Pilot Peak, Little Piute Mountains, Big Chief, Homers Nose, Signal Hill
By: Andy Smatko
ASSORTED DESERT PEAKS
At 7:30 a.m., Saturday, 13 people met at the appointed place 5 miles SE of Essex. The caravan, composed of eight cars, then proceed on the good graded road to a point west of Pilot Peak, 3227 ft This is a sharp1y pointed symmetrical peak of volcanic origin. The ascent was class II up the west slopes. The view of the vast Homer Wash Basin and the surrounding desert ranges was most impressive. Among our group was Debbie Kazlowski, age 14, who is a "Gung Ho" hiker. She was accompanied by her dad. Also in the group was George Barnes who came all the way from Menlo Park (near Palo Alto). George must really love the desert to come all the, way down here.
Following the c1imb of Pilot Peak, we caravanned to the west side of the Little Piute Mountains, 3472 ft., to the north of Pilot Peak. Ascent was via the west slopes - essentially Class I. Since it was relatively early in the afternoon, we elected to also climb Big Chief, 2,937 ft., which might proper1y be regarded as the Northern outpost of the Stepladder Mountains. Ascent of Big Chief was via the south slopes - Class I to II. Camp was made nearby in a flat sandy wash. The heavens Saturday night were ablaze with brilliant stars and many meteors.
Early Sunday morning we drove northwards to a point west of Homer Mountain, 3739-ft., a sprawling volcanic mountain several miles NE of Goffs. Ascent was via a complicated route from the west, but no basic difficulty was encountered. Following this peak we headed west and eventually reached the west side of Signal Hill, 3500 ft., also NNE of Goffs. The road driving up (sandy washes and some rutted roads) offered more of a challenge than the peaks themselves. Signal Hill is a black, volcanic peak and is readily climbed via the west slopes, Class I. It is amazing how extensive a view one is rewarded by gaining the summits of Desert Peaks. One could see for 50-75 miles in any direction. On reaching the town of Goffs the trip was officially declared to be completed and the respective participants wended their various ways homeward.
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