Tue, Nov 8, 2022
We left two vehicles parked where we had camped the previous evening, and drove south in the Jeep to the end of the road on the eastern edge of the Stepladder Mtns Wilderness. We would then recreate the same basic route that everyone takes to reach Stepladder, a 9.4mi roundtrip effort, much of which is a pleasant hike southwest across the desert flats. After reaching the base of the range, we headed up a broad drainage to the west. While walking up the wash, Karl spotted a rusty kid's wagon just above us to the south, a very odd find. Tom tried to give Iris a ride in the wagon, but it was too rusted to be serviceable and the effort was soon abandoned. We crossed into an adjacent drainage over a low saddle, then headed up the lower half of the mountain over moderately steep class 2 terrain. We regrouped at the start of the class 3 scrambling, took a short rest, then finished the route to the summit 2.5hrs after starting out.
We very quickly ascertained that the south summit was obviously higher, bringing into question my memory of the summit, obviously incorrect. We scrambled up the summit conglomerate block, signed the register, took in the views and the usual rest period. Expecting to be much slower on the descent, Karl started down first while the rest of us went over to take a better look at the north summit. We did no better than I had done on two previous visits, but at least I was satisfied that Tom found nothing obvious I had missed. We concluded that it was within our abilities to climb it with the gear we brought, but since it wasn't higher, we lacked the motivation to do the sketchy climb. Back down we went.
We found Karl resting on a rock at the base of the mountain, not as slow as he had imagined he'd be. Tom went off to climb a nearby bonus peak I had done on my previous visit while the rest of us headed back to the Jeep, finishing up after 12:30p with a roundtrip time of 5hr20min. Tom made good time and was back only a few minutes after we had opened beers to mark the occasion.
After finishing up on Malo BM, we drove into the Turtle Mountains where Karl and Iris had already established camp in the northern part of the range, near where we planned to hike the next morning. The strong winds continued all evening and through the night, such that we didn't dare try to have a campfire. It was surprisingly warm (about 66F) so we mostly sat about outside under the nearly full-moon. The moon would mostly be hidden behind the pervasive clouds overhead, but it would make regular appearances as the clouds danced across the desert sky - quite the lovely evening. It didn't start raining in camp until nearly 9p, and by then we were comfortably ensconsced in our vehicles for the night...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Stepladder Mountain
This page last updated: Tue Nov 15 14:01:09 2022
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