Granite Mountains #2, Pinto Mountain
By: George Toby, Ron Young
After three weeks of rain, the skies turned blue and everyone was eager to go desert peaking. It was just beautiful both days; crisp, cool and sunny but very windy. Participants were Paula and Bruce Peterson, Tom Moumblow, Stan Rosenwald, Patty Kline, Tom Sumner, Bob Wyka and the Leaders, Sat we met at 7:00 am at the junction of State Hwy 177 and the Palen Pass dirt road. 4 wheel drive was an absolute must. The road had three bad washouts from the recent rains plus several small ones. I was amazed the four wheelers made it. One washout was over 6 feet deep. We drove East on the Palen Pass road for 9.9 miles (the guide says 11) to where the road makes a prominent 90 degree bend to the right at elevation 1240'. We headed North(there is a small rock cairn here) on an easy going mining road for 1.5 miles to its end at elevation 152O'near a prominent black hill and parked. This area is interlaced with many mining roads. Somehow we found the right road the first time.
We hiked across the rough desert terrain about 1/4 miles on Route "B". We entered a big wash and picked up Route "A". Somehow we must have taken a right fork where we should have gone left, We climbed up a steep canyon with a bit of class 3 rock to the summit ridge and ended up East of the peak and traversed over. It was very windy on top; we could barely stand up. We found the correct route just West of the peak and descended back to the cars with no problem. En route we passed a 25 foot dry waterfall as mentioned in the guide. However trying to find our way back to the Palen Pass road in that maze of mining roads was a problem. We did a lot of probing and backtracking but finally made it just before dark. This was a tough climb and a tough drive, but a real desert adventure. Barbara Reber joined us and most of us had an enjoyable dinner at a Cafe at Desert Center. Good food and a good waitress. Then we drove on to Cottonwood Campground in Joshua Tree Net Monument for the night, But Bob Wyka, Tom Moumblow and Bruce Peterson left our company for other pursuits,
Sunday morning we caravaned North about 14 miles (the guide says 7-1/2) to a signed parking area on the right. We were joined here by Dolores Holladay for the assault on Pinto. You can see most of the route up a series of ridges from the parking area, It was a nice pleasant climb with about an hour on top. There is a very large cairn on too and we could see the cars from the top. Great views in all directions. Back to the cars about 4:00 pm and an easy drive home. My thanks to the good DPS'ers on the trip and especially Ron Young for a great assist and leading us down from both peaks. This was a typical DPS Fun trip.
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