Granite Mountain #2, Spectre Point, Granite Mountains #2
By: Rob Langsdorf
After supper at the Desert Center Cafe we (Mary Sue Miller, Flo Tinsley, and I) drove 16.9 miles north on highway 177 to the Palen Pass Road. We were able to drive east on that road for 8 miles before my Dodge Dart encountered a wash it couldn't cross. We camped nearby along side aging tracks of Patton's tanks.
In the morning we piled into Mary Sue's Bronco for the trip over the pass and left up the wash toward Granite Mountain #2. Just before reaching the 1600 mark the Jeep trail does a steep climbing turn to get out of the wash. It is a bit tricky. Because of a trench across the main track at the first prospect we took the left fork and stopped at the prospect about 1/4 mile east of Packard Well.
From the Bronco (1700-9:37am) we hike north across washes and over the ridge NE of 2054. Then we followed a wash NE and then north; taking the left fork where they divided about 2900 to reach the ridge half way between high points 3808 and 3928. Then up the ridge to Granite #2 summit (4353' 2:15pm). This was Floe's first DPS summit.
Leaving the summit (2:27pm) we went west about 200 yards and then dropped down the first major chute. Just below 3600 it went over a dry water fall and we contoured west to the rib between two chutes. We followed this rib down almost to the junction of these chutes and then dropped into the right one. From there it was just a matter of following the resulting wash to the desert floor (2300) by sunset (4:40pm) and using the twilight to roller coaster across a number of washes to the bronco (5:40 pm). The return route was definitely the better of the two.
Back to the paved road and north on it to highway 62. This we took west 12 miles to a very sandy road. Two miles up it we found a two vehicle site and camped. Our potluck hors d'oeuvres all turned out too pecante.
Thursday morning we took the Bronco up the jeep trail to its end at a dry water fall. (270V) We hiked up the wash a half mile and turned right into a side wash. It split and I chose the left wash. In it I chose to use a chute to the left of the stream bed to get around some dry falls. It was such easy going that I got carried away and went too high and wasted time getting back into the wash. At the 380V level we contoured to the next drainage west and followed it south over a ridge about 1/4 mile west of the summit labeled Aqua on the 15 minute topo. The best route is to continue south up to a low saddle (4300) when the wash turns east towards 4416, then head south towards the saddle left of spectres pyramid. From the last large tree north of that saddle we climbed SW to a small flat and then up the chute between two slabs to a point about 30 east of the summit (4400+). The chute had some low class 3 moves in it. Is there another route that is all 2?
Reaching this summit left Mary Sue with only East Ord & Martinez to do before her list finisher. We returned to the cars directly down the canyon to the north. Spaghetti at Rockies Pizzarea in 29 palms, then through Amboy & Essex to the Hole-in-the-Wall Campground. There we joined a group of DPSers to welcome the New Year in on Mountain Standard time so we wouldn't have to stay up til midnight.
Friday Bill Russell led a group consisting of Pat, Doug Mantle, Vi DeGrasso, Bob Hicks, Bob Michael, Duane McRuer and myself, up Granite #1. We had about 7 inches of snow to contend with near the summit and enjoyed seeing a frozen water fall in the NE canyon on the way back down.
I'll leave it for one of them to describe the route. But I would note the following: 1) by going left around the old corral just inside the fence as you start up the canyon you can add .7 miles to the trek to the base of the mountain. Guess how we know! 2) The pinnacle south of the main summit really is about 10 feet lower (not higher as the register said). But it provided some nice 3rd class for most of us to play on.
We had a great time and on the way back to camp discovered that you can buy gas at a bunch of trailers about a mile south of the Essex offramp from I-40.
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