Hedron Peak, Pinto Mountain


By: Trudie Hunt


Joshua Tree National Monument is a favorite climbing and camping area in winter for both the 100 Peaks and the Desert Peaks Sections, the DPS claiming Eagle Mountain in the southeast corner. Although Pinto Peak to the north of vast Pinto Basin is Less than 4000 feet high it dominates a large desert area. That it might be worthy of inclusion on the DPS List was tested on Jan. 29 when 26 climbers explored a route to its summit. A ring around the sun in the early morning, weather reports of rain, made the weather inauspicious, but the shade was welcome as we walked across the sand of the desert at least two miles to the canyon leading east and parallel to the summit ridge. The sand was full of "booby traps" and even the most wary occasionally fell through into an ant or prairie dog bedroom. The going got steeper as we turned north into a subsidiary canyon and eventually had to climb steeply to the ridge leading to the summit. The ridge was beautiful with large pieces of quartzite, and in one area cholla and ocotillo was found. There was much evidence of bighorn sheepbeds, droppings and trails. After three and a half hours the last of the climbers had reached the summit on which an eight foot cairn was very carefully constructed.
BR>The Saturday before this climb the group had met at Squaw Tanks to climb in about an hour and a half to the westernmost peak of the Hexie Range, which was dubbed "Hedron" after the Hexie Hedron Mine at its base. Youngest of the climbers was papoose, aged 1-1/2, carried on the back of his father, a jeweler from Holland. The internationalism was further exemplified by the presence of an American Field Service exchange student from Sweden.

Campfire found a rather cold group gathering round a huge fire, a fire acceptable however to the most ardent of conservationists as one after another old tires were burned, a solution to the litter as well as the temperature problem. We were amazed at the lack of smell emanating from the black smoke. Walt Wheelock had really boned up on the geology and history of the region and the mode of living of the Pinto Man which he shared with the group. A most interested listener was the ranger, recently arrived from the middle west.

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

DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section