Stud Mountain & Little Picacho

December 2nd, 2012
Stud Mountain (2,130')
Little Picacho Peak (1,920')
[Pics] [MapStud] [Map Picacho]

After spending the previous two days climbing Baboquivari followed by a slightly less successful trip to Mexico which morphed into a somewhat bushy descent on Mount Ajo we had relocated out to Yuma after another lengthy late night drive.

Sunday morning we woke up in the desert north of Stud Mountain at what I'd loudly declared to be Camp Studly.

Cerro del Pinacate Attempt & Mount Ajo

December 1st, 2012
Cerro del Pinacate (3,937') (Attempt)
Mount Ajo  (4,808')
[Pics] [Map]

So while Baboquivari and Little Picacho were both repeats (the first redone because it qualified for an E provisional and the second because it's just a fun little climb) Cerro Pinacate was a peak in the area I still hadn't done.

Granted there was the small complication that it was 30 some miles into Mexico.

Baboquivari Sierra Club E Provisional #2

What: Baboquivari Peak (7,734')
When: November 30th, 2012
Where: Arizona
Who: Matthew Hengst, Neal Robbins, Mat Kelliher, Jack Kieffer, Jen Blackie, Mark Butski, Laurent Hoffman, Jeff Atijera
Pictures: Matt's Flickr  Neal's Pics
GPS Track: Matt's Track

This was to be my second time up Baboquivari after Jack Kieffer, Rudy Fleck, and myself ran down to Arizona last year and had braved 95 degree heat in order climb it along with Kino and Ajo.

This trip was also to be the second of my Sierra Club E Rock provisionals and had originally included a trip to Mexico for Cerro Pinacate followed by the always fun Little Picacho and the awesomely named Stud Mountain.

This ran afoul of Sierra Club policies and so instead we had a one day official trip followed by two unofficial days.  Fair enough.

Hayford Peak From Hidden Forest Trailhead

  Hayford Peak (9,912')
When:  November 26th, 2012
Where:  Nevada slightly north of Vegas
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Anne Kircher
Pictures:  Matt's Flickr
GPS Track:  Track

Day 4 of the 2012 Thanksgiving Turktacular and we had one more peak in our sights before retreating back to life in Southern California.  This time it was Hayford Peak which had a bit of gain along the way.

Virgin Peak DPS

  Virgin Peak (8,071')
When:  November 25th, 2012
Where:  Nowhere in particular, NV
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Anne Kircher
Pictures:  Matt's Flickr
GPS Track:  Track

We'd left Valley of Fire State Park (and it's depressingly nice hot showers) behind us the night before and driven several hours further east to the access to Virgin Peak past Whitney Pockets.

Virgin is a Desert Peak Section peak located near enough to Moapa Peak that it's usually logically grouped with that somewhat more interesting climb.  Of course Jack and I had paired Moapa with the also slightly more interesting 3rd class Muddy Peak when we led it back in December of 2011 so Anne and I were planning to grab it along with the peak usually paired with Muddy called Hayford Peak.  (Follow all of that?)

Two days into the 4 day Thanksgiving weekend we'd done 3 peaks and had too more to do.  And we didn't smell half bad.  Not too shabby!

Valley of Fire Peak In Nevada Valley of Fire State Park

  Valley of Fire Peak (2,972')
When:  November 24rd, 2012
Where:  Valley of Fire, Nevada
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Anne Kircher
Pictures:  Matt's Flickr
GPS Track:  Track

Yesterday Anne and I had kicked off the long Thanksgiving weekend with a somewhat relaxed day and scrambled up the relatively short White Dome & Gibraltar.  After looking at what the park had to offer I figured we could easily amuse ourselves for another day and then we'd probably head on and grab the relatively nearby Desert Peak Section list peaks Virgin and Hayford.

The remaining named bumps on the official park map (which wasn't the best, I'd strongly recommend bringing your own) weren't overly interesting looking so we decided to head for the high point we'd been able to see from White Dome the day before.  It had the advantage of being the most interesting looking thing around.

Valley of Fire White Dome & Gibraltar Rock

  White Dome (2,234')
  Gibraltar Rock (2,172')
When:  November 23rd, 2012
Where:  Valley of Fire, Nevada
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Anne Kircher
PicturesMatt's Flickr
GPS TrackTrack

Along I15 north of Las Vegas there's a sign I'd passed numerous times for Valley of Fire.  Generally it was late at night coming or going from some climb or another so I'd never taken the time to explore it.

After longer Thanksgiving trip plans fell through I ended up doing Thanksgiving dinner in town and then loaded into the car and headed for Vegas.  Not surprisingly traffic was fairly light.  One quick 11 pm stop at a Vegas Walmart for supplies and we were back on the road and pulled in to Valley of Fire sometime after midnight.

Cathedral Peak In Meadow Valley Mountains

  Cathedral Peak (5,775')
   J. J. Freakel Peak (5,681')
When:  November 18th, 2012
Where:  Nevada north of Las Vegas
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Rod Kieffer, Anne Kircher, Laurent Hoffman, Phil Bates
PicturesMatt's Flickr
GPS TrackTrack

We spent the night west of Alamo at our trail head for East Pahranagat after the previous day stroll up two relatively minor range high points. Today it was time to head south and climb the peaks that had originally brought us out this way called Cathedral and a rather striking unnamed neighboring bump.

Hyko Benchmark / S Pahroc Highpoint & East Pahranagat Range High Point Near Alamo Nevada

  South Pahroc HP / Hyko BM (7,950')
  East Pahranagat (~6,280')
When:  November 17th, 2012
Where:  Alamo, Nevada
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Rod Kieffer, Anne Kircher, Laurent Hoffman, Phil Bates, Ron Campbell
PicturesMatt's Flickr
GPS Track(Hyko)  (E Pahranagat)

This particular trip came about when Rod Kieffer approached me to a Sierra Club M restricted trip during desert season.  At this point I've pretty much done all of the 3rd+ class peaks on the Desert Peak Section list so I went off looking for interesting options.

And so was born the Hyko, East Pahranagat, Cathedral, and Unnamed Bump Trip or as Ron Campbell refered to it the Nevada Speed Bump Trip.

Granted they were a bit beyond our usual stomping grounds with the Hyko trailhead being about 390 miles from Orange County.  Yet Rod and I found ourselves with a respectable 4 participants willing to make the long haul Friday night.

Castle Peaks in Mojave

What:  Castle Peaks 
  South Dove (5,668')
  Dove Benchmark (5,830')
  North Castle Butte (5,896')  
When:  November 3rd, 2012
Where:  Mojave National Preserve, CA
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Anne Kircher, Jeff Atijera
PicturesMatt's Flickr
GPS TrackMatt's Track

Though the Sierra is still largely accessible I've been itching to get out to the desert for a while now and have been working on a number off list trip ideas.  

Castle Peaks is an interesting set of bumps out in eastern Mojave that anyone climbing in the area has probably noticed from a distance more than once.  While looking for interesting non DPS-list peaks to do I came across an extremely extensive writeup done by cp0915 over on SummitPost

3rd, 4th and 5th class bumps in the middle of nowhere best described as “impressive crud heap”?  Sold!

Teutonia & Cima Dome in Mojave

What:   Teutonia Peak (5,755'),
  Cima Dome (5,745' -ish?)
When: November 4th, 2012
Where: Mojave National Preserve, CA
Who:  Matthew Hengst, Anne Kircher, Jeff Atijera
Pictures:  Flickr
GPS Track:  Track

After spending all day Saturday exploring nearby Castle Peaks we needed something shorter for Sunday since we had to get Anne back to Orange County in time to catch a flight back to the Bay Area.  So I scaled back some larger ideas I had and went scrounging around for something suitably short, obscure, and at least somewhat interesting to round out the weekend.

Teutonia pretty much defines obscure, has an interesting name, and supposedly had some fun 3rd+ class scrambling.  That'll work!

Sierra Eats: Los Dos Toritos in Baker, CA

Name:  Los Dos Toritos
Type:  Mexcan Food (Of Course!)
Location:  Baker, CA
    Desert outings along I15 towards Vegas
    Visited after Castle Peaks Mojave and Manly & Needle Mustache Mosey
TL;DR:  Not the best but better than Del Taco.  Barely.

The outside is in slight disrepair
Welcome to Sierra Eats!  The irregular feature where we review the various hole in the wall Mexican (and occasionally non-Mexican) establishments we've eaten at after whatever outdoor adventure we were up to that weekend.  We're usually tired, starving, and craving salt after days slogging through the wilds eating trail food.

North Maggie & Moses From Maggie Lakes

October 27th to 29th, 2012
N Maggie Mountain (10,234')
[Pics] [Map]
10.5 miles, 2700 ft to camp
18 miles, 6700 ft peak loop
10.5 miles, 1900 ft out

This should have been a relaxed -ish trip taking advantage of a late season break in the weather to go climb North Maggie from Maggie Lakes.  However a slightly aggressive impulse to grab nearby Moses Mountain turned it into a bit more of an adventure.

Furthest of the DPS Peaks: Ruby Dome in Northern Nevada

What:  Ruby Dome (11,387')
When: October 12th & 13th, 2012
Where: Near Elko, NV
Who: Matthew Hengst, Anne Kircher
Pictures: Flickr
GPS Track: Track

Ruby Dome is the most distant peak on the Desert Peak Section list located about 780 miles from Los Angeles.  However it's only about 260 miles from Boise so it was pretty high on my list of things to get done before the eventual end of the Boise project.

This was actually my second attempt at Ruby Dome after climb last December left Jen Blackie and myself floundering in deep fluffy snow and running out of daylight several thousand feet below the summit.  This time we were back in October well before any significant snow had fallen.

Synching Garmin Basecamp across multiple machines using Dropbox

As I've mentioned elsewhere I'm rather a fan of the Garmin Basecamp software. Since I've spent the last half decade or so working out of state and most trips "home" are just long enough to do laundry and grab my outdoor gear before running screaming out to the wilderness somewhere it's very useful to me to be able to access all my old GPS tracks and planning resources across multiple computers.

Basecamp is intended to work on a single machine but with a bit of trickery you can utilize Dropbox (or similar cloud services) to synch the database between multiple machines.

Mount Shasta Via Hotlum-Wintun Ridge

June 16th & 17th, 2012
Mount Shasta (14,179')

This weekend was originally planned as a quick three day Sierra climb to grab Brewer, North Guard, and South Guard over Sphinx Col until during the Steve Eckert proposed that we do a quick Shasta trip as a warm-up for the planned July climb of Mt Olympus.

Shasta is one of the 15 14,000+ ft peaks in California and therefore a very popular climb for the altitude hungry crowd.  I’d been invited to go before but always via the popular southern route called Avalanche Gulch and I was somewhat reluctant to burn two whole days getting to / from Shasta that could be better spent mucking about in the Sierra as far from any crowds as possible.

Steve however proposed coming in from the east and climbing the Hotlum-Wintun Ridge which I'd never heard of which always has appeal.  As an added bonus we’d only take 3 days if I could fly in to San Francisco and drive the rest of the way with him.

And it is one hell of a mountain from a distance.

Exploring the Abandoned Boron Federal Prison Camp

June 3rd, 2012

Along the 395 6 miles north of Kramer Junction is an entrance to…something. I’d driven by it a number of times and always assumed it was a shuttered observatory due to the large white done on the hill behind it.

Turns out it’s the abandoned Boron Federal Prison Camp.

Image from