Mitchell Point, Providence Mountains
By: Maris Valkass
This was one of the more unusual DPS trips. The 20% rain turned into a blizzard on Friday night in Cajon Pass, with snowfall as far as Victorville. Fortunately we made it over before chains were required.
We drove to Mitchell Caverns State Park where we camped, and which was also our meeting place. At 6 am we found ourselves in 3 inches of snow as far as the eye could see. It was beautiful! However, not conducive for hiking, particularly since most of us were not properly clothed.
We scratched the climb on Saturday and went on a tour of the caves, and small hikes on the snow covered trails. By afternoon the snow had melted at the lover elevations, so we decided to go and camp at the Bonanza King mine. We also explored a ridge behind the mine where you can see a fairly good size natural bridge. In the evening we had a nice campfire with an assortment of goodies.
Sunday morning was beautiful and cold. Thirteen of us started for Mitchell with the intention of doing the traverse. All of the snow was practically gone except for the higher ridges and north facing slopes. We went the "standard" routes up the large canyon just left of the mine, then turned left at the first canyon coming in from the left. Then climb up the slope on the right to the ridge, and follow the ridge to the peak. Running the ridge takes a lot longer than one would think. On the high ridge near the peak there was snow, it was quite windy and cold. We got to the summit by 12:30. Looking over to Providence we saw a lot of snow and the slopes exposed to the cold wind. When asked at what time shall we start the traverse, no one responded. Then all of a sudden everyone found a reason for wanting to go back to the cars.
Because of the cold wind and exposed ridge, we decided to return to the cars via the main canyon directly east of the peak. As one would expect, we encountered several water falls which we had to climb around. Actually the route is not too bad, if there had been no snow, or if we had short rappel rope (it is illegal now) we could have made it down quickly. The canyon is also very pretty. As it turned out, we got back to the cars at 6:30 pm. We had to use our flash lights for the last half hour.
Since my leg still is not up to par, I asked Ron Jones to lead the way back. He did a fine job of route finding with help from Bill and Gisela Kluwin. Steven Crooks was also very helpful in finding route as well as Karen Leonard and Bill Faulkner. My thanks to all of them. As a matter of fact, there was a lot of cooperation from everyone considering the unexpectedly long hike of almost 12 hours.
List of participants:
We experimented with our recently acquired portable CB radios. We could communicate between Mitchell Caverns and Bonanza King mine. I am not proposing a CB club, but it is useful in keeping the group together.
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