Negro Head, Old Dad Mountain, Cowhole Mountain & Cave Mountain

Negro Head (February 8, 2008)

Leaving work at 3 p.m., me and the girl headed down toward Baker, CA. With plans to tag a couple of minor, named summits along the way, pilot error soon cost us that opportunity. With only minimal daylight left, we settled on a quick scramble up Negro Head, a curiously-named summit near Halloran Summit. Dinner at Mad Greek (of course!).

Old Dad Mountain & Cowhole Mountain (February 9, 2008)

Looking south from the summit of Old Dad Mountain

Scrambled up Old Dad Mountain. I was happy to take it nice and slow, since I was still nursing a slight cold I'd been stuck with since the previously Sunday, and we found a nice, relaxed line up a gully on the east face that featured quite a lot of enjoyable class 2-3 scrambling. Very scenic.

On the return, we opted to forego the recommended south ridge route and simply pick another line down the east face. Good conversation and fun scrambling had us back to the car quickly.

After a nice lunch at the truck, we drove over to Cowhole Mountain. Making the easy drive out over the desert and across Soda Lake, we parked at the wilderness boundary and started the easy hike across the desert. As it turned out, the northwest ridge, which we took up (per Zdon's suggestion), was horrible and unpleasant. Lots of loose sidehilling, etc.

Eventually reaching the summit, we picked a gully just west of the summit and headed down. As it turned out, the route was rather terrific, very short and had a fair amount of fun scrambling and easy travel.

Dinner at Mad Greek (again).

Cave Mountain (February 10, 2008)
Looking down on I-15 from near the summit of Cave Mountain

I'd been staring at Cave Mountain, the very dominating desert peak one can't help but stare at while driving I-15 between Baker and Barstow, for about seven years. It was time to finally tick the damn thing off.

Finding Zdon's directions inaccurate, we decided to find our own way up. That way was the curiously long but enjoyable east ridge & face. Pretty easy travel up the ridge after gaining the crest via a prominent gully near its east end and then lots of good class 2-3 scrambling on the mountain's east face landed us on the peculiarly flat, though boulder studded, summit. Seeing a big ram just before we got there, a short scramble took us to the highpoint. Perusing the register, we saw that the most recent entry was from a guy who'd hiked the peak nude the previous day.

On the return, we decided to try the south ridge. Tedious but not awful, we continued south to a long sand gully dropping east from the crest. Dropping 1,200 vertical in 10 minutes of sand surfing, the rest of the walk to the truck was a breeze.

Good weekend out. The cold slowed me down but it gave me time to enjoy the spring (?) flowers, the warm temps and the great company.

*Photos courtesy of H.W. Stockman