QUEEN MOUNTAIN (5,687'), LOST HORSE MOUNTAIN (5,313'), AND EAGLE MOUNTAIN #1 (5,351') October 23-26, 1997

Securing the company of one other hiker from up north, I stopped in Modesto, CA, to snap a few pictures. We carpooled to hike a few days in the desert, and enjoy another DPS list completion event. Motoring down Thursday through Twentynine Palms, CA, toward Joshua Tree National Park, Friday, we did a climb of Queen Mountain (5,687'). This took us some two hours to the top. A use trail leads from the end of a dirt road to the rocky summit plateau. We spotted a tarantula on rocks part way up. The bright sun didn't help much for good pictures of the view.

Later in the afternoon, after checking a campground and seeing a coyote, we made a hike to Lost Horse Mountain (5,313'), which is further south in the park. The route follows an old dirt road to the Lost Horse Mine, then we headed cross-country right to the top. We drove back north to town for a meal, and camped at a official site near the start of the planned DPS climb.

Next morning, a large DPS group began to appear for the weekend climb and party. This was a privately announced trip, advertised by flyers sent via the mail. Some will schedule a activity in the DPS newsletter, but this, given the uncertainty of getting all of the necessary peaks, had to be planned on late notice.

We parked at the developed trailhead near a spring, and the 53 of us headed for the peak. This, being an unofficial lead, participants could be more informal, without having to stay between any leaders.

I didn't think I would be back here so soon, having had to turn around, on my lead in 1996, when my assistant leaders turned back. It was a beautiful day for this climb.

We all made the summit in 4.5 hours, and my companion did well enough, despite my concerns about some slowness. The bubbly came out, and photos were taken. Our summit celebration was done all under 45 minutes, since we had to get back.

The leaders took a different way down, but some of us chose to hike the same way we had come. The group separated, but then regrouped along the ascent route, all then having decided not to take an apparently roundabout route back. We hiked at our own paces, and I stopped to take more pictures of the unique rock formations on the way back.

Myself arriving to the cars at 5:54 p.m., we individually motored over the Interstate to the south to a secluded car camp. Plenty of food and campfires marked the evening. I took up a bit of business with some Angeles Chapter officials, and then enjoyed the singing and socializing. I laid out my sleeping bag to watch the stars.

The two of us together from the north skipped on the pancake breakfast the next morning, and went to the cafe at Chiriaco Summit. We walked about the adjacent General Patton museum, with photos of the historical tanks.

Driving back to the northern part of the Park, we hiked up Rattlesnake Canyon, spotting the slings and bolts left by rock climbers. There is an issue of man-made, climbing equipment installed in wilderness areas. While placements are meant for safety, they intrude upon the naturalness of the scene. I can boast of never having left bolts or much other hardware on any mountain, although I have used fixed anchors left by other climbers. But without such solid anchors, some climbing would be very dangerous.

We had lunch in Barstow, and eventually motored up Highway 99, back to my parked car. I arrived back home at a fairly early hour.