By: Bob Michael
This peak is almost worth climbing for the wonderful name alone. But, it is also a distinctive and handsome crag as seen from I-40 east of Barstow. It is featured in the opening scene of the movie "Bagdad Cafe", filmed in nearby Newberry Springs. As I drove out to Neal Scott's list finish last New Year's, it was so soaked in alpenglow light that its dark volcanic rock seemed to radiate from within like hot incandescent iron.
The most direct approach to the peak is from old highway 66, about 71 miles W of Ludlow and h mile E of where 66 crosses from the S to the N side of I-40 on an overpass (with no freeway access). A fair dirt road leads due N 2.5 miles to a long-abandoned quarry. Unfortunately, a sand dune has drifted across the very entrance to the road; checking it out, I could see there was a real danger of getting my 2WD truck mired. So, I strolled on foot up to the quarry on one of the first real warm days of oncoming Spring. The terrain at the quarry is heavily gullied and chewed up with dozer cuts; moreover, the straight-ahead route on the peak looked quite unpleasant. I found it best to veer left into a prominent wash shown as an intermittent stream on the topo. A quarter mile up the wash, I turned left out of the main can-yon and climbed a side canyon that offered easier terrain. I then made an ascending easterly traverse to a draw behind a sharp little 3240' crag, and followed the draw to a saddle at 3340'. Here, the terrain forces you to drop at least 120'; the easiest route on the final stretch is to climb a broad draw on the far side of the drop to a saddle at 3450' and then turn NE, dropping behind a little ridge to finish up a gully that heads NE to the summit. A somewhat tricky and intricate route on often rather harsh terrain, bouldery canyons and steep slopes clad with loose volcanic rubble.
Probable fragments of a destroyed register were found on top; I left a new one. Interesting views to the N of some, very remote, almost roadless country in the central Cady Mountains. Granite Mountain rears massively in the E.
The southernly view was enlivend by bombing practice on the Marine Corps base south of Pisgah Crater; orange fireballs and mushrooms of bluish smoke would be followed by percussive BOOPs. (Your tax dollars at work!)
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