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01L

Backus Peak

6651'
(UTM 155460)

Location: Kern County, about 43 miles north of Mojave, 140 miles from Los Angeles

Maps

Auto Club: Kern County
Forest Service: Sequoia National Forest
USGS Topo: Owens Peak 7½, Freeman Junction7½
HPS: Route(s), waypoints and explanation of usage

Nearby Peaks: Russell Peak (Russell Peak can be hiked from Backus Peak.)

Printable version of this route

ROUTE 1

Distance: 6 miles round trip on road and cross-country
Gain: 2700'
Time: 4-5 hours round trip
Rating: Class 1, moderate
Navigation: Moderate route finding
Access: Do not park past the Wilderness boundary signs

Original: Byron Prinzmetal, April 1999

DRIVING ROUTE 1

  • Take SR 14 north to Mojave.
  • Continue north on SR 14 to the intersection with SR 178 (Freeman Junction).
  • Go west on SR 178 2.4 miles to a dirt road on the north side of the highway. Park here. Unlimited parking space. If you are coming from the west, it is 6 miles from Walker Pass summit to the parking location. There is a call box numbered 178-858 on the south side of SR 178 opposite the turnoff.

HIKING ROUTE 1

  • From the parking area walk north on the dirt road approximately 1 mile to where you are south-southeast of bump 5123'.
  • Leave the road and walk northeast crossing several gullies aiming for just north of bump 5389'+ that is on the ridge that descends southeast from Backus Peak. Be sure to note the location where you left the road in relationship to bump 5389' for your return. You can also walk both up and down the prominent gully which starts at the parking area to the slope that leads up to bump 5389'. The gully runs generally north-south and parallels the road on the east.
  • When you obtain this ridge turn northwest and walk up the ridge to the summit. Note the summit register is on the most northern bump.

Printable version of this route

ROUTE 2

Distance: 8 miles round trip on trail and rocky cross-country
Gain: 3700'
Time: 8 hours round trip
Rating: Class 2, strenuous
Navigation: Moderate route finding
Access: Do not park past the Wilderness boundary signs.

Original: Byron Prinzmetal, April 1999

DRIVING ROUTE 2

  • Take SR 14 north to Mojave.
  • Continue north on SR 14 to the intersection with SR 178 (Freeman Junction).
  • Go west on SR 178 4.7 miles to a dirt road on the north side of the highway. Park here. Unlimited parking space. If you are coming from the west, it is 3.7 miles from Walker Pass summit to the parking location.

Note: You will save several miles of hiking if you leave a car at the parking spot for Route 1.

HIKING ROUTE 2

  • From Russell Peak hike southeast along the ridge passing over bump 6515'.
  • Continue along the ridge staying to the south side of bumps 6661' and 6582'.
  • Continue past bump 6582' up the ridge to Backus Peak.

The ridge from Russell to Backus is only 2 miles long, but plan for it to take at least three hours due to route finding and rocky cross-country travel. There is 900' of gain and loss along this ridge. You should not traverse any of the bumps on the north side. All rock outcrops should be skirted to the south. There is a faint use trail developing and one should look for it.

Note: The route can be hiked in reverse from Backus to Russell. This direction is recommended by some hikers. There is quite a bit of scree on Russell which would make a fast easy descent. The footing up Backus is good and would be easier to hike up. The route from Backus to Russell would add 500' of gain.


SPECIAL CONDITIONS

All car travel is prohibited beyond the Wilderness marker on the dirt road.

Along the ridge from Russell Peak to Backus Peak there are many cliffs and pinnacles. You can avoid all of these areas by generally staying to their south. If you find you are entering areas that require rock climbing skills, backtrack and find a better route.

Please report any corrections or changes to the Mountain Records Chair.


Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
Published 31-December-2005
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