Rock Pile

Mon, Mar 6, 2023
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX

It was the start of a solo desert trip and I needed something to do between San Jose and Baker on the long drive out to Mojave. I settled on a couple of minor summits in Kern County, not too far from SR58, which I would take much of the way east across the county.

Rock Pile

This exceedingly minor summit has an official name in the BGN database, a small collection of rocks barely sticking out above the Central Valley, east of Bakersfield. It lies on private orchard lands off General Beale Rd a few miles south of the highway. Turning off General Beale Rd puts you on private property, signed as such but not gated. As I neared my target, I noticed a backhoe a few hundred yards ahead of me. I figured he might be wondering what I was doing there, and thought I'd simply ask for permission, however unlikely it was to be granted. But rather than confront me, the driver simply drove down another side road and continued to do whatever he was there to do. Probably just a worker who might have even thought I was there to check on him. I parked at the side of the road and went over to climb Rock Pile and all its 52ft of prominence in a few minutes. The highest rock is at the southwest end of the small ridge, a class 2 effort. Views take in orchards immediately surrounding Rock Pile. The snowy Tehachapi Mtns could be seen to the east, though clouds obscured much of this view. I took a few quick pics and beat a hasty retreat.


This less-minor summit lies about a mile and a half inside Edwards Air Force Base in its northeast corner. It lies immediately north of the much higher Leuhman Ridge that is topped with a collection of Air Force installations, antennae, and such. Luckily, Mound is not so encumbered. From Boron, I drove south on paved Boron Ave past the landfill, to a gated/locked, rarely-used entrance to the base. A good dirt road forks west, following just outside the base boundary. I drove this until I was about 1.4mi NNE of the summit. I parked off the road, went through the barbed-wire fence, and made my way directly towards the unassuming feature. A railroad spur goes around the north and east sides of Mound, close to its base. Upon crossing this, I noted the tracks were rusty on top, suggesting it sees very little traffic. I climbed up about 300ft on the north side to reach the highpoint, now in full view of Leuhman Ridge and possible, though unlikely, observation. Once again, just a few quick pics and then I headed down. It took a little under an hour for the roundtrip. Now 4:30p, this would be enough for the day, really just a chance to stretch my legs before the more involved efforts over the next few days...

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