Spectre Point


By: Wes Shelberg



There is a particularly sculpturesque route up Spectre from the east which I have soloed many times. The purpose of describing it here is to call attention to a hauntingly beautiful boulder canyon which makes the Spectre experience outstanding. The topo map is Cadiz Valley, 15 Min.

The accompanying self-explanatory road map identifies the "route-head". Two road-head spurs (# 1 and # 2) are identified on this map and are also shown on two AAA Maps (San Bernardino County and Riverside County). Spur # 1 is very faint and you may have to cross a dirt berm if the Highway Dept. has recently used the road scraper on Highway #62. Spur # 2 is also faint and you may have to look carefully for it, but once seen its tire tracks are easily followed. For rough orientation purposes only, the road-head area is delineated on the topo map by the red number 31, an area one mile square its south side being the San Bernardino-Riverside county boundary. Be advised that the road-head area is a sandy wash. American passenger cars would probably get stuck, Volkswagen drivers will have to use their own judgement and customarily demonstrated skill, and 4-wheelers may proceed easily although I recommend not 4-wheeling clear to the impediment at the narrows by the National Monument boundary in order to avoid imprinting offensive tire tracks in the wash.

Proceed up the wash into the National Monument and enjoy its fine boulders and exceptionally weathered and sculptured granitic walls. It may take some searching to get past the area of the biggest bouldery waterfall (roughly where the indicated drainage crosses the county line on the topo map) in order to keep at a low Class 3, but at least near the top of the falls area look for a short talus cave (hole) to go through and up. Needless to say, always look for rattlesnakes when poking around holes and boulders. Proceed until this canyon ends by perpendicularly intersecting a larger, very flat one that trends NW and SE (just above the letter M in the word MOUNTAINS on the topo map). Turn right (NW) and follow the route depicted by the blue drainage line. There is a large duck (unless it has been destroyed) at the mouth of the gulch into which the main drainage enters as it turns westward after about 3/4 mile from the intersection. The topo depicts this gulch as two millimeters below the county line; be careful not to enter the first gulch you see opening to the west which is depicted 4 millimeters below the county line. Proceed straight up the gulch (canyon) avoiding a temptation to go into an area which opens up to your right (north) after being in the gulch for perhaps 1/4 mile. When you are perhaps 3/4 of the way up the long canyon, keep looking at the top of the canyon wall to your right (north) in order to see the gigantic hand giving the "V For Victory" or "Peace" sign. Continue past the south side of Agua to the small picturesque valley depicted on the topo map by the letter M in the word COXCOMB. Then climb Spectre on the SW rim as is usually done. Distance from vehicle to summit (one way) is about 4 miles as measured on the map.

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