Pilot Peak P300
Peak 3,198ft P300

Jan 9, 2022
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I had more than 8hrs of driving to get home today, but I wanted to do a few quick summits in the morning before setting out. I was camped for the third night on the east side of the Old Woman Mtns. Today's peaks were isolated summits away from the main group. Pilot Peak had caught my attention a few days earlier, standing out as a pointy summit rising from the surrounding desert flats. Andy Smatko had climbed it back in 1968, so I was hoping I might find one of his older desert registers. After my usual morning routine, I drove the Jeep on a lonely BLM road to within a half mile of Peak 3,198ft on its southwest side. My plan was to visit Pilot Peak first, then do this one the way back.

I got the earliest start of the this trip, setting out at 6:30a, about 20min before sunrise. My all-cross-country route started to the northeast over a low saddle between Peak 3,316ft and Peak 3,198ft, then north across the broad Sunflower Wash. Going against the grain meant I had a number of ups and downs across various washes, some minor, a few larger. It wasn't too bad, however, none involving a drop of more than about 20ft. There was much evidence of cattle on the flats, both hoofprints in the sandy washes and cowpies scattered about, some fairly recent. Yet I saw no cattle during the hike (they would make their appearance on the drive out). I spent an hour on the two mile hike to the summit of Pilot Peak, climbing it via the southwest slopes, steep but all class 2. The summit cast a very cool shadow to the west across the flats. In other directions, the desert stretched out for many miles, part of the vast Ward Valley. I was disappointed in not finding any register about the rocky summit, leaving one of mine as consolation.

It would take me another hour to descend the south side of Pilot Peak, walk back across Sunflower Wash, and then ascend Peak 3,198ft from the north. The slopes held larger boulders than on Pilot Peak, but still class 2. I found no register on Peak 3,198ft's summit and had no additional ones to leave. I descended off the southwest side and returned to the Jeep by 9a. That would do it for today. The rest of the day and some of the evening would be spent getting me home to San Jose. I would be back to the Mojave area the next weekend - can't seem to get enough...

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