Shadow Mountains, Mesquite Mountains, Grotto Hills, Graveyard Hills, Bobcat Hills, Vontrigger Hills, Mount General, Red Hill, Lynx Cat Mountain, Silver Peak


By: Andy Smatko



On furthering an ambition, the New Yrs Weekend found Bill Schuler, Ellen Siegal, Bill Croxson and I rummaging up and over a number of S B Co ranges. On Fri AM, Ellen and I got Bill Croxson at Victorville, and went out the Barstow Freeway, turning off to the north on the third exit past Baker-the one leading to Shadow Valley. The afternoon was spent in climbing the high point and also the lone peak called Shadow Mtn just east of this named range. Both approach roads were poor, but they are negotiable with an average compact car. The views are most impressive, especially of the Kingston and Clark Ranges. That evening Ellen served us a wonder spaghetti dinner, fortifies with copious gulps of red wine to ward off the below-freezing weather. About 9 PM Bill Schuler dropped in on us, and we all enjoyed a blazing campfire.

The morning brought a generous thickness of fine frost to everything, and after thawing and drying out we started toward the ENE to Keany Pass. A few miles to the west of this spot a poor road leads NNW toward the Mesquite Mtns. This is a fairly large range and the actual summit is a chocolate brown and cream mass of rock. Only a bit of third class was noticed. The eastward view towards Devil Pk and Little Devil Pk at this time of day was accentuated by the sharp, steep northerly ridges and gullies on these two mtns. The snow-covered Clarks appeared almost Himalayan in their majesty. The westerly road to Keany Pass is good, but the easterly side is deeply eroded, steep, rock.

We then drove on past Invanpah, across the New York Mtns and from a point east of the Grotto Hills, left the cars and did this high point. We camped nearby and with the light of a tire fire, Ellen again put out a spread that has to be seen to be believed. A large colorful tablecloth of paper, six tall candles in holders, a small Christmas tree, and streamers were the decor for a most sumptuous feast of beef stroganoff, preceded by shrimp cocktails, asparagus spears, olives, pickles, horseradish dip, all washed down by three magnums of pink sparkling champagne. The cold again went hardly noticed until a brisk wind sprang up and retired us to the comfort of our down bags.

The next morning we climbed an unnamed group of hills east of the Grotto Hills and were amazed to see the large number of bones, some still with sinew attached, lying about on the mountainside. They had belonged to burrows, cattle, and one bobcat. We called these the "Graveyard Hills". Following this scamper, we reached Hackberry Mtn from the north, a rugged colorful range-and really more than a mtn! We saw three wild horses on its slopes. This area is volcanic in origin. Just to the northeast of Hackberry, we found ourselves in the Bobcat Hills. Strangely, this summit has a cap of granite boulders although parts of the rocky summit contain lavitic rocks.

Our day was rounded out with a sprint up the high point of the Vontrigger Hills-done from the southwest, and consisting of gently rounded hills with broad ridges and shallow canyons.

New Years Eve had arrived! It was spent in an abandoned schoolhouse in Goffs, where once again Ellen performed the mead of ham, sweet potatoes, cooked up with marischino cherries, pineapple and spices, Needless to repeat, the magnums lubricated our upper intestinal or rather alimentary tract. After dinner we drove to Barstow and delivered Bill. (he is a fireman at Lake Arrowhead and had to leave us this nite)

The three of us slept out on the eastern slopes of the Waterman Hills no. of Barstow. Freeze again! The next AM we drove to the NW side of Mt General, a large mtn mass, and climbed it. Next came Red Hill, with a later view from the top of Lynx Cat Mtn. On the sandy portions of this mtn we saw many tracks of either bobcats or lynxes. This peak has two rocky volcanic summits about 50' apart, and their appearance is striking and colorful. Later in the PM we drove over to the Shadow Mtns NW of Adelanto, and climbed both this high point and Silver Peak in this range.

The weekend added up to 14 summits of various heights and configurations, along with the unimaginable culinary delights.

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