Ascent of Martinez Mountain on 2017-11-12

Climber: Garrett McLean

Date:Sunday, November 12, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Martinez Mountain
    Elevation:6562 ft / 2000 m

Ascent Trip Report

For the first time in a long time, I joined Peter and Ignacia Doggett for an HPS outing. I hadn't hiked with them since we drove up to Santiago and Modjeska Peaks in early August. There were eight of us in all, led by the Doggetts and Jin Oak Chung (whose photos dominate this album), and everyone was a reasonably strong hiker. We hit the Cactus Spring Trail just before 7a. This was my first DPS peak, and I spent most of the early part of the hike falling in love with desert scenery. The first part of the trail descends about 600 feet to Horse Thief Creek, which we reached around 8a. We stopped here to stash some water and take a quick break.

Climbing out of the creek, we had our first real exercise of the day, which the group handled with aplomb. I was still reveling in desert scenery; it was kind of fun to look west and see San Jacinto Peak and San Gorgonio Mountain with cacti in the foreground. We reached Cactus Spring Junction just after 9a. This is where hikers looking to bag Sheep Mountain (which is also on the HPS list) turn north toward that peak. It's a trivial addition, and I would have done it if I had been soloing, but the group today was only attempting to summit Martinez. I decided if it wasn't too close to dark on the return, I'd sign out early and get the extra peak.

From the junction, we climbed to a saddle, which we reached a bit before 10:30a. At this point, as is typical, things became much steeper. Also, the trail ended, and what Ignacia calls "micro route finding" became necessary. I don't think it'd be easy to get lost while ascending Martinez, but it was nice to follow the lead of people who had climbed this peak several times and not have to think about it.

It wasn't too long after the saddle that we were scrambling up the class 3 summit block. Some scrambles are restricted on HPS outings, requiring the group be led by an M-rated leader (e.g. I need to go back to Cornell Peak and climb the summit block). Fortunately, this wasn't one of them. The views atop Martinez were mired by by clouds, but nonetheless excellent. The Salton Sea was extremely large and incredibly close, and Rabbit Peak #2 taunted me. Mainly though, I was happy to see such a different type of natural beauty, and excited to work on the DPS list. Flipping through the summit register, I saw entries from several familiar names.

After a brief lunch and photo shoot, we began the mostly unremarkable descent. When we reached Cactus Spring Junction after 4p, I decided to abandon the idea of tacking on Sheep Mountain. We donned headlamps for the last couple of miles, but the trail was mercifully well-defined at this point and we made it to the cars at around 6:30p.
Summary Total Data
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Garrett McLean
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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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