Mopah Point, Umpah Peak, Spectre Point


By: Dave Jurasevich


On Saturday morning a group consisting of Richard Carey, Paul Freiman, Rheta Schoenman, R.J. ?, En Lee Lin and I started from the Mopah Peak trailhead described in the Peaks Guide for a day climb of Mopah and Umpah Peaks. Mopah was climbed first by the standard 3rd class route; nothing much could be added to the writeup in the Peak Guide. Umpah was then climbed by the following route: The prominent gully on the N side of the peak is climbed to its headwall, which is easily overcome on its right margin. From here continue up easy slopes, keeping Umpah's cliffs on your right, eventually reaching the eastern skyline ridge. Either climb this ridge (class 3+) or cross over it, dropping down its southern side to easy terrain which can be followed up to the summit area. The summit rocks can be climbed via a class 2+ chimney on the SSE side or a bit harder class 3 wall on the S side. Umpah is the high point of the Mopah range by 23 feet over Mopah Pt., but all agreed it to be inferior to Mopah in difficulty and soundness of rock. Although we did take a rope to Umpah, nothing difficult presented itself to warrant its use. Total RT 9 miles, 3800 ft gain, 8 hrs.

Following an uneventful hike back to the cars, we drove out and to the Spectre trailhead, where we joined a campfire in progress, courtesy of Ken Olson, who drove up from San Diego to join us for Sunday's hike. The ascent route on Spectre (see map inset, Route A) was one I'd done in April 1982 and isn't currently described in the guide. Following are details of Drive/Approach and Climb: Drive/Approach: Follow Peaks Guide to concrete slab 3.5 mi from Hwy 62. Continue another 0.6 mi. and park(approx. 0.2 mi. past Joshua Tree NM boundary sign). Road is quite sandy. 4WD's recommended. Climb: Hike SW up steep cut in bank adjacent to road. In 1/4 mi. drop into obvious wash located W of Point 1083T. Ascend SE up wash to a saddle at elev. 1120 meters (3675 ft.) at UTM 475664. Continuing SE, hike 0.1 mi. to an E-W wash approx. 100 ft lower than saddle. Bear right and follow wash up to a second saddle just W of peak "Aqua" (AKA Tensor), keeping left at all forks. From this second saddle, Spectre can be seen at magnetic bearing 185. Hike SSE to base of peak and up N face or NE ridge to the top.

The group then returned to the cars via the DPS standard route (see map inset, Route B). 21/2 hrs up, 21/2 hrs down. At least 1 hr could be shaved of f a RT if Route A is taken both ways. Total RT 5 miles, 2000 ft gain.

P.S. Martha Flores was also a participant on all three peaks.

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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