Ascent of Spectre Peak on 2014-11-01

Climber: Richard Hensley

Others in Party:Joel Brewster
BLMhikergirl Pipps
Thomas Sakowych
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, November 1, 2014
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Spectre Peak
    Elevation:4482 ft / 1366 m

Ascent Trip Report

We parked in a broad sandy wash that provided a nice pullout for several vehicles, located 12.0 miles W of the intersection with CA177. We walked 150ft E to pick up a sandy jeep road heading up the wash toward Spectre. A plastic pole sign indicated the road is closed to motor vehicles. After a mile, we departed the road and headed directly S and worked our way through some small foothills before regaining the main wash we wanted. Upon further review (Google Earth), we could have stayed on that road and bypassed the foothills on their W side. As mentioned in Eric Kassan's report, maybe the shortest and easiest to navigate is to park 1.0 mi east on CA62, and head directly S into the wash between two dark foothills.
Once back into the broad main wash, the straight and narrow gully (SSE true) we wanted to start up the mountain was easy to recognize. It's a lot of boulder hopping, but you gain elevation fast. Resist the temptation to bail out of this canyon on the right. At the end of this canyon, we took the right fork up to a saddle at 3700msl. After losing about 110 ft in two drops, our overall direction shifted right to about a true south, and we started climbing again. This course took us up to a broad shoulder on Tensor Pk's (Aqua BM) west slope. Spectre and Dyadic came into view, and visual navigation was finally easy.
We first scrambled up Tensor's W slope; the cliff band near the top can be climbed through (3) or avoided on either side. The climb up Tensor added about 150 extra ft to our climb of Spectre.
Like most others, we approached Spectre on its ENE side. Fun route-finding and class 3 scrambling ensued. Great views of the surrounding desert ranges on a near-perfect day.
For our descent, we descended the gully between Tensor and Dyadic, heading ENE true. From above, we occasionally found little ledges and trails on its right (south) side, that avoided the boulders and catsclaw in the bottom, making this definitely the easier to travel and navigate. Had to resist a couple temptations to bail out left too soon. The point to turn NW is obvious when you finally get there. This route is likely much easier to navigate up as well. It's mostly easy walking up and over the dune-topped pass. It's a 250ft gain up to the pass, but still easier than the more direct route we took up, which easily had more extra gain over numerous smaller drops.
Overall, this is the kind of loop I like: shorter and steeper up, longer and gradual down. If you park where we did, you better look back frequently as you walk away from your car, and pick a suitable backdrop to remember (or set a waypoint on the GPS!). The flat-looking slope is slightly curved and hid our cars until only a 1/4 mile away.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3909 ft / 1191 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3909 ft / 1190 m
    Round-Trip Distance:14.4 mi / 23.2 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Open Country, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3619 ft / 1103 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 2774 ft / 846 m; Extra: 845 ft / 257m
    Loss on way in:845 ft / 257 m
    Distance:6.9 mi / 11.1 km
    Route:N gully
    Start Trailhead:CA62  1708 ft / 520 m
    Time:6 Hours 0 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3064 ft / 933 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 2774 ft / 846 m; Extra: 290 ft / 88m
    Gain on way out:290 ft / 88 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route:ENE gully
    End Trailhead:CA62  1708 ft / 520 m
    Time:3 Hours 26 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Richard Hensley
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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