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01L

Backus Peak

6,651'
(UTM 155460)

Location: Kern County, about 43 miles north of Mojave, 140 miles from Los Angeles

Maps

Auto Club: Kern County
Forest Service: Sequoia National Forest
Topo: Owens 7½

Nearby Peak: Russell Peak (Russell Peak can be hiked from Backus Peak.)

ROUTE 1

Distance: 6 miles r.t. on road and cross-country
Gain: 2,700'
Time: 4-5 hours r.t.
Rating: Class 1; Moderate
Navigation: Moderate route finding.
Access: Do not park past the wilderness boundary signs.

Original: Byron Prinzmetal, Apr 1999

DRIVING ROUTE 1

  • Take SR 14 to Mojave.
  • Continue north on SR 14 to the intersection with SR 178 (Freeman Junction).
  • Go west on Hwy. 178 2.4 miles to a dirt road on the north side of the highway. Park here. Unlimited parking space. If you are coming from the west, it is 6 miles from Walker Pass summit to the parking location. There is a call box numbered 178-858 on the south side of SR 178 opposite the turnoff.

HIKING ROUTE 1

  • From the parking area walk north on the dirt road approximately 1 mile to where you are south west of bump 5123.
  • Leave the road and walk northeast crossing several gullies aiming for just north of bump 5389'+ that is on the ridge that descends southeast from Backus Peak. Note: Be sure to note your location where you left the road in relationship to bump 5389 for your return. You can also walk both up and down the prominent gully which starts at the parking area to the slope that leads up to bump 5389'. The gully runs generally North/South and parallels the road on the east.
  • When you obtain this ridge turn northwest and walk up the ridge to the summit. Note the summit register is on the most northern bump.

ROUTE 2

Distance: 8 miles r.t. on trail and rocky cross-country
Gain: 3700'
Time: 8 hours r.t.
Rating: Class 2; Strenuous
Navigation: Moderate route finding
Access: Do not park past the wilderness boundary signs.

Original: Byron Prinzmetal, Apr 1999

DRIVING ROUTE 2

  • Take SR 14 north to Mojave.
  • Continue north on SR 14 to the intersection with SR 178 (Freeman Junction).
  • Go west on Hwy. 178 4.7 miles to a dirt road on the north side of the highway. Park here. Unlimited parking space. If you are coming from the west, it is 3.7 miles from Walker Pass summit to the parking location.

Note: You will save several miles of hiking if you leave a car at the parking spot for route one.

HIKING ROUTE 2

  • From Russell Peak hike southeast along the ridge passing over bump 6515'.
  • Continue along the ridge staying to the south side of bumps 6661' and 6582'.
  • Continue past hump 6582' up the ridge to Backus Peak.

The ridge from Russell to Backus is only 2 miles long, but plan for it to take at least three hours due to route finding and rocky cross-country travel. There is 900' of gain and loss along this ridge. You should not traverse any of the bumps on the north side. All rock outcrops should be skirted to the south. There is a faint use trail developing and one should look for it.

Note: The route can be hiked in reverse from Backus to Russell. This direction is recommended by some hikers. There is quite a bit of scree on Russell which would make a fast easy descent. The footing up Backus is good and would be easier to hike up. The route from Backus to Russell would add 500' of gain.


SPECIAL CONDITIONS

All car travel is prohibited beyond the wilderness marker on the dirt road.

Along the ridge from Russell Peak to Backus Peak there are many cliffs and pinnacles. You can avoid all of these areas by generally staying to their south. If you find you are entering areas that require rock climbing skills, backtrack and find a better route.

HISTORICAL NOTES

Peak 6651' is not named on the USGS or USFS maps. In 1999 the Hundred Peaks Section named this peak for John Backus, the first person to lead the entire Hundred Peaks Section's List. The Hundred Peak Section's Leadership Award is named in honor of John Backus.

History of Summit Signature

Climbing Archives

Please report any corrections or changes to the Mountain Records Chair.


Hundred Peaks Section, Angeles Chapter, Sierra Club
Published 23-Jun-2002
© 1998-2002 - All Rights Reserved

Download the Microsoft Word Version of this Guide.