Following directions I found while searching info about hiking to the top of Elephant Head via the north approach, I get as far along a dirt road as I think my car will go. There, I find an interesting presentation, dressed up with a Christmas motif.
I was intrigued by the effort.
From an overnight rain, snow was produced on the peaks. Two cold fronts have come through and the high today would be well below the average daytime high, only 53 degrees.
One of my first jobs was to write instruction sheets and manuals for operating machines, tools and gauges. I learned that you can't take anything for granted about the reader's knowledge of things I had taken for granted. Anyway, the driving directions to reach the trailhead assumed you knew, when reaching multiple junctions, you would know which of 2 or 3 choices to take. After walking 3 miles I reached.....
….not a trailhead but a point on a map. No trail, no evidence that anyone had ever been here before. I did have a gps route to follow but it was useless because really, it's simply a matter of seeing the obvious saddle and winding my way through the obstacles.
To my left was an extended grove of ocotillos. The thickest growth I have ever seen. I skirted this by staying just left of the grove and while keeping a wash to my right.
I reached a ridge and scoped things. There are two routes. Head to the saddle and then make a right to the summit or much more interesting, head left of center and exploit a chute that ascends left to right up the rock face. There is some serious exposure with class 3 and 4 scrambling. I had seen enough and will organize a group to try one or maybe both approaches.
On my return, the "S" shaped wash I again kept to my south side while skirting the grove of ocotillo to the north. The footing was loose but not too bad.
During the return hike to my car, I looked back several times and enjoyed the views of snow at the highest elevations.
The peak of Mount Wrightson on the left, Mount Hopkins with Observatory peeking over a ridge in the center and then Elephant Head on the right. Be back soon for the entire effort. Finished with 6.4 miles and not much climbing.
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