Leader: How Bailey
Asst.: Fred Bode
The exploratory up Chuckwalla turned out to be pretty exciting because of a violent wind. We estimated some of the gusts on the ridge to be 60 mph or more -- no kidding, so we were forced to do a lot of rather awkward side-hill work to keep in the lee of the blast. Normally this is an easy (short but steep) hill climb and ridge walk. As if in defiance of the wind, most of the route was paved with a profusion of tiny desert wildflowers. The view of colorful Jawbone Canyon and the area to the north is similar to that from Cross Mtn; in addition, there is a good view of the desert and the irrigated areas to the east that cannot be seen from Cross. Chuckwalla itself is visible as a prominent double-hump close to the highway as seen from Hwy 14 all the way from Walker Pass junction. It was judged by the group to be a good candidate for addition to the HPS list.
After lunch we made an uneventful climb of Black Mtn. The hike was sheltered up to the very top, where the wind was less strong but considerably colder than in the morning. The highest of the nearby peaks were in clouds, but we were in the clear.