Ascent of Peak 3494 on 2019-04-20
|Other People:||Solo Ascent|
Only Party on Mountain
|Date:||Saturday, April 20, 2019|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Motorized Transport to Trailhead:||Hi-Clearance Vehicle|
| Elevation:||3494 ft / 1064 m|
Ascent Trip ReportMarcus got permission from the Narbaitz Ranch to climb this and a nearby peak. He had done 3494 on his daytime climb of Ortigalita, so I was on my own. I drove in the open gate to the ranch and Panoche Gun Club and continued several miles due west. I encountered an ATV on the way in, but the driver just waved. Behind some buildings with vehicles out front I encountered two cattle gates that I opened and went through. I parked at the bottom of a narrow canyon. I knew from a previous track that there were switchbacks up the side of the mountain, but initially I had trouble locating them through the brush. The old roadbed was quite overgrown, and as I pushed my way through, I discovered what was to be my nemesis for the day: ticks, hundreds of them. Sometimes I would have to stop after taking only a few steps to flick off a dozen from my pants. Over time I got better at swatting them away with my poles, and stepping over bushes where possible, but even so, I set a personal record for ticks in a day. One of the little guys got me on the back of my leg.
At the top of the switchbacks the terrain opened up a little, until I reached the ridge, where the brush was completely replaced by grass. The day was very windy, and the summit only just emerged from fog at this point. I made quick work of the remaining mile to the top on a ranch road. Across the valley I could see smoke emerging from a grass fire in the Panoche Hills area. The most recent rain was only a few weeks ago, but already the hills were brown on all but their north slopes.
On the tedious return through the tick-laden brush, I saw a white truck parked near my car at the bottom. After a few minutes it drove off very slowly. I’d taken the precaution of leaving a note on my dashboard detailing the permission I had, but with the semi-automatic gunfire I’d heard below, I was still a little worried. Fortunately all was well when I returned to the car and drove out without incident. When I drove by the front gate later in the day as I was returning home, it was closed.
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