Pinto Mountain, Sheephole Mountains
By: Ron Jones
This was one of the most enjoyable trips I have led recently. Fifteen participants, half of whom were new to DPS climbing, two peaks I had climbed so many times that it was no work to navigate and great weather all contributed.
We met in Twenty Nine Palms and caravanned out to the roadhead at Sheep Hole Pass. Jack Haddad came down from Bellingham WA for the climb. Route "A" was taken, a route I first hiked 33 years ago on a solo climb. Five folks stopped about 1200 feet from the summit and 6 of us topped out. The high light of the trip was a nice long look at a nearly full-curl ram silhouetted against the sky on a nearby ridge.
There was plenty of light remaining, after our return to the cars and Lou Brecheen led us to a fine campsite he had used before near the old mining area of Dale. John Gibba joined us at this point. The tables were groaning with the vast quantities of food for our tailgate party. Darrell Lee set up his 15,000 Btu wok and prepared a great pot of Korean stir fry. Terry Austin brought pate and made a quiche, Gretchen Phillips, Jane Broadwell, Linda Gagne and Alyson McAlpine all had a great selection of gourmet foods prepared at home or out of delis. Many bottles of good California wines emerged and were uncorked (no screw tops with this crowd). John Gibba prepared his usual "unusual hors d'oeuvre" of an endangered specie. Everyone contributed to the party.
Lou was in charge of the campfire and he arraigned for a huge supply of surplus firewood to keep the fire going for 6 hours and also he persuaded Terry Austin to play his guitar for a couple of hours while we used Terry's song books. He's a good climber to have on your trip.
The next morning all but the holders of Golden Eagle passes paid to enter Joshua Tree N.P. and we caravanned to milepost 16. Several people explored around the cars, and later through the park, while 7 of us made the uneventful stroll through the kangaroo rat village and on to the summit.
Other participants included "seldom seen" Jim Kilberg, Gary Craig, Robert Young and Trisha Larson who climbed her first two desert peaks and who is a fine strong hiker with a great personality. Special thanks to my wife Leora and to Lou Brecheen for their usual splendid assistance.
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