Pinto Mountain


By: Igor Mamedalin


On Sunday morning after feasting on Linda McDermott’ s pancake breakfast ten revelers from the prior night’s Chili Cook-off were ready to embark on the climb of Pinto Mountain via an exploratory route. Greg Roach volunteered to assist in this adventure. From the Chili Cook-off site we continued southeast on the high clearance road past numerous spurs to mining claims. After exploring a couple of misleading spurs we arrived at the end of a track in wash promising to lead up toward the peak. With the abundance of roads leading to various mining claims, a map and a GPS proved useful to ascertain our location.

From the end of the track we followed the wash up a canyon to the first major “5” turn in the canyon. Here we turned “left” at a joining wash flowing in from the southeast. Shortly this wash also passes through an “5” turn in the canyon. After following through the second “5” turn we were rewarded with the sight of the true Pinto Mountain and headed for it pretty much on a straight bearing. On the return trip we learned that we could have saved a few ups and downs by continuing up the wash. Along the way to the summit we were doused by a couple of lingering showers from the preceding night’s storm.

The summit of Pinto is graced with a towering 20-foot cairn. After eating lunch, signing the register and marveling at the wonderful vistas of JTNP with San Gorgonio and San Jacinto in the distance, we returned back to the cars varying the route only slightly. After climbing Pinto four times by different routes, I found this to be the most pleasant and interesting route. For those interested in trying this route I have included the directions to the road end below. Many thanks to Greg Roach for assisting on the hike and to the participants for their courage to join in an exploratory.

Directions for Pinto Mountain’s Northwest route:

  • From the traffic signal in Twenty-Nine Palms continue east on highway 62 for approximately 10.9 miles to the intersection with Shelton Road (signed). This is near milepost 44.
  • From the intersection with Shelton Road proceed east along highway 62 for another 100 yards to Artemecia (signed) dirt road on the south side of 62. Turn right on Artemecia. There are several desert villas in the area, avoid private driveways.
  • Follow this graded dirt road as it curves to the southeast and deteriorates once it leaves the vicinity of the desert villas. Avoid all spurs to the right.
  • Approximately 6+ miles from highway 62 the road crosses a major wide wash. After crossing the major wash turn right on the track heading parallel to the wash across vast stretches of desert pavement. Just before the major wash crossing there are several false right spurs leading to dead end mining claims.
  • From the fork above the wash in the preceding step one can follow the deteriorating dirt track for another 4 miles until it fades in the sands of the wash. Park and continue up the wash as described in the write-up.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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