Sheephole Mountains, Whipple Mountains
By: Jess Logan
Sheephole was scheduled for Sat. Mar 27. The leaders were the last to arrive and found the group waiting at the telephone company microwave tower in the 29 Palms-Amboy pass. Thirteen people made the easy climb and returned to the cars about 3 PM. Most of the group then adjourned to 29 Palms for dinner, after which the group began to break up. Two people had commitments in LA and a third party, Gene Andreosky, was leading a 100 Pks trip to Eureka and Chaparrosa on Sunday, so our lot dwindled to ten.
We drove over the Dale Lake and Parker Dam roads to Vidal Jct. For a camp spot, we had chosen to use the large level spot along the north side of the aqueduct on the road into Whipple Mtn. This road turns off the Parker Dam road 4.2 miles east of Vidal Jct. In past years, this was one of the major roads of the area, and one of the old signs indicating Vidal (south) and Chambers Well (north) still stands about 200 yds off the highway. This confirms one is on the correct road. (One other member of our group found that there are eight other dirt roads in this area.)
For the Sunday climb, we decided to start south of Whipple's Summit (on the road to Parker), rather than west of the summit (on the road to Wells). To reach this point, we drove in on the Chamber's Well road until we came to a road entering from the right (at about 5 miles). There is a bench mark at this intersection. We turned sharply right on this road for two bumpy miles and parked the cars. We had intended to follow the watercourse that heads in the general direction of the highest point visible from the cars. The true summit is behind this point. On the ascent, however, we experienced difficulty in choosing the right branches and gained the ridge west of our intended point. This error added some distance to the climb, but caused no other problems. All 10 people made the summit without difficulty. The descent was made down the correct watercourse.
This route is not easy to follow on the topo map. The stream beds are generally rocky, but not difficult to travel in. This particular route was chosen since it avoids some of the up and down hiking found on the normal route. The climb was scheduled a bit too late in the year, weather-wise, as the temperature was about 10 degrees above that for optimum climbing. -Jess Logan & Neko Colevins
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