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DAY HIKE: Chemehuevi Peak & Stepladder Mountain

  • Dec 7, 2013 · 6:00 AM

 

Total Distance: 17 miles (8 for Chemehuevi; 9 for Stepladder)
Total Elevation Gain: 3200' (2000' for Chemehuevi; 1200' for Stepladder)
Altitude: 1700' - 3694'
Terrain Description: Off-trail, class 2-3
Approximate Hiking Time: 8-10 hours (4-5 hours for Chemehuevi; 4-5 hours for Stepladder)

This is a day hike to summit two peaks on the the Sierra Club DPS (Desert Peak Section) list. This will be a strenuous day! These peaks are located fairly close to each other just south of Needles, CA. It will be about a 2.5 hour drive to the trailhead for Chemehuevi (our first peak). There will be quite a bit of driving on dirt roads (especially for Stepladder), so we will need high-clearance 4WD vehicles.

Expect a full day (dawn to dusk) of hiking. Since the days will be short, we will be on a firm schedule so we can fit both peaks in before dusk. I will drive there very early Saturday morning. It is about a 2.5 hour drive to get there, so to start hiking by 6, I will be leaving around 3:30 am! Camping at the trailhead is an option for those who don't like the super early drive. We will coordinate as the date approaches.

We will meet at the trailhead for Chemehuevi at 6:00 am, and make the moderate hike to the summit. Supposedly there is some unfriendly desert vegetation (catclaw, cholla, etc.) en route, so be prepared! Then we will make the 20-mile drive on dirt roads over to the base of Stepladder. This hike will be across the desert, then up a wash to a class 3 summit block. Sunset will be around 4:30 pm, so we will try to make it back to the vehicles by 5:00, but bring headlamps, just in case. Then we will drive home, probably stopping for dinner on the way.

Please remember to answer the questions after RSVPing. If you are using a phone, the questions will not appear. Therefore, please check back again to answer the questions.

To participate in this outing, you must be a current, paid member of LVMC. You can obtain a membership via this link: http://www.lvmc.org/w.... The fee is $40 per year for a family/roommates or $30 per year for an individual. Please contact your organizer if you have any questions.

 

 

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  • Mark M.

    What a great day in the desert! Thanks for organizing this Joel. It was great to meet everyone, hope to hike with you all again soon. My pictures are here: https://picasaweb.google.com/112918892253657164707/ChemehueviPeakStepladderMountainsGraniteMountain?authuser=0&feat=directlink

    2 · December 8, 2013

  • Joel B.

    Lots of fun! We maximized the short daylight...started at first light, finished just before total darkness. The last section of Stepladder was particularly enjoyable. Thanks to all for making it such a great day of hiking; it was an excellent group!

    December 9, 2013

  • Harlan S.

    For Stepladder, I took the powerline road (not the *pipeline* road recommended in DPS guide or Zdon) -- it was fast, and not very rough- eventually hits the pipeline road described in DPS. After you hit the pipeline road, it gets rougher; go west about 0.5 miles then turn south around a confusing mess (look for tracks!). The soob had no trouble in 2012, but we've had a lot of washouts this year; and if I zoned out, I would bottom out on hard-to-see dips on the last few miles of road. Lots of loose sand.

    The 95-powerline intersection is (relative to wgs84)[masked], -114.64489. It's just a bit north of the road to Chemehuevi, and on the west side of 95. Good luck.

    September 14, 2013

    • Harlan S.

      To restate (re-warn!) what Kathy said and what I said a few months back: the road south from the pipeline road looked deceptively easy... but every time I zoned out... WHAM! the soob would hit another almost invisible washout. I felt like Curly in the Three Stooges, always falling for the same gag over and over.

      1 · December 5, 2013

    • Jim M.

      That last five miles was pretty tedious!

      December 9, 2013

  • Jim M.

    Thanks, Joel! Another great trip!

    December 9, 2013

  • Lorraine W.

    oh, and chemehuevi was very cool. we, of course, took the scenic route :))

    December 8, 2013

    • Jim M.

      We left the canyon early and went up the side of it through the granite and ended up above the saddle just below the peak. We took the standard route down.

      December 9, 2013

  • Lorraine W.

    sorry i didn't do stepladder, glad i didn't hold up the group! it was still great to see everyone, and see the photos.

    December 8, 2013

  • Laura N.

    Thank you Joel for putting this terrific day together. Looking forward to Ord/Rodman.

    December 8, 2013

  • aleksandr e.

    Good to see you

    1 · December 8, 2013

  • Joel B.

    Thanks for the beta Kathy!

    December 5, 2013

  • Kathy W.

    Map of my route: http://kathywing.smugmug.com/CaliforniaHikesandScrambles/California-Desert-Hikes-and/Stepladder-Mountain-Mojave/i-CZwT23V/O

    That is a really easy hike - I clocked it at 9.5 miles and just 1,000' elevation gain.

    December 5, 2013

  • Kathy W.

    Conditions: Powerline Road: A little sandy, but great condition. (30 to 40 mph in my truck).

    Pipeline Road: Sandy and not as good as Powerline Road - an easy washed out area to cross. Faint Dirt road that goes from Pipeline Road to the Wilderness Boundary: The beginning of this road is the faintest part; so it's easy to miss. There are tons of mini washouts on this road that act like inverted speed bumps; so it is really slow going. My top speed was 10 mph, but I rarely reached that speed. Depending on what you are driving, it might take 45 minutes to get down those 5.4 miles. The first 2 miles are the worst and it gets better after that. There's lots of vegetation growing between the tracks including a beavertail cactus in one place. There is also vegetation encroaching on the road, but it wasn't think enough to create any problems. Anyway, I put my truck into 4WD high but high clearance 2WD would probably work.

    December 5, 2013

  • Kathy W.

    I just did the drive to Stepladder yesterday; so I thought I'd let you know what the road was like. I was driving a 4WD Toyota Tacoma (stock). I have read of so many different ways to get to the start of this hike, but this is the way I went:

    I drove up from Vidal Junction on Highway 95 and turned onto the Powerline Road. The Powerline Road was about 2 miles north of the Intersection of 95 & Turtle Mountain Road, and is really close to the Intersection of 95 & Havasu Lake Road. So, I took the Powerline Road northwest 11.1 miles to the intersection of the Powerline Road with the Pipeline Road. I turned west onto the Pipeline Road and drove 0.5 miles to a faint dirt road and turned south on the faint dirt road. I drove south 5.4 miles on the faint dirt road to the wilderness boundary and parked.

    (Continued on next post)

    December 5, 2013

  • Laura N.

    Thanks for sending out the details Joel. I'll be camping at the TH on Saturday morning. I'm planning to do a couple of Arizona P2Ks on Friday in the TH area if anyone is interested.

    December 3, 2013

    • Joel B.

      Laura, OK we'll see you at TH Saturday around 6 am.

      December 3, 2013

  • Joel B.

    An email with details has been sent. Please let me know if you did not receive it.

    December 3, 2013

  • Kyle W.

    Joel, do you have room for one more?

    December 3, 2013

    • Joel B.

      Do you mean to carpool? Yes, you've got a spot if you want it.

      December 3, 2013

  • Kyle W.

    So is anyone camping the night before the hike who are leaving from Las Vegas on Friday?

    December 1, 2013

  • Ocean

    Sorry Joel. I got a chance to go to Cancun for that weekend.

    November 23, 2013

    • Harlan S.

      Wherever she goes, she'll fall on a cactus.

      2 · November 26, 2013

    • Ocean

      More than likely...on my way into a club on the beach or a Mayan Ruin.

      November 26, 2013

  • Ocean

    Who is down to camp?

    September 13, 2013

    • Harlan S.

      Mark, Granite #2 and Palen? I'll be careful with my medical situation for a few weeks, but may be good by then. It seems a burly vehicle is needed for those two.

      November 17, 2013

    • Mark M.

      Sounds good Harlan, I haven't do e either of those. Will do some research on the logistics. I have a 4x4 truck.

      November 18, 2013

  • Jim M.

    It looks like I'll have to miss the club party on Friday night! Bad timing.

    November 1, 2013

    • Thomas S.

      I sleep while I am hiking and when we rest stop. Every stop I sleep. I felt we stopped on the way back from Mt. Sill at least 4 hours total; that's how much I slept. I felt refreshed back at the cars.

      November 3, 2013

    • Jim M.

      Old people need sleep, Joel!

      1 · November 3, 2013

  • Lorraine W.

    well. this should be fun. or something like it!

    September 13, 2013

    • Lorraine W.

      Harlan, you are a veritable encyclopedia of information. when will you write a book? or several books? i'll buy them.

      September 14, 2013

    • Harlan S.

      too many books out there... and these days, they become outdated (by road closures) almost as soon as they are written.

      September 15, 2013

  • BMS914

    Somebody please bring a stiff plastic comb and some tweezers for Jodie. The approach to Chemehuevi is Teddy Bear Cholla Cactus Hell. And anyone who can get up that north Stepladder subpeak has my lasting admiration. I got to within 15-20 feet of the summit before realizing dying on North Stepladder Mountain wasn't what I wanted on my tombstone.

    Someone should bring a GPS for Stepladder to waypoint the vehicles - they can be very hard to find on the return trip, even for those with great dead-reckoning route finding skills.

    2 · September 13, 2013

    • Ocean

      @ Lorraine.

      September 13, 2013

    • Harlan S.

      I stayed in the washes and avoided cacti... but I've heard that complaint from many. I mapped the route out through google earth beforehand-and avoided what seemed like obvious (but filled with spiky plants) shortcuts.

      September 14, 2013

  • Ocean

    I am sure Kyle will want to come, too.

    September 13, 2013

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