Chemehuevi Peak, Stepladder Mountains


By: Patty Kline


On Saturday morning December 9th our group met for Stepladder 12 miles south on US 95 from Interstate 40 at Needles. Here we took a good dirt road into Stepladder. After a while we noticed that John Gibba's jeep wasn't there. One of the trip participants helped him get a part in Needles. John was ready to go that afternoon. He now says he may finish the list on Stepladder.

I got many brush scratches on my vehicle driving out to Stepladder which seemed never to polish out. This is a new slightly long hiking route for Stepladder because of the Desert Protection Act. It was beautiful with great expanses of flat desert in front of Stepladder.

Many desert tortoise shells were lying on the ground. I even saw some Indian pottery shards. This hike was 10 miles round trip and 1200 feet of gain. Stepladder is 2927 feet in elevation and class 2.

We camped a few miles back from the roadhead for Stepladder with even the lowest 2WD making it. The Roaches served great tacos for everyone after we all hogged out on munchies for happy hour.

The next day we cut off 2 legs of a triangle of driving for the diagonal road intersection. Chemehuevi by turning right at the diagonal road intersection.. This diagonal is 7 miles in from Hwy 95 on the dirt road we first met on Saturday morning after turning right coming from Stepladder. This diagonal road heads SE and intersects Hwy 95 21 miles S of Needles and becomes the dirt road to Chemehuevi Peak after crossing Hwy 95. This shows nicely on the San Bernardino County Auto Club map.

Chemehuevi Peak at 3694 feet was 7-1/2 miles round trip and 2000 feet of gain and class 2. After a pleasant climb of Chemehuevi I talked myself out of a traffic ticket. I was stopped by a radar police car 12 miles south of Needles. I was going 65. The legal speed limit there was 55. I told the policeman 2 vehicles passed me going a lot faster. He said he would radio the police car in Needles to get them, and I could just go on with no ticket. Sure enough when I got to Needles, they nailed the pickup truck which passed me going about 80.

The participants were Randy Ragland, Lori Lando, Eric Beck, Fred Smith, Ron Matson, John Gibba and Neal Scott. Thank you so much to Greg and Mirna Roach for leading this great trip with me.

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