Weldon Peak, Sorrell Peak
26 September 2001
By: Karen Isaacson Leverich
Leaders: Carleton Shay and Mars Bonfire
Back to the Southern Sierra -- I enjoy it when hikes are scheduled there (as if HPS hikes are ever scheduled somewhere I don't enjoy), we just drive across I-5, scoot across the desert, and rendezvous with the group in Mojave. An extra half hour of sleep! Bliss!
This time, a single carload of hikers met Mars, Brian, and I at that famous watering hole, the Mojave McDonalds. Arriving from Sylmar were Carleton, Sandy Burnside (her first scheduled outing since she rejoined the hiking a few weeks ago), Tom Neely (who is sneaking up on a list finish, see below), and Ingeborg Prochazka.
Bumping along the seemingly endless miles of dirt road (invitingly named Jawbone Canyon, and why a name like that anyhow?) that seem to be de rigueur for peaks not in the San Gabriels, we parked on a ridge not far above the Pacific Crest Trail. The trail in this region passes through an attractive albeit dry oak woods, very similar in atmosphere to that we'd visited on Lightner the previous week. After a brief saunter through the woods, the PCT joins a dirt road (also dry and dusty, with the potholes innovatively, efficiently repaired by inserting unopened bags of cement) and goes downhill 800' or so. (The weather was pleasant that day, otherwise we'd've been dreading having to climb back up that dusty road in full sun...)
Eventually, the PCT leaves the road, and shortly after that, we left the PCT and headed uphill towards the summit. Reading the trip archives for this peak, it sounds as if actually =finding= the summit is frequently a problem. Not with Mars and Carleton leading the way! After reaching the top of the ridge, they led us off on a spur, and there it was, the imposing summit block.
Most of the group scrambled up, Sandy (in deference to her mending ankle) and I (in deference to my basic cowardice vis a vis rock) staying on the ground and admiring their efforts. Mars fetched down the register so we could sign, Sandy handed out cookies (and haven't we missed hiking with her, no one else makes such tasty cookies!), Brian took pictures, Tom Neely bagged his 267th peak (wow!).
Back to the cars, that climb up the dirt road seeming substantially longer than the descent, we were off the Sorrell. It's fairly close, as the crow flies, but we weren't crows, so had to meander around for miles on dirt roads before finally parking on its south side. Where to park proved confusing -- we didn't park where Brian and I did when we first visited this peak back in June, nor did Mars and Carleton park in the same spot. Mars had us wait while he went after Carleton and discussed the different approaches to this close-to-the-road peak.
We eventually all headed up the gully Mars suggested, and very quickly were at the top. When Brian and I were there in June, it had been a bit windy and unpleasant, and we'd not found the register, pretty thoroughly exploring one rock heap, less thoroughly (did I say it was windy and unpleasant?) the neighboring rock heap. So it was a tad embarrassing when the register was quickly found in that second pile of rock.
Oh well, at least we did visit the right summit, so there's no need to invoke the Peak Police! And the views are still quite astonishing.
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