4-Dec-99 (Private Trip)
By: Neal Scott
Four of us met at the Anza Borrego Palm Canyon trailhead a little after 7:00 am for a climb of the south ridge of Indianhead. Besides myself the climbers were Garnet Roebin and two of his friends Steve and Thor who are grad students at UCSD. The climb is rated at 3rd and 4th class.
We left the trailhead at 07:25 and hiked about a mile up the trail to the turnoff point for the south ridge and proceeded up steep cls 2 to approximately the 2530 foot level where Thor spotted three metal garbage cans on a narrow ledge about 75 feet below us on the west side of the main ridge. We dropped down to check it out. The cans were full of canned and packaged food, toilet tissue and other survival items. The expiration date on some of the canned goods is 1994. There is also the remains of a nylon backpacker tent in shreds. The ledge is only big enough for the small tent and food storage. We speculated that the cache was the work of some fringe character. Steve added "Yah, probably a grad student". Garnet checked with a Park Ranger about the food stash, but as of this writing, nobody knows anything about it.
After exploring around the site and taking a few pictures we proceeded up the ridge and finally got into sustained 3rd cls with some 4th cls mixed in. At three different points a rope was used for short assists over bard exposed rock. The first two thirds of the ridge is cls 2 with some cls 3 if you stay on the ridge proper. The last third is cls 3 & 4 with some cls 5 moves if you stay on the ridge top, but you can avoid all the 5th and most of the 4th by dropping down the right hand side of the ridge a bit. We climbed on up to the pointed peak just south of the main summit and enjoyed the views down in the canyon. From there we went on a short distance to the summit where we arrived at 12:13 pm.
We spent approximately an hour on top and then hiked down the B route back to the trailhead. This was Garnets 6th time to the top and 5th time up the south ridge. He said that the south ridge proper is a "local classic without a following". We all agreed it should be climbed more often. Neal
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