Stepladder Mountains, Chemehuevi Peak


By: Fred Camphausen


Both of these interesting low-desert peaks were climbed by 14 people during a scheduled DPS trip. We met early Sat, at the Turtle Mtn Rd intersection with Hwy 95, about 23 mi S of Needles. After consolidating in 4 husky trucks and vans, we drove SW on the graded rd for 9.5 mi. A faint track was taken N (see AM San Berdoo Co map and Stepladder Mta 15' topo) to its apparent end in the broad Chemehuevi Wash. Following the wash, we approached the impressive Stepladder pinnacles until just short of the saddle at the head of the wash. As we climbed upward on the volcanic breccia Barbara Reber remembered the proper gully to be taken. Two dihedrals visibly leading to a notch were reached and the one on the L was the obvious one to be followed to a series of short ledges and ramps, It is Cl. 2 to the notch N of the summit and up the short scramble to the summit fin. The small summit, necessitating a Cl. 3 move, can hold only 3-4 people at a time. We were threatened by rain showers during the morning but were fortunately spared undue wetness. After brunch on the mtn we returned to the vehicles, 5 hrs. total time. We then drove to our camp near Chemehuevi Pk. We followed the power line rd until a sandy rd took off E toward the pk. this track gave out after 1/2 mi and we settled in for a pleasant evening in camp with a warming fire and stimulating conversation. It turned windy during the night. Starting out at 8 am, we hiked up the cyn leading to the ridge just N of Chemehuevi and followed the ridge to the summit. The wind drove away the threat of rain and it did calm down a bit during the climb. Again, brunch on the summit and a return to the cars after about 5 hrs of climbing. There was talk of speeding to Barstow to catch the Pro-Bowl game on TV. Barbara Reber provided the much appreciated assist and the good directions to the peaks.

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