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Dragons Head, Bighorn Mountain, Snow Peak

8 June 1991

By: Ron Jones


I had scheduled these peaks 8 months before when all were on the ballot, but not yet voted on, for additions to the list.

Only 7 of us met 6:30 Saturday morning at the Vivian Creek trailhead. There were 6 SPS members out for a conditioning hike and HPSer Paula Peterson. It was a routine hike up to the last stream crossing at High Camp when we encountered a few remnant snow banks covering the trail. We had to detour around a number of these for a thousand ft until we reached about 10,400'. We continued up to about 10,800' (about 300' below the divide trail) where we turned SE across good stable scree and dirt downhill to the saddle just north of Dragon's Head at 10,650'.

We lunched here & then headed for the use trail leading up the easy west ridge of Bighorn. The views were magnificent of the south side of San Gorgonio a mile away, down the Bighorn ridge into the north and middle forks of the Whitewater River and west to the rugged east face of Dragon's Head only 5/8 miles away. I saw no sign of Bighorn sheep although they are seen occasionally in the area.

After signing in, we headed directly down on to the interesting dry pond bed of Tosh's Tarn. I wonder who Mr. Tosh was? Also, there were several interesting patterns of iron stakes out in the dry bottom, perhaps to measure some earth movement? The area is surrounded by strong rock faulting and folding. The register indicates that some people camp at the Tarn.

Twenty minutes later, we had hiked over and climbed Dragon's Head. (The Boy Scout Register identifies the peak as "South Peak" and I think called Dragon's Head an older name.) Several folks in our party did think that Dragon's Head could also be added to the List. We then retraced our easy route from the Dragon's Head saddle up to 10,800' on the Vivian Creek trail and made a routine descent to the cars.

Delores Holladay and Paula Peterson signed out and the rest of us drove through Yucaipa and out to the Sizzler's in Banning where we feasted, thanks to the discount coupons furnished by J. Holshue. Then we drove up to one of my favorite HPS campsites at the Kitching Roadhead. We arrived at 11 pm and crashed.

The next morning at 8 am, we drove the several miles to the Snow roadhead where we met list finisher candidate Bob Michael as well as Gail Hanna, Pete Doggett, Alan Coles and Janet Phun for a total of 10. One can car camp here but the surroundings are not as pleasant as at the Kitching Trailhead.

The Snow Creek road at the fork mentioned in the peak guide is now blocked by a class 3 tank trap blocking vehicle access toward Deer Spring. After sorting out the Champagne, chips, cookies, etc., we started up the Raywood Flat-Deer Spring Rd. The spring was flowing when we reached it. The San Gorgonio Chapter of the Sierra Club has done a nice job of pruning and widening the trail for the next mile or so, but then the Ceanothus, Manzanita, and Deer Brush closes in and the trail becomes a narrow track not really suitable for hiking in shorts. Alan Coles and I suggest that the HPS request permission from the Forest Service on our next scheduled hike to do some volunteer work and complete opening this trail up. The hike up was routine, marked only by my almost stepping on a sluggish rattler coiled in the middle of the trail. It was much warmer than the previous day's hike until we approached the summit at 7920'. The views across the basin of the south fork of the Whitewater River to Bighorn and San Gorgonio were magnificent, an excellent Wilderness Area. Bob Michael led the final 1/4 mile to the summit and culminated 35 years of HPS climbing with the one he'd been waiting for, his ultimate summit! Bob dedicated this climb to his father with whom he made his first hike of Mt. Baldy back in 1956. He sang a little song and waxed loquaciously as he started his 2nd, 3rd, and 4th bottles of champagne. Alan Coles dispensed the delicious chocolate chip cookies he baked himself. Gail Hanna was thoughtful enough to have brought up a list finisher pin which, as Bob doesn't hike with a shirt, had to be pinned to the sweat band on his brow. Bob also announced the probability of his moving to Albuquerque NM in the fall now that he has completed The List so that he can be hear his beloved Rockies. Very special thanks to Igor and Suzanne Mamedalin who did their usual excellent job at assisting and keeping up morale.

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