Leaders:Joe Young and Maggie Wilson
Five met at Sylmar rideshare point Saturday AM. After driving to the Route 2 road head for Cross, we began hiking at 9:15 AM. We were bagging Cross first then continuing over to Chuckwalla, then back to the cars via this ambitious loop trip, probably the hardest way to do these peaks.
Neither the Peak Guide nor the HPS maps seemed reliable to us. For example, a road leads to the spring. Why circle around to get there? The map indicates that a jeep road leads from the area near the spring northwesterly, but we found no such road. So we headed upward, finding very steep terrain. At the rocky outcropping, we had to explore to find the best passages through. We encountered snow at very low elevation. Eventually we headed NW up a slope, arriving at the summit after noon.
After a well-deserved rest we headed west, then dropped down to meet a jeep trail. The HPS map at this point is inaccurate. We followed the jeep trail to an intersection with the jeep trail shown on the topo. Turning left we followed this road to a water tank with watering trough, then followed the indicated trail to the remains of a vehicle and a cabin.
From here we headed up to the ridge leading to Chuckwalla. Soon we joined the route 1 trail and summited Chuckwalla. Staying just briefly we headed down the ridge to the prominent saddle east of the summit. Before arriving at the saddle we stopped on a rocky promontory to survey our route ahead. We saw a trail leading NW from the saddle which headed generally toward the wash leading out to the cars. Once on this trail we noticed that following it kept us on the main ridge too far, so we left the trail and headed N on another ridge, dropped down to a tributary of the wash leading to the cars, bottomed out, fought brush at the confluence with the main wash, then hiked out on a road. We were back at the cars at 5:55 PM.
All of us reconvened at Graziano's in Mojave, for post hike revelry. Two of our participants left for home. The rest of us "camped" at the Motel Six in Mojave this evening.
The next morning skies were generally clear in Mojave. So we headed back to Jawbone Cyn and west to the nominal road head for Butterbredt. Returning from this uneventful hike we noted that bad weather was beginning to settle in all around us.
On to Mayan! We parked at the nominal road head and noted that bad weather was seriously settling in, but Mayan was still clear. We started hiking at 10:05 AM. By 10:30 sleet began. Heavy snow began by 10:45. We kept going. Joe bent over a couple of times to rest en route only to find his eye glasses immediately caked with snow from the driving wind: Snow was blowing horizontally! We summited at 11:40. Staying just briefly on the summit we headed back down. Our foot prints in the snow left on ascent were already filled with new snow! Joe traveled with compass in hand on descent, since we were in white out conditions. We arrived back at the cars at around 12:30, finding the vehicles covered in 3+ inches of snow.
The road out was treacherous. Joe skidded almost immediately but pulled out just in time to avoid hitting a culvert. At Hoffman summit Maggie tried to engage four wheel drive in her vehicle but was unable to do so, but she managed to surmount the pass. Snow was encountered on the road until just a few miles of Hwy 14.