Mesquite Mountains, Maverick Brothers Mountains, Monument Peak, Whipple Mountains, Woods Mountains, North Tower, South Tower, Der Tooth, Wilson Hills, Granite Mountains, Clark Mountains, Mohawk Hills, New York Mountains


By: Andy Smatko



Chronicled hereafter are five week-end trips during which 47 ascents of various summits were made, mostly in the company of Bill Schuler and Ed Treacy. Comments will be reserved for those peaks which were considered most spectacular, and for the same reason, most deserving of DPS consideration.

Over the weekend of Feb 13-15, ascents were made of Peaks 4702', 4680' and 5031' in the Mesquite Mtns NNW of the Clark Mtns and of Peak 5419' in the Clark Mtns just north of Keany Pass. This was on Saturday and involved 3000' of gain. Sunday we visited the volcanic cones east of Baker, eleven of which were climbed. Many of these cones have rough (undrivable) roads on them, along which the ascents can be made. Several of the cones had beautiful white, candy dry lakes in their craters, rimmed by a collar of dark green mesquite bushes. I imagine that following an ample rain, these lakes would hold water for 4-5 days and would be even more striking to behold. On Monday the 15th we climbed the high point of the Maverick Brothers Mtns, actually two summits about 1/3 mile apart and nearly identical in elevation.

The next jaunt saw Bill and myself in the eastern end of the Whipples and culminated in the ascent of Monument Peak on Saturday the 27th of Feb. This is a most striking peak from any direction and looks impregnable because of sheer and overhanging cliffs on all sides. However, George Barnes had earlier in the year found a hidden second class chute on the northwest side which broke through the cliffs, allowing access to the cholla covered summit plateau. From the summit, the monument itself, a pinnacle on the east ridge looked insignificantly lower, but awesomely difficult. It has been climbed at least three times that I know of, and is an evilly loose fifth class climb. I would unreservedly recommend Monument Peak for DPS listing as this is not only a fine climb but lies in a beautifully rugged area. That afternoon we climbed the high point of the Whipples, my second ascent of the range. The next day we climbed Peak 3467' in the Moapa Range of the Turtle Mtns. This peak is guarded by cliffs on all sides except the south and its ascent involves a long hike in. Mopah and Oompah Peaks thrust up their spectacular summits immediately to the north, but we didn't have time for either one.

Over the weekend of March 20-21 Bill, Ed, Al Straubinger, Chuck Denton, and I visited our favorite Gold Valley area and we climbed Peaks 4800+', 4840+', 4680+', and 4720' in the ENE part of the Woods Mtns and Peak 4824' to the east of the Woods Mtns. All of these were first ascents, and involved some third class climbing. Later that afternoon we climbed two towers, accessible from Wildhorse Canyon and lying southwest of VABN Barber in the Mid Hills region. We named these North and South Tower, 5000+' and 5040+' respectively and these two summits were really good third class climbs. These two towers are spectacular enough to recommend for DPS status. Fine high desert camping is present at the base of the northern of the towers. The next day we climbed a cliff girdled mesa (49741) 2.75 miles SSW of VABN Barber, Peak 5586' in the Mid Hills and finally our fourth ascent of Der Tooth in the Mid Hills. To our surprise we found that the climbing Siemens had made the fourth ascent a month before ours. This peak is fourth class and I would recommend it highly for DPS status.

Over the weekend of April 3-4 we made a number of ascents in the Ord Mtn Quad, namely Peaks 4574', 4840+' (both SSW of the Ord Mtn high point), 4636', the high point of the Wilson Hills and the VABN in the Wilson Hills - all on Saturday. Sunday we climbed Peaks 4827', 4883' and 4824' in the Granite Mtns east of Apple Valley. These latter ones, were first ascents.

Our last spring outing saw us climbing Clark Mtn and the two nearly as high eastern summits of Clark Mtn, Mohawk Hill and Peak 5256' lying northeast of Kokoweef Peak in the Ivanpahs. Sunday we climbed the high point of the New York Mtns and the spectacular pinnacle 7246' lying to the northeast. This was a fourth class climb, involving two fifth class pitches. It is the highest of a series of four pinnacles in the immediate area and is only about 10-12 feet higher than the one just southeast. Ours was a first ascent and we left a cairn but had no makings for a registers With the ascent of the Wilson Hills I have now climbed the high points of all the named and unnamed mountain ranges in San Bernardino County.

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