Dawns Peak


By: Wes Shelberg


Peak 6582 in the brooding Santa Rosa Mtns is located on the Clark Lake NE Quadrangle (CA, 7.5 Min, Coordinates 640022). The peak (supposedly named Dawns Peak on some maps) is a great desert summit: isolated, remote, high, steep, tough, dry (when snowless), scenic, and best-of all lonely. I went there alone on 15 March 80, and subsequently with Jack Grams (19 Dec 80), Kim Walch (10 Mar 84), and Paul Freiman (6 Dec 87).

The accompanying topo map is a composite from the Clark Lake NE and Collins Valley Quads both CA and 7.5-min and shows a route through colorful Rockhouse Canyon to the summit. Jerry Schad in his book, "Afoot and Afield in San Diego County", traces a route from upper Clark Valley, but I prefer the route shown herein thru Rockhouse Canyon for sentimental reasons, for the quality jeep-road drive to the wilderness-area's road-closure near Hidden Spring, and for Rockhouse Canyon itself. Refer to the AAA San Diego County Map (MAP Coordinates C-l3): Take highway S22 east from Christmas Circle Borrego Springs, CA for 7.2-miles and there (0.5-mile east of the Pegleg Smith Monument turn north on the road that skirts the west side of Clark Dry Lake. Proceed 9.2 miles to the junction for Rockhouse and Butler Canyons and then take the right, Rockhouse Canyon fork to its closure about 0.4-mile before Hidden Spring. The Rockhouse Canyon fork requires 4WD for sure, and you are early in the fall season after summertime floods you could have the difficult but enjoyable task of pioneering a road thru boulders. The road is usually established by jeepers during the winter season. Proceed from the road closure to Dawns Peak according to the accompanying topo map. One-way hiking/climbing distance, elevation gain and Class are 6.0-miles, 4702-ft, and rough Class Two. The round trip has always been sunrise/sunset with a short time on the summit. A DPS register is in the base of the huge cairn at the edge of the precipice at the summit; Look closely for it.

When the DPS route was part new,
The report said much that was new and was true.
But that which was new was not very true,
And that which was true was not new.

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