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David R

The Peaks that Time Forgot

This is probably the first proper write-up for these three peaks in a very long time. The main reason is they are remote and most decidedly not interesting. The longest is at most a 5 mile trek. They are located in the Deep Creek area east of Hesperia. They are Rattlesnake, Round, and Luna Mountains. All of them require high clearance vehicles to get to the trailheads and 4WD wouldn't hurt. The most exciting part of the day is the driving  which requires constant vigilance.  The main reason why the dirt roads in the area are maintained at all is due to people living out here.

To make the peaks more entertaining I did not read the peak directions and just took the topo maps. Rattlesnake was first as it was on the closer spur road off Bowens Ranch Road which takes you to the hot springs that I had visited two weeks before from the west side. The hike went up a faint motorcycle track to the east that dropped you off on a flat plateau. From here you can see the peak to the SE. There was a small draw between the peak and a peaklet to the north that I took to gain the ridge. From there a very short steep climb took me to the top. There was no register just some rocks piled on top and a decent view to the east. There was no other evidence of anyone else having been there.

From there a long dirt road drive back down and a turn off from Bowens for Round. I would not suggest driving the spur off this dirt road to get closer and just park on the side of the road you're driving up. I eyed the direct route up the peak that is right in front of you and decided to follow the motorcycle track up the east side as an easier route. Unfortunately it turned further east away from the peak so I hopped off and went up the SE side that had lots of grassy ramps. The top section was guarded by a minor band of rocks that was easy to clamber over. The top was an odd flat section with the highpoint in the SW. This was the only peak with evidence of other people as it is also a geocache site with a group of five circles made of rock surrounding the cache. It looks like about four-five parties climb the peak per year. This had a solid view of Deep Creek. On the way down I took the direct route down the north ridge which had ducks and evidence of passage due to the cache site.

From there a drive further up the road to the Luna TH. I tried to make it up to where the directions said low clearance vehicles should stop but there was a bad washout trying to get up the last hill. I ended up with my front right wheel up in the air as my SUV tried to gain purchase. I then had the pleasure of having to reverse 200 yards down a steep gutted road to get back to flat ground. I parked right next to a small homestead with lots of gutted cars and "beware of dog" signs. This is where you need to park, don't try to drive any further. This added an extra 1.5 miles of hiking over a road that can not be described as driveable.

I could see where I thought the peak was as I got closer. I saw that an old dirt road climbed to the east towards the ridge. I used this until the gradient diminished and I saw a route through the brush to the SW. I clambered to the top through some rock and reached the top. The top of the ridge has a motorcycle track that apparently I could've used if I had continued up the road to the apex of the ridge. I also realized that my rocky point was not the high point but further to the SW there was another spot that was higher. A quick up and down brought me to the true peak with a pole and old radio transmitter. It was also the only peak with a benchmark.

On the way back I was loathe to gain altitude so dropped down the drainage between the two peaks. This left me too far to the west from my road so I contoured around the rocky point I had first climbed until I found some grassy sections that allowed me to get down. The last obstacle was some annoying barbed wire that I had to slip under and then an uneventful walk back to the car. Fortunately no dog or nasty note was affixed to my car so I left the meth lab behind and got stuck in LA rush hour. The totals stats were about 10 miles with 3,000 feet elevation gain to a place I'll never go to again.

Thanks for the sweet write-up. This one's going on the to-do list. It pretty much has everything I'm looking for in a hike, including the meth lab.

Sean wrote:
Thanks for the sweet write-up. This one's going on the to-do list. It pretty much has everything I'm looking for in a hike, including the meth lab.

Except for Sean will skip the drive and just walk between all of them....
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