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23G Onyx Peak #1

Location: San Bernardino County, California

Named after an old onyx mine on the eastern slopes in Pipes Canyon. State Mining Reports yield no additional information on this site.

It is believed that Onyx was probably once known by the Serrano Indians as "Apava'tsiveat". This was an Indian boundary, on the west slope were Yuhavetum, and on the east slopes were Aturaviatum Serrano Indians. This was an important Pinyon nut gathering area for these Indians. It is also the headwaters of Arrastre Creek which is a distant tributary of the Colorado River.

Onyx is a striped and milky semiprecious variety of the mineral agate. Because it is layered in different colors, it is the preferred medium for intaglio and cameo jewelry carving. Its properties are the same as quartz (crystallized silicon dioxide). Quartz crystals surmounting ceremonial wands of indigenous peoples have been unearthed throughout Southern California. The word "onyx" is derived from Greek "onux", which means claw or fingernail, hence onyx because the carnelian variety of this gemstone has a vein of white on a fleshy pink background that appears to be like a cuticle. Onyx is one of the twelve stones that adorn the breastplate of the High Priest (Exodus 28:20). Onyx is alternatively the gem of Aquarius, and representative of conjugal love, or the gem of Leo and representative of discord among lovers. Onyx is once worn around the neck to stimulate the spleen, allay pain, and dispel terror or melancholy. Onyx is also relied on to reflect the effects of "the evil eye" back to their source.

Name first appears on USFS San Bernardino National Forest map (1959).

Peak was added to the HPS Peak List in 1961.


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Updated 25-February-2003