Hayford Peak, Mount Stirling


By: Bill T. Russell


Twenty-two people met at the Corn Creek Field Station of the Desert Wildlife Range at 7:00 a. m. The station is about four miles from Hwy 95 on a good dirt road which leaves Hwy 95 about nine miles beyond the junction with State Hwy 39. We consolidated cars and drove about 15 miles over reasonably good dirt road up Alamo Valley. We then turned east on the Hidden Forest Road and drove four miles to its end at about elevation 6, 000 ft. We hiked up the broad wash for about five miles to Hidden Forest Cabin (elevation 7, 900 ft). From here we hiked up the ridge which starts . 3 mile northwest of the cabin and on to the summit. It was very cold and windy on top, with some snow on the ground. One person returned to the cars and twenty-one made the peak. We descended via the wash which is west of the ascent ridge and found this to be a very nice route. We reached the cars about 5:00 p.m. and then drove to a spot 1-1/2 miles south of the highway on the dirt road leading to Mt. Stirling. This road leaves Hwy 95 about 11. 3 miles beyond Indian Springs at a place where an asphalt strip connects the east and west lanes of the highway. We had a fairly strong, cold wind during the evening.

Sunday morning we needed no urging to get up at 5:30 a. m. because a light rain (or heavy mist) was in the air. Stirling and its surrounding mountains were encased in clouds and the general weather picture looked quite doubtful. Some people signed out immediately and left for home. Another group of four signed out immediately for the peak, while the leader, with the main body, decided to wait for an hour to see what developed. After an hour the weather was no worse so we drove to the road head and climbed the peak. The road is as shown on the topo map. It goes through Section 8, then into the middle of Section 7, and runs south upward through a valley into Section 19. There is a steep wash to cross in Section 7, followed by a delicate, side hill stretch. Vans, short wheel base cars and my LTD made it, but most standard American cars might have trouble.

We climbed in a semi-whiteout with snow flurries and with a few inches of wet snow on the ground and on the brush. We went directly up a feeder ridge (southwestward) to the main ridge and then along it westward and then southward to the summit. We had zero visibility on top and descended by the same route, with a round-trip time of about 2.5 hours. Eight people were in the main party and the earlier party of four also signed the register.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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