Ryan Mountain, Queen Mountain, Quail Mountain, Eureka Peak
13-14 January 1968
By: Bob Van Allen
Rock Climb-Car Camp-Peak Back
Leader: Bob Van Allen
Early Saturday morning it looked like the HPS was going to create a traffic jam in Palm Springs. After a short car shuttle, the roadhead looked like a good sized used car lot. I thought that this would be a trip which would draw a fair sized group so 3 assistants were planned instead of the usual one. It turned out that there were 56 participants for the rock climbing session at Tahquitz Canyon.
Specific areas had been designated for various kinds of climbing practice and the groups rotated. Shortly after lunch we left Tahquitz Canyon and moved to our camp at Sheep Pass in Joshua Tree National Monument. After setting up camp we spent the balance of the afternoon in route finding and rappel practice.
It had been a long day with lots of exercise so supper was a welcome break. And - that is what it proved to be - a break - because after supper we had 35 people make a most enjoyable hike to the summit of Ryan Mountain. The full moon that had been ordered appeared on time and was in just the right place to benefit the hikers. The summit was windy but the views were terrific. Some (most) climbed in their sleeping bags soon after returning from Ryan (between 8-9 p.m.). As usual, there was a hard core of experience relaters that kept a campfire going for some time; the proved the old adage 'the first liar hasn't got a chance'.
Sunday a.m., before dawn, an eager group (including some of the hard core noted above) made a moonlight ascent (additional 3rd class practice) the the top of a nearby pinnacle to view the sunrise. The group returned to camp just as breakfast was ready. About 8:30 we piled into all the VW's, 4 w.d's and a Dodge van and headed for Queen Mountain. Of the 39 starters, 37 made the summit. Again we were able to add to the 3rd class experience aspects by choosing an appropriate route up the summit block. We had planned to eat lunch after returning to the cars. However, most people ate their lunch on the summit (about 11 a.m.) - obviously planning to eat again back at the cars. After returning to the cars it took us only a few minutes to return to camp and even a shorter time to get ready to go to Quail Mountain. On Quail, the hikers had dropped to a total of 24 - and all 24 made the summit.
A quick descent was made to the cars and all was haste to break camp so we could get to to Eureka for sunset.
Eureka, by any standard, is a long drive and a short climb. To make it more worthwhile, I prefer to do it about sunset. I think the 23 who made the trip may agree.
It was a long weekend filled with lots of activity. A number of people got their introduction to 3rd class rock, some got an introduction to hiking, some to the HPS way of life - but to many it was a great opportunity to spend another weekend in one of our favorite HPS areas.
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