Kelso Peak, Marble Mountain


By: Paul Lipsohn


Thirty-two climbers surrounded the town of Kelso, eager to start our trip, despite the sour weather forecasts. Pooling cars into all high-clearance types in anticipation of wash-outs from the preceding weeks' rain proved unnecessary, since even the Detroit models could have driven in with no difficulty.

Starting from the canyon on the south-east side of the peak, we proceeded northwest about two miles, then turned up the major wash that descends the east face, keeping right at all of the forks. Despite our best efforts to hold the group back, we were on the summit in about two hours and had an early lunch. I was surprised to note that the register had been untouched since my first trip up Old Dad 18 months earlier.

Returning to the cars, the troops were not prepared to call it a day, so split into several groups--about 12 headed up Kelso Peak; six intrepid souls headed for Marl B.M. and the rest regrouped in Kelso.

The Kelso Peak climb was duly accomplished, thanks to a 4-wheel drive ride across the fan and all were down by dark. The Marl B.M. crew, calling upon all their years of mountaineering skills, managed, after a harrowing drive, to conquer their peak and return to the campsite at Cottonwood Springs safely. (That turned out to be a rather good thing, since both leaders were on the Marl expedition.)

Saturday night the anticipated rain failed to materialize, driven off no doubt by the Baccanalian whoops of a portion of our group under the erroneous impression that they were part of a group sing-in. Sunday dawned bright and crisp for most, and we were soon off for the peak. Again our efforts to curb our strong group (down to an even two dozen) were unsuccessful and again we arrived on the summit too early for lunch. Eat we did, and leisurely, while most folks talked about the possibility of getting Marble on the way home. Four of our group left to climb the bench-mark on the west end of the ridge, promising to catch us at Marble, and the majority of the group passed over the high point one-quarter mile to the north before returning to the cars.

About two miles before the correct turnoff for Marble, we were flagged down by two of our earlier members who, having done Granite, had decided to do Marble and get an early start for home. They had strayed onto the wrong road and had one car hopelessly bogged down on a steep hill, nearly standing on end. Thanks to Roy Ward's 4-wheel drive and several cables, we managed to free the vehicle and resume our trip.

Marble is really easy to find.....from the Kelbaker road turn east onto the buried gas line and drive in about three miles to milepost 67. Go as far in on the road to your right as you feel wise, then climb the obvious peak on your right.

We raced up Marble, then waited for the rear guard before returning to the cars, passing our four bench-markers on the way down. Regrouping at the cars, we escorted a Pontiac with a horrible rapping noise into Amboy, where it was discovered that the flywheel was hitting the housing. The trip ended with most of the survivors meeting in Barstow for a Chinese feed.

One of our guests, Ezra Krendell from Swarthmore, Pa., who already holds the distinction of being the only member of the H.P.S. to qualify for membership while living east of the Mississippi, is now closing in on D.P.S. membership, and needs only two more business (?) trips to make it.

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