By: Dave Jurasevich
Arthur Lin and I started off the 94-95 desert peaking season with a climb of this seldom done highpoint of the Calumet Range. The range is identified on the AAA California state map as the Marken Mountains, however this name does not appear on either the AAA's more detailed San Bernardino or Riverside county maps or on any 15 or 7.5 minute topos. Judging from the topos, it would appear to be a part of the Calumet Mountains.
DRIVE: At 0.3 miles east of State Highway 62 milepost marker 69 (approximately 35 miles east of Twentynine Palms, CA) turn north on a good dirt road. Follow it 0.5 miles to its intersection with an east-west running dirt road. Continue straight (NE) 0.9 miles on fair to good dirt to the end of the road. Park. Note: Standard 2WD's should easily be able to make this drive.
CLIMB: From the parking spot the peak is visible about 3 miles to the NNE at a bearing of 20° It is the furthest right peaklet in the group and appears to be the highpoint as viewed from the cars. Head across the desert directly for the peak, skirting around the left side of hill 723. Keep track of this hill during the climb; it is a very useful navigation aid on your return to the vehicles, which will not be visible until you are very nearly on top of them! About 0.5 miles from the base of the mountain, you'll pick up a sand wash that can be followed north to its mouth, where two obvious options exist. The first option is to bear slightly right, following a boulder strewn chute and slope to the skyline ridge, then left (NW) to the summit. The second option is to bear slightly left (NNW), following rocky slopes to the summit. Either option is class 2 with an abundance of loose, decomposing granite.
RT STATS: 6 miles, 1600 feet net elevation gain, 4 hours.
MAPS: 7.5 mm topo Cadiz Valley NW, Calif. 1984, AAA San Bernardino County map.
NOTE: USGS benchmark "Range" 1956 on summit. Two previous ascents were recorded in the summit register, they being 6 Dec 1981 Gordon MacLeod and Barbara Lilley and 24 Jan 1988 John Vitz, Don Kirby and Bill Arrowsmith.
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