Wed, Apr 19, 2017
||Story||Photos / Slideshow||Maps: 1 2 3||GPXs: 1 2 3||Profiles: 1 2 3|
508 Peak previously climbed Mon, Jan 12, 2015|
I parked on the north side of a bend in the road just below 4,000ft at the foot of the day's first and last peaks and set out around 7:15a. The first leg would climb to the day's highest summit, gaining more than 2,400ft in just over a mile, one heckuva steep climb - good thing my legs were fresh. With the somewhat loose slopes, it took me a little over an hour to make my way to the summit. Someone had left a collection of rocks at the top that had become a nesting site for rodents over the years, but no register. Not all that surprisingly, none of these five summits would have one. I next turned my attention north to the second highest, Peak 6,086ft directly across Deadfoot Canyon another mile. 1,500ft down, 1,200ft up, the effort would consume another 70min as well. It was not long after 9:30a when I reached the second summit and I was feeling quite good. The sand was not as bad as some of the other outings in the area and the wildflowers, though not plentiful, provided some visual distractions that would occupy my attention whenever I found a nice sampling. The howling winds during the night had died down some but were still strong, keeping the hike cool and rather pleasant.
I had originally thought I would just do a four-peak loop, but since it was so early in the day still, I decided to continue heading north, next dropping down into Five Mile Canyon. The effort was remarkably like the previous one, just over a mile, dropping 1,500ft before climbing back up to summit #3, Peak 5,282ft. Unlike Deadfoot Canyon, Five Mile Canyon had water flowing in it, somewhat surprising for late April. The brush wasn't thick where I crossed, making for a trivial exercise. Despite the fact that I had a GPSr with all the summits precisely located, I climbed to the wrong point, reaching Pt. 5,838ft, half a mile west of my intended target. Oops - that's what I get for not paying attention to things. The extra effort included another 500ft of elevation gain I didn't intend, but it was not all for naught. Despite it's low prominence of 200ft which disqualifies it from LoJ, it is found on PB, I later found. It seems Jonathan Mason had made a two-day loop around Five Mile Canyon back in January and added a handful of summits to PB, including this one.
I turned east and headed to Peak 5,282ft, an easy feat without a major canyon to cross, just a drop to a saddle followed by a 300-foot climb to the summit. I enjoyed more flower displays as I descended back into Five Mile Canyon for a second time, now heading south. Next up was Peak 5,585ft, the most prominent of the summits with more than 750ft of prominence. It was the largest of two remaining climbs, gaining 1,500ft from the creekbed. Reaching the top around 12:20p, I could just make out a section of Nine Mile Canyon Rd to the south. It would take another hour to cross Deadfoot Canyon to reach the last summit, Peak 4,860ft, finishing the last climb of this outing, a more forgiving 900-foot effort. On the way back down to the pavement in Nine Mile Canyon I came across slopes covered in small, yellow poppies, making for a brightly colored scene. This last descent went quickly over sandy slopes, getting me back by 1:40p, completing the circuit in about 7.5hrs.
It was after 5:30p by the time I finished up back at the van and a good opportunity to call it a day. I took a nice shower out there on the lonely stretch of desert road before returning to the slightly less lonely Saline Valley Rd. Sometime after 6p I reached the meeting spot at the junction with the Hunter Mountain Rd. Brian was already there, having arrived about 15min ahead of me - good timing. Tom would show up as well within the hour, completing our party of three for the next four days. The site sits above 6,000ft at a saddle that invites some pretty strong winds blowing over Hunter Mtn between Saline and Panamint Valleys. A good place to sleep comfortably when it's warm down in the valleys, but not so great for sitting around and recreating with a few beers. It wouldn't be even 8:30p before we were all in bed...
This page last updated: Sun May 7 13:46:29 2017
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