Granite Mountains #1, Spirit Mountain
By: Patty Kline
We only had 5 people in all but the trip turned out to be one of he best DPS trips I have done. Rose Stein, Paula Peterson and Peter Doggett were the participants. We met at 7:30am at Christmas Tree Pass, Nevada. on Saturday morning, waiting in vain l5 minutes for a no show. We then drove a few miles further to the roadhead. starting to hike at 8:l5am. It was very windy going up to the peak in many spots. The peak looks like towers of yellowish rock, the highest tower being the summit. We were on the summit at 5,639' at about 11 am for a brief lunch before saying good-bye to the great view. Erik Siering had climbed the peak the day before and left a note for Paula saying "Spirit was like Spectre on tranquilizers." We were back down to the cars at so, making the 4-5 hour time span of the peak guide in 5 hours. The 2000' elevation gain and 3 miles round trip seemed easy to everyone, even without tranquilizers.
Then we drove over to Granite, in order to find that nice level camping spot 1.7 miles from the paved Granite Pass Road. The road over the pass is now paved. The guide says it is dirt. Peter Doggett and I drove off to climb the highest of the Kelso Dunes, about 8 miles away since it was only 3:30pm. The dunes were great and something I had always wanted to see. The sand is red and makes a low-pitched noise as the sand is moved by the wind blowing on the dunes. Peter's altimeter indicated the highest sand to be 500 feet tall. These are the highest sand dunes in the world. A good addition to the list-just kidding. After happy hour and dinner in Bob,s van we had a nice campfire. We sat around drinking beer and telling jokes and making puns. The next morning we started at 6:45am for the 2 miles up to the roadhead for Granite in the onlyˇ4WD, Peter's Cherokee. I have never seen so many horrible cactus. This is 3 days later and some of them are still in me. About 20 minutes into the hike Bob brushed a cactus and got 200 spines in his leg.
I tried to avoid him and the cactus and fell down really hard. This was the wrong spot for leaders to walk though Bob made us all go ahead so he could take off his pants to get out the cactus. Later on he had to change into his rain pants because it was impossible to get all the cactus out of his pants that brushed the cactus. We had lunch on top of the peak (6,762 feet) with a great view of San Jacinto and San Gorgonio) and in the distance you could see Baldy, Baden Powell and Yucaipa Ridge. We were down 5 hours later in 2300' feet of gain and 3 miles. This was another nice DPS peak-Thank you to Bob for the great Co-Lead and to the participants for making this another fantastic DPS weekend.
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