile from the first hairpin turn in Chimney Peak Rd out of the Kern River Valley, but has 2,000ft of gain - about twice what it had looked like from our starting point. The route up the Northwest Ridge is steep to start and gets steeper in the second half, not rolling off until the last 200ft. We crossed a dry creek, somewhat brushy, immediately off the road where I picked up a pair of ticks. On the way back I must have picked a worse crossing because I got another 10 ticks that took some work to dislodge and then check everything for hidden cohorts. There is what seems like a use trail at the start of the ridge, but this doesn't last long. The footing on sandy soil was decent thanks to damp ground from light rains a day earlier. The upper half had a fair amount of brush, downfall and broken granite rock to negotiate and it would take us an hour and a quarter to make our way to the summit. There are fine views of Lamont to the northeast, Spanish Needle and Owens Peak to the east, Canebrake Flat and the Kern River Valley to the southwest. A small granite block serves as the highpoint, a small perch from which to take in the surrounding Owens Peak Wilderness. We left a register here before heading back down. The generous rains of March and April did wonders to bring out the yellow flowers on much of the slopes, a very picturesque scene. It was almost 4:30p by the time we returned. Karl was done for the day, so we made arrangements to meet up later in the Coso Range while I went off to do another nearby summit.

Peak 5,354ft This summit is about a mile and three quarters south of Peak 6,294ft, separated by Spanish Needle Creek. A ranch is located between them along the creek, a private cutout in the Wilderness. I drove a short distance south from where we'd parked, using a spur road to get me to an overlook above Spanish Needle Creek, about 1.3mi northwest of Peak 5,354ft. I'm not sure if this is the easiest way to approach it, but it worked. I had tried to climb this peak once before from SR178 southwest of the summit. On that occasion, I had climbed to the slightly lower southwest summit thinking I was at the highpoint. It was only after I had gotten home and looked at the GPX track that I realized I'd missed it by 1/5mi. My route today started by crossing Spanish Needle Creek, only a trickle of water, but non-trivial amounts of brush making it a bit tricky. Once this was accomplished, it was a very enjoyable cruise across low gradient slopes on the west side of the Wilderness, yellow flowers brightening the scrub-filled slopes. I went around an intervening slope to climb Peak 5,354ft up a sandy but low brush slope on its northwest side. The slope led to the gully between the two summits, a little steep and loose at the top before reaching the saddle and then the easy finish to the higher northeast summit. It took an hour to reach the top where I found a register left by Jorge Estrada a year earlier. The return was more enjoyable with the late afternoon "Golden Hour" light painting a more flattering scene on the terrain and lingering clouds. It was 6:15p by the time I returned to the jeep where I showered before heading over Walker Pass and north to the Coso Range where I found Karl having just finished his dinner...


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