Ascent of Clark Mountain on 2006-01-22

Climber: Dennis Poulin

Date:Sunday, January 22, 2006
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Clark Mountain
    Elevation:7907 ft / 2410 m

Ascent Trip Report

I needed to get out from under the rain in Oregon so I headed south. I wanted to try some of these desert P2k peaks and Clark was next on my list. It is #15 ranked in California and I have already climbed the first 14. I followed the directions in the Desert Peaks Section of the Sierra Club and found the picnic area. The road that parallels the wooden power line should be avoided. There are several washouts and 4WD was necessary. Instead drive another 200 ft on the good road where it turns left for 2 miles and ends up behind the power substation. If you avoid the power line road you can drive to the picnic area in your mother's Honda without any problem.

I got to the picnic area on the evening before my climb and I car camped there for the night. There is plenty of room to camp in this area and there were no signs prohibiting it. It cooled off real fast as soon as the sun set. In the morning it was 31 degrees. I put on my warm clothes and headed up the canyon behind the parking area.

The trail was good and easy to follow. I saw where others had started climbing on the right side of the wash in anticipation of the dry waterfall. I followed their lead and soon I could see the dry waterfall ahead. It is kind of steep climbing up this little part, but it was a good warm-up. Once up about 50 feet above the wash the climbing was easier, so I continued going up this little ridge. This was a mistake and soon I could see the cliff band above the left side ridge with the wash down below. I gave up some of my elevation gain, descended to the wash and started climbing up the left ridge towards the cliff band.

This ridge climbs several hundred feet. I didn’t remember seeing any reports of airplane wrecks on this peak, but I could plainly see a plane up in the headwaters of the wash at an elevation of about 7,300 feet.

Soon I reached the cliff band and I followed along the base of the cliffs as it climbed to the north. The first place that looked like I could climb up I tried to climb. This again was a mistake. I got up about 10 ft and then couldn’t find an acceptable hand hold, so I came back down. There is a big bush in front of this route and it didn’t look like it was climbed very often.

I continued north along the cliff for another 100 feet and found the Class 3 route that I wanted. No real problem climbing this route, I just took my time since I was all alone. Once to the ridge line I could see the summit above me and in another 10 minutes I was standing on the summit. It was 25 degrees and the wind was blowing 30 MPH. I signed the register but didn’t stay long. It was cold.

I had no issues returning back to the picnic area. Total hike was about 4 hours even though it was only about 3 miles and gained about 1,900 feet. This is a nice hike if you happen to be driving from LA to Las Vegas on I-15. You can see the trucks on the freeway far below you on in the valley.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2000 ft / 609 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2000 ft / 609 m
    Round-Trip Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2000 ft / 609 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    Route:Picnic Area
    Start Trailhead:5907 ft / 1800 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:2000 ft / 609 m
    Distance:1.5 mi / 2.4 km
    End Trailhead:5907 ft / 1800 m

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