Stranded In The Southland

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Keller, Mill, and Slide Peaks

I was up at 5AM for a 6AM departure to pick off a few peaks in the San Bernadino National Forest. I'm not much for single-digit morning hours, but my sweetie was delighted to get up at 5AM with me, and provide me with a model of indolence as I raced around getting ready to go.

I made it to the meeting place with time to spare, and D. drove M. and I out to the mountains. We were just picking up some easy peaks this morning, filling some of the 50 peaks that D. needs for his second list finish. Which is to say, I had only 32 peaks this morning, and D. had already finished the list once and has only 50 to go to finish it again! Yow!

Mill Peak was quick and easy, with mostly dirt road hiking (yawn) and a brief scramble up to a bouldery peak. The view was wonderful. We zipped down, packed our stuff away and proceeded to Slide Peak.

Slide presented some more difficulties. We scouted around Childrens Forest, looking for an alternate, easier way up the peak, but eventually gave up and did it the way it is documented on the HPS website. This involved a hard scramble, easy ridge-top walk along a firebreak, and then a final steep slog up a dirt road to the peak.

Slide Peak is serviced by two ski lifts in the winter, so it was cool to see the equipment in the summer, along with the fancy nozzles used to make snow. The view was even better up here, with a basin right below us, and bits of the San Bernadino mountains in the distance, with small patches of snow still clinging to them.

After a pleasant walk down, we drove up to the Keller Peak lookout. Don't ask me why HPS bothers with peaks that are simple driveups, I guess it is just part of the game. The lookout was manned by a couple of volunteers who explained how it all worked (pretty simple, I'm afraid -- I'd hoped for something a bit more complex!) and let us admire the view to our heart's content.

We dawdled a bit too much to squeeze in Onyx Peak, as planned, before D. had to be back home, so we just headed in, happy to have picked off three peaks in a day!