Peak 6,712ft PD
Peak 7,070ft PD
Peak 5,992ft
Peak 6,273ft P500

Nov 17, 2018

With: Tom Becht
Iris Ma
Karl Fieberling

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPXs: 1 2 Profile


Inspired by Kyle Atkins effort to climb all the Sierra Crest summits between Walker Pass and Donner Summit, I got curious, wondering what a list would look like that covered all the Pacific Divide summits within CA. It took me probably 8hrs or so to come up with the list of 500+ summits, and it instantly got my attention. I had already done more than half of them and thought it would make a fine long-term project. It so happened that I had already suggested to Tom that we might visit the Scodie Mtns south of Walker Pass. There were two unnamed peaks with little going for them, other than they were on this list and in the Scodie Mtns. Iris was looking to do something this weekend as well, so we made plans for the three of us to head out. As I was driving across the Central Valley, I happened to learn via email that Karl was already on the east side of the Sierra and quickly had him joining us as well.

Peak 6,712ft/Peak 7,070ft

These minor summits are found along the Sierra Crest between Skinner Peak and Scodie Mtn, both within the Kiavah Wilderness. There is a cherry stem right through the Wilderness to allow motorized vehicles to drive to the historic McIver Cabin from the east side, up Horse Canyon. The road is in excellent shape for most of the way up Horse Canyon, but once at the crest it becomes a rather tough road requiring high-clearance and a narrow wheelbase. Most folks who drive it seem to come in on motorcycles. We took Tom's jeep for the effort since he was lamenting that he'd had little opportunity to drive it of late. The road goes over Peak 6,712ft, or nearly so, requiring us to stop and hike about 40ft to find the highpoint atop some rocks buried in forest without any real views. Another 45min of driving got us to the end of the road where we found McIver's Cabin, your typical desert residence built by some lonely soul 100yrs ago and now weakly maintained by generous members of the public. Peak 7,070ft is found less than half a mile to the northwest, so we simply parked at the cabin and headed off from there. The area is a bit brushy, so it helps to find one of several trails, maintained or abandoned, to help with the effort. The PCT runs across the gap between the cabin and the summit, so it may or may not help depending on route choice. It took us less than half an hour to find our way to the rather flat summit. Despite its shape, it had pretty decent views of the surrounding range, marred today by smoke blowing in from other parts of the state to the north. We left a register here before returning to the cabin. We spent well over twice as much time driving to and from these peaks as we did on actual hiking.

Peak 5,992ft/Peak 6,273ft

These peaks are located on the south side of Horse Canyon. On our way back from the previous summits, we stopped at a large parking area north of the summits and headed out just before 12:30p. After an easy but short hike across the bottom of the canyon, we started up steep slopes to Peak 5,992ft, 1,400ft of loose, sandy slopes that taxed us far more than the easy peaks earlier. Our route up the northeast side was fairly direct, taking us 45min to top out. Gordon MacLeod, sans Barbara, had left a register in 1981. He had scooped Andy Smatko who didn't show up until the following year. 34yrs had gone by before Mason had signed it just a few years ago. The ridgeline made for an enjoyable mile-long traverse southeast to the higher Peak 6,273ft. It, too, had a Gordon register from the same day in 1981, but had quite a few more pages, six in all. Bob Sumner had been the last to sign in just a year earlier. Our descent was fairly direct but not the fun, sandy descent we'd hoped for. I picked a steep, rocky slope descending through the pinyon forest that required caution instead of wild abandon. We got back just under the 3hr mark, a modest but enjoyable outing.

Later, while looking for a suitable place to make camp near the El Paso Mtns, Tom lured Iris into driving her Malibu into deep sand where it quickly got stuck. After trying to free it by manual means, we eventually got out Tom's recovery kit, threaded the tow strap through her rear side windows and used the winch to pull it out - the first use of Tom's gear for saving someone. After having so much fun with it all, we'll probably look for future opportunities to catch her in similar dangers. Gotta love the desert...


Kirk D comments on 11/25/18:
Would like to see your Atkins 'Plus' List - must have been a fun 8 hours putting that together ! Hard to believe you had climbed 'only' (more than) half of them ?
When you get around to (Crest) Peak 9,700' north of Reynolds, let me know - too scary for my nerves/skill set, but I'll bring cold beers and snacks to the trailhead. I see that beauty almost everyday, and it is a fine one.
You can see the list on the "PD" link in pink at the upper left hand side of this TR.
kristine comments on 11/25/18:
I want that peak have been looking at it for years. plan to go when blue lakes road opens next spring/summer! Almost went this year after Deadwood etc
Tom B comments on 11/25/18:
I didn't lure Iris anywhere. She found the deepest part of the sand all by herself, which even I avoided. It was a good way to celebrate her birthday!
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