Leaders: Joe Young, Patty Kline
Eight hikers participated in this Valentine's Day outing cut short by rain. After driving to the 2WD trailhead, six of the eight made a round trip climb in 2 hours; Patty and Frank Goodykoontz took an additional 1/2 hour. Moderate rain began at 11:00 AM, while six of us were on the summit, and became heavy rain by the time most had returned to their vehicles. The heavy rain lasted until after 4:00 PM in LA.
The group followed the standard route directions per the peak guide dated January 20, 1997. The hiking directions are accurate. It cannot be overemphasized that one should proceed from the vehicles to the gully leading to the left of the large boulder and stay in the gully, following a ducked route. In addition, the comment "for an easy route to the summit, go to the top of the gully and look for ducks on the right..." should be heeded. In fact, once beyond the large boulder, a series of fragmented grassy ducked routes curve around the south and east sides of the summit winding up just below the summit on its northeast side. Following this series avoids much boulderhopping on the summit rock pile.
The driving directions in the peak guide require two changes. First, there is an instruction to "go east on Hwy 74 to Desert Center." Obviously, the reference should be to the town of Mountain Center, not Desert Center. [It should be noted that Peak Guides 28E through 30D, a total of 20 guides, contain this error.] Also, there is a statement, "At 2.3 miles, end of pavement. 2WD vehicles should park here." There is no pavement.