Cady Mountain, Ship Mountain, East Bristol Peak, Sleeping Beauty Peak


By: Andy Smatko


The following is an account of four climbs to previously unexplored peaks in the Mojave Desert. These are: Cady Mtn 4,627', Ship Mtn 3,239', East Bristol 2,883', & Sleeping Beauty 3,980'. Having seen East Bristol and Sleeping Beauty several times from Rts 66, and intrigued by the multi-colored ridges and canyons, Ellen Siegel, Larry Kelly, & I climbed these two peeks, and in addition, the high points of the Cody Mtns, and Ship Mtns.

Getting an early start on Sat we began climbing Cady at an elev of 2,600', up a broad wash S of the peak and up a colorful gully to the summit. The panoramic view from this vantage point was truly vast-from San Jacinto on the W, Clark Mtn toward the N, Providence range to the E, and the Big Maria's to the S-plus all the other well-known Desert Ranges near the latter three mentioned above. The road into the start of the climb is reasonably good for a standard car. That same day, Sleeping Beauty Mtn-a real beauty for its wide range of colors, and to my opinion the most brilliantly-hued of all the Desert Peaks, was climbed from the S. This mountain is spectacular from Highway 66, because of the maze of dramatic ridges and canyons. Its gain was 1,700' and route finding was tricky. Some easy third class was pursued. This was a 4 mile hike.

On Sun from a point west of the Ship Mtns near the Santa Fe tracks, we started across the desert floor which has been criss-crossed by Operation Desert Strike. The tracks are beginning to be obliterated by the rain and winds, although a few more years will be needed for this. The closer we approached the Mtns the more steep and rugged they looked. The high point required some easy third class scrambling up a steep ridge for about a hundred feet. Gain was about 2,000' and hiking 6-1/2 mi closer to 7 really.

After a short lunch, from a point leading N to Kelso, opposite the mine on the hillside, we followed a rough road to gain a ridge extending NE from the main E ridge and this latter one was followed for reaching the summit. One rough limestone pinnacle again put us in third class gear. This mtn is not as spectacular as Sleeping Beauty. The view from the summit is panoramic and although not the high point of the Bristol Range, it is so far away from the high point (30 miles as the raven flies) that it is the dominant peak of the lower half of the Bristol Range. Gain was 1,500' but allowing for ups and downs on the ridge-closer to l,700' within 4 miles.

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