Eagle Mountains #1
By: Bill Henderson
December 26 to 29. Margie and I were chaperons for an outing to Cottonwood Springs by the UCLA hiking Club. Also there as guests were 6 members of the Cal. Hiking Club at the Berkeley Campus. The group from UCLA consisted of 20. Wednesday, they were given instruction in how to use a rope properly, on some excellent practice rocks about 1 mile north east of Cottonwood Springs. Thursday, however, was the real climb. We rolled out at at 3:30 A.M., and were on our way by 5:00, with 21 aboard for the complete trip and two others who were going only to Lost Palms. The moonlight and later sunrise were exhilerating. Lost Palms was reached just at sunrise.
From here our, route led up the steep canyon to the upper palms, then on to another group in a picturesque setting a short distance above. The canyon now leveled out onto a plateau. As we crossed the plateau we spotted a small natural arch in a vertical slab of rock about twenty feet high. After pictures were taken, we continued to the other side of the plateau. There below lay another large palm canyon with a steep canyon on the other side which had palms high up in it. We lost 300 feet or so descending to the palms. The route then was up the steep canyon toward the upper palms. On the way up we encountered boulders as big as houses which had fallen into the narrow canyon. We were able to wind around under them on the sandy stream bed. It was like going into caves and some spots were really tight squeezes.
After reaching the upper palms the canyon leveled out, making a sharp right turn and opening onto a broad canyon. After it broadened we took a canyon veering to our left, up to a saddle, across a shallow basin, to the summit ridge, and then left along the ridge 1/2 mile to the peak. Total climbing time was 8 hours. After an hour of the superb view we proceeded to camp by a different route. From the peak the route continued north along the crest for several hundred yards until we ran into brush and big high rocks. We descended a steep narrow canyon on left. At the bottom keep going straight across wash and through a labyrinth of rocks on other side. On the other side of those rocks one comes to another wash. Don't go into it but traverse right on a level to mild saddle. From here looking west one can see where Cottonwood Springs should be, about 5 miles away. Also it will be noted that there is very rough country in a direct line with Cottonwood Springs, but slightly to the right is smooth desert. Descend to this smooth part and keep on it all the way to the road 1/2 mile north of the springs. Descent time was 4 hours.
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