Forum Index > Trip Reports > 70 Peaks in 30 Days Ė Part 1 - March 2017
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Gimpilator
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Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostTue Apr 18, 2017 9:31 am 
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Introduction
The opportunity presented itself to return to the desert. I compiled a list of nearly 100 peaks, knowing I wouldn't have time to do them all, but hoping to get most of them. As on previous desert trips the biggest unknown was the access roads.  A few specific areas worried me sincerely, getting into Butte Valley for Manly and Needle, accessing standard routes for Granite and Palen by driving in from the east, and getting to Old Dad Mountain in the Mojave.  Rumors of deep loose sand and various washouts filled my gut with fear.  I added a shovel to the gear in my car.  I would be alone out there.  With these thoughts in mind I hit the road, my Subaru fully loaded with enough food and provisions for a month.

March 3
Otay Mountain

I started early in the morning with a drive-up (the only one of the trip), accessing Otay Mountain from the north and Cedar Canyon. There was a Road Closed sign, but it had been pushed off to the side, so I figured it was just left there from recent rains the week before. I drove to near the summit where the towers are and tagged the highest rocks and then drove back down.  I didnít take any pictures.

Jacumba Mountain

Time for a hike! I started in Mortero Canyon and hiked up past a few palms to a plateau. On the far side of the plateau I gained the north ridge and followed that up and around to the summit.  The views were good and across the valley I could see Carrizo, my next objective.

Jacumba
Jacumba
the north ridge
the north ridge
summit ahead
summit ahead

Carrizo Mountain

I hadn't found any specific route information for Carrizo other than start in Painted Gorge. I had read that the gate at the entrance to the gorge would be closed, but it was open. I drove as far as my car could handle and then parked. I followed a rough jeep trail up out of the gorge and into a maze of small ridges and washes. Rock formations were interesting, colorful and fun to observe.

Painted Gorge
Painted Gorge
Coyote Mts WHP
Coyote Mts WHP

Once the jeep track started to head downhill and away from where I wanted to go, I left it and headed more directly towards the peak. Further up I came to another road which seemed to head towards the peak.  I followed that pretty close to the summit, and then left it and hiked up to the top.  The sun was getting low in the sky.  To the north I had great views of the Fish/Eagle group as well as the Salton Sea and bigger peaks to the northwest in the Anza-Borrego.

I followed this ridge for awhile
I followed this ridge for awhile
insect love
insect love
summit ahead
summit ahead
Jacumba
Jacumba
Whale
Whale
Carrizo badlands
Carrizo badlands

March 4
Sombrero Peak

Sombrero was similar to Jacumba except that it was steeper and more rugged.  A number of times I had to pause and try and see the best way to get over or around or through jumbled up rocks.  The route starts at the head of South Indian Canyon and ascends southwest and then south to a saddle and then turns west going up a ridge towards the peak.

South Indian Canyon sunrise
South Indian Canyon sunrise
rugged terrain
rugged terrain
Indian Canyon below
Indian Canyon below
Carrizo
Carrizo
Jacumba
Jacumba

Sunset Mountain
This peak has been on my mind for years.  On the map it appears to be a short easy hike.  The west face is accessed from Pinyon Wash.  I crossed the sandy wash and came to the base of the face.  As it turned out, the entire face is steep and rugged, especially near the top where itís all about boulder hopping.  The heat was bordering on oppressive.  On the summit I had nice views of nearby Whale Peak to the southwest and Granite Mountain over to the west.

Sunset west face
Sunset west face
Pinyon Wash below
Pinyon Wash below
Granite Mountain
Granite Mountain
overlooking the northeast canyon
overlooking the northeast canyon
summit ahead
summit ahead
Peak 3443
Peak 3443
Whale
Whale
San Ysidro and Toro
San Ysidro and Toro
San Jacinto and Toro
San Jacinto and Toro
25 mile long ridge from Santa Rosa Mountain to Travelers Peak
25 mile long ridge from Santa Rosa Mountain to Travelers Peak
looking back up from the base
looking back up from the base

March 5
Travelers Peak and Calcite Mine narrows
I had something big planned for March 6, so I wanted to take a rest day and do only one peak.  I started out by exploring the Calcite Mine canyon.  The rock formations in this area are really lovely and I was filled with glee.  I explored the two main branches of the canyon, and started by following the one that passes around the east side of Point 1122.  I was hoping to maybe ascend the peak that way, but just as it was getting good and narrow, I was stopped by a large chockstone boulder.  Darn.  I tried to climb above it, but it was tricky 5th class and there was a rappel anchor above it which further discouraged me.  I thought about pulling myself up by holding onto the anchor but ultimately decided that was a dumb idea.

I didn't risk driving the road
I didn't risk driving the road
Travelers
Travelers
so fun
so fun
:(
frown.gif

After backtracking to the main junction, I explored the canyon that runs parallel to the Calcite Mine road.  Where it intersected the road, I left it and followed the road to the old mine site where I found small chunks of calcite scattered about.  The southeast ridge of Travelers Peak rose above the mine site.  Travelers Peak is the southeast terminus of a 25 mile long ridge which has many peaks along it.  If all went as planned, I would be climbing most of those peaks tomorrow.

Travelers ahead
Travelers ahead

I started up the ridge.  The wind was very gusty and so I was careful and methodical at the narrow exposed sections.  I passed over some high points in the ridge and then came to another narrow section which required a few moves of class 3.  There were deep canyons on both sides.  Up ahead around 2000í elevation, I could see what looked like an impasse.  As I got closer I discovered that the only way around it was to traverse left (west) on a steep slope above a cliff.

looking back at a bump I passed over
looking back at a bump I passed over

Beyond the impasse, the ridge narrowed up again and it was a real joy to follow.  Near the top I came to some conglomerate rock with large round embedded stones.  This last part could probably be kept at class 2 with careful route finding.  On the summit I had outstanding views of the Salton Sea to the east and Rosa Point to the northwest as well as Pyramid Peak, which didnít look like much because it was dwarfed by Rosa Point.  The wind was really picking up now and I could see a dust storm forming to the south.  Travelers is one of the most fun desert peaks I've ever done, partially because of the non-standard approach which included the Calcite Mine canyon.

looking down the final sramble
looking down the final sramble
Pyramid and Rosa Point
Pyramid and Rosa Point
dust storm
dust storm
Salton Sea
Salton Sea
looking back at Travelers
looking back at Travelers
calcite
calcite
narrow
narrow
one last view of the peak
one last view of the peak

March 6
Rabbit Peak to Pyramid Peak traverse
Rabbit is a tricky peak to get because most of the year itís just too damned hot.  Guidebook author Andy Zdon uses the word ďlegendaryĒ in his description.  One standard route comes up the east face and another up the long south ridge.  Theyíre both extremely long routes with something like 7k gain, and thatís just for one peak.  I was hoping to bag 6 peaks and make a giant loop.  Itís almost entirely off-trail including some sections of rugged terrain.  Iíd heard rumors of stretches of boot path as well as the remains of an old prospectors trail for a section, so I hoped that was correct information.

Villager Peak
I started in the dark, crossing open desert and braided small washes.  Near the base of the south ridge I entered a maze of boulders and a few deep washes.  The toe of the south ridge rose abruptly from the desert floor.  I was impressed by the steepness.  I climbed quickly in the dark, trying to make the most of the coolness.  In the predawn I could see dry Clark Lake down below as well as Coyote Mountain.  I had fond memories of that peak with Heather.  On the other side I was passing by Mile High Mountain and the other half of my loop route.

ridge south of Villager
ridge south of Villager
Clark Lake and Coyote Mountain
Clark Lake and Coyote Mountain
Toro with snow
Toro with snow
San Ysidro
San Ysidro
Villager ahead
Villager ahead

I came to the first summit on Villager Peak.  I would have to pass over this peak twice, so I stashed a liter of water in the summit rocks.  I could see Rabbit now.  It was very far away.  There were a number of low saddles and bumps in the ridge to pass over or around.  I did some experimenting and concluded that over was faster and easier than around.  Then I found something special.  A pair of Black Diamond Distance Z trekking poles!  And they were in my size.  I didnít know it at the time, but I would need these by the end of the trip when I wore the tip out on one of mine.

summit cairn
summit cairn
Toro and Rabbit
Toro and Rabbit
Rabbit
Rabbit
looking back at Villager
looking back at Villager

Rabbit Peak
As I neared the highest peak of the day, there were more pinyon pines.  The top was flat and broad and a bit brushy.  At the first rock pile, no register was to be found.  A hundred yards away another pile of rocks looked promising and thatís where I found it.  There was a toy rabbit inside the ammo box.

Salton Sea
Salton Sea
Rabbit ahead
Rabbit ahead
Mile High and Villager
Mile High and Villager
almost there
almost there
the not summit
the not summit
here it is
here it is
Toro, San Jacinto, San Gorgonio
Toro, San Jacinto, San Gorgonio
Mile High and Villager below
Mile High and Villager below
back to Villager
back to Villager

Mile High Mountain
I backtracked to Villager and retrieved my water.  Getting to the next peak required losing a lot of elevation to cross a canyon and gaining much of it back immediately.  It was steep and somewhat loose.  I could feel the heat of the day now, but I was excited about what I was doing and pretty happy.

Mile High on the other side of a canyon
Mile High on the other side of a canyon
Mile High and the saddle which divides canyons
Mile High and the saddle which divides canyons
time to go back up
time to go back up
looking back at Villager and Rabbit
looking back at Villager and Rabbit
Salton Sea again
Salton Sea again
the ridge to Rosa Point
the ridge to Rosa Point
Villager and Rabbit
Villager and Rabbit

Rosa Point
I continued the traverse to Rosa Point which is a bit removed from the main crest, off the east side.  Itís an excellent viewpoint for the Salton Sea.  Looking back I could see Villager, Mile High, and even Rabbit now in the far distance.

looking back at Villager, Mile High, and Rabbit
looking back at Villager, Mile High, and Rabbit
first view of Rosa
first view of Rosa
getting closer
getting closer
Rosa summit
Rosa summit
Mile High and Rabbit
Mile High and Rabbit

Marble Peak
Thereís some discrepancy about exactly where this little peak is, but I think I passed over it while descending from Rosa Point.

down this way
down this way
looking back up at Rosa
looking back up at Rosa
Is this Marble?
Is this Marble?

Pyramid Peak
At first it didnít look like much of a peak but as I continued to descend, Pyramid rose above me and it looked like a nice final peak to tag before returning to desert floor.  I was slightly bummed that there was no pencil in the summit register, but it didnít really take away from what had been an awesome day.  I could now see Rosa Point high above and Travelers down below, as well as the ridge and initial canyon I would use as an exit.

Pyramid
Pyramid
looking better
looking better
summit
summit
Rosa from Pyramid
Rosa from Pyramid
Travelers from Pyramid
Travelers from Pyramid

I dropped down the southeast shoulder of Pyramid and then followed a narrow ridge southwest into a Smoke Tree Canyon.  My map indicated that an old prospector trail was somewhere down there, but I couldnít see it.  I followed the canyon down and then went up a slope until I found the trail.  It was good!  A trail!  Hurray.

down this ridge
down this ridge
looking back at Rosa and Pyramid
looking back at Rosa and Pyramid
Smoke Tree Canyon
Smoke Tree Canyon
last light on Pyramid
last light on Pyramid

The trail enabled me to cross one steep loose slope, which would have otherwise been a real problem.  It continued over a pass and then dropped into adjacent Palo Verde Canyon.  The sun was setting and I was glad to be getting out of the mountains before full darkness set in.  In the final canyon, all traces of the trail ceased and therefore answered my curiosity.  So many miles and all I had found were some sections of boot path on the ridge crest south of Villager, and this one mile stretch of prospectors trail.

I completed the final mileage in the dark, pausing often to play with my phone, which had suddenly gotten reception.  It was a 15.5 hour day but would have been a half hour less if I hadn't been distracted by technology.

Continue to Part 2

--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool



Joined: 03 Apr 2016
Posts: 488 | TRs

awilsondc
Scramblin' Fool
PostTue Apr 18, 2017 12:41 pm 
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You're an animal!! At that pace you could hit 300, 400, or even 500 for the year!  eek.gif This is some serious dedication to peak bagging, the likes of which I've never seen.  Way to go man!  It's cool seeing the places you've been.

70 in 30 days....  borank.gif

Nice find on the trekking poles too!
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Jake Robinson
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Joined: 02 Aug 2016
Posts: 99 | TRs
Location: Green Lake
Jake Robinson
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PostWed Apr 19, 2017 6:30 am 
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Inspiring stuff! I'm eagerly awaiting the next 3 parts. You certainly picked a good March to spend in the desert...
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RichP
sin rumbo



Joined: 13 Jul 2006
Posts: 3859 | TRs
Location: Seattle
RichP
sin rumbo
PostWed Apr 19, 2017 7:40 am 
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No vitamin D deficiency for you this winter.  biggrin.gif
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tekewin
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tekewin
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PostThu Apr 20, 2017 5:26 am 
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Those sunrise shots on Sombrero are priceless. Damn!

That long slog to Villager/Rabbit is in my future, but I doubt I'll try to add any other mountains during that trip. It's plenty long as it is.
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Bloated Chipmunk
Farblondjet



Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 2617 | TRs
Location: Margaritaville
Bloated Chipmunk
Farblondjet
PostThu Apr 20, 2017 6:59 pm 
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OMG WTF -- Villager, Rabbit, Mile High, Rosa Pt., Marble Pk., & Pyramid Pk. all in one day???   eek.gif  stun.gif  For all those who are unfamiliar w/the area, these are some major peaks in Anza-Borrego.  Barren, rugged, waterless, shadeless terrain.  Even most strong and fast hikers can spend those 15.5 hours "just" doing Villager & Rabbit.

I did Pyramid Pk. in one day.  JUST Pyramid.   embarassedlaugh.gif

borank.gif

--------------
Home is where the hiking is. 

"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas

A balanced diet is a margarita in each hand.
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Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger



Joined: 29 Sep 2005
Posts: 5065 | TRs
Location: Headed west soon
Bryan K
Shameless Peakbagger
PostFri Apr 21, 2017 11:56 am 
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Nice job buddy!!! Great to see some more of the pics from your journey  smile.gif

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www.youtube.com/bkraai | www.flickr.com/photos/bkraai/sets/
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Gimpilator
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Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostWed May 03, 2017 8:47 am 
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awilsondc wrote:
At that pace you could hit 300, 400, or even 500 for the year!

Thanks Aaron!  Yeah, if only one could hike all the time and not have to deal with any responsibilities.  Sounds like Utopia to me.   biggrin.gif

Jake Robinson wrote:
Inspiring stuff! I'm eagerly awaiting the next 3 parts.

Thank you.  I finally finished the other parts.  They are all linked together now.  It ended up being 5 sections instead of 4.  I think getting it all compiled took more mental energy and focus than the trip itself.

RichP wrote:
No vitamin D deficiency for you this winter.  biggrin.gif

lol.gif Well, it seems I came home to WA a little too early.  A few weeks ago I was in the best shape of my life.  Now I'm struggling just not to lose it.

tekewin wrote:
Those sunrise shots on Sombrero are priceless. Damn!

That long slog to Villager/Rabbit is in my future, but I doubt I'll try to add any other mountains during that trip. It's plenty long as it is.

I'm glad you like those too, Keith.  Out of the 2000ish photos I took on this trip, those were some of my favorite.

Bloated Chipmunk wrote:
I did Pyramid Pk. in one day.† JUST Pyramid.† embarassedlaugh.gif

Did you post a report for that trip?  If so, I think I missed it.  And thanks for the commentary on these peaks.  When I first started researching them I thought, what's the big deal, because in photos they don't look that tough.

Bryan K wrote:
Nice job buddy!!! Great to see some more of the pics from your journey  smile.gif

Thanks Bryan.  I'm hoping to show up in one of your reports soon enough.

--------------
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > 70 Peaks in 30 Days Ė Part 1 - March 2017
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