Pinto Peak

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blackturtle.us
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Pinto Peak

Post by blackturtle.us » Tue Jun 19, 2018 6:17 pm

I hiked to the top of Pinto Peak via Emigrant Pass on Sunday (June 17). I attempted to make it to the summit the previous Sunday (June 10), but the hike went a little long(*). Following the road/trail to the peak is about 15.5 miles, but a strategic shortcut reduces the mileage to about 14 miles even. Based on the entries in the summit register, not too many people do the hike during June, but these last two Sundays were pretty mild. In fact, on the second hike I actually had to put on a windbreaker on the way down as the temperature above 6000 feet just before sunset was somewhere slightly under 60F. The previous Sunday was only slightly warmer. [The first Sunday it was 82F at the trailhead at four in the afternoon and the second Sunday it was 78F at the same location and time. Probably most of you are morning hikers... I prefer late afternoon...]

There are those who say that this hike is desolate and boring and that's probably a fair assessment of the first three miles of the hike. Others say that the hike is like a roller coaster and that's definitely accurate. Once an interesting playa is crossed at about 3.5 miles, the rest of the hike is quite scenic with excellent views and lots of juniper trees. Unfortunately it was a little hazy on both days that I was on the trail.

The trail/road is badly overgrown and very faint in spots. Does anyone know why the road was created in the first place? Was it just to get to the peak for the scenic view or was there another reason? I saw no evidence of mining activity and it's hard to believe that livestock grazed the area and so the only reason I imagine the road exists is for the view. I'd guess that the road has been closed for several decades although it is technically still "drive-able" although the bushes in the center are getting a little out-of-hand!

(* On the first attempt I turned around at 7100 feet with a fourteen mile roundtrip. It turned out I was closer to the peak than I thought. It appeared that the peak was over a mile away and it was actually only three-quarters of a mile further up the road.)

HIKE INFO: http://www.dvplants.com/HIKES/DV/pinto.html
PICS: http://www.dvplants.com/SITES/WILDROSE/

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TrailHound
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Re: Pinto Peak

Post by TrailHound » Wed Jun 20, 2018 8:49 am

Thank you for posting this report. We attempted the route a few years ago, but turned around a few miles from the peak for various reasons. The road bed is not hard to see looking across a distance where it is foreshortened. Up close, you can be standing on top of it and not see it. Much of it is visible on Google Earth. You could create a track and download to GPS as a navigational aid. My impression of the area was that cross-country travel would not be a big deal. The hike is really cross-country with the road bed serving as a guideline.

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MojaveGeek
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Re: Pinto Peak

Post by MojaveGeek » Wed Jun 20, 2018 6:29 pm

First, thanks BlackTurtle for posting this, I like the shortcut idea. I've gone up there several times, but never reached the summit (from Emigrant, have done so from Towne) just because of the distance. The first time my excuse was that my son was only a few years old. The second time, we did a variation where we walked the other old road from Emigrant, across White Sage Flat, which has always interested me, and then ascended a more westerly ridge to to where it meets the road relatively near the summit. There's hints of an old air strip by White Sage Flat; never heard of that but I suspect it has something to do with the nearby former summer headquarters at Whildrose? As TrailHound says, cross country travel is quite straightforward there, given the rounded terrain and vegetation. Little chance to get lost. Oh nice Joshua Trees on White Sage.

Interestingly, I have never found the road at all hard to follow, except right at the pass where the ground is somewhat beat down. But it is a loooong hike and cutting that big meander off the road would be a great idea and make it more likely one would have time to gain the summit.

Of course with longer days you've got a better shot at it, and the elevation keeps it somewhat cool. Glad you made it all the way.

BTW a dynamite shuttle hike would be to leave a car at the bottom of Jayhawker Canyon, then hike the road from Emigrant to the head of the canyon, and down the canyon. I haven't done that, but I did once hike up from around the GDD Mill area over into Jayhawker and down the canyon from there. A nice but long day.

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wbdeford
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Re: Pinto Peak

Post by wbdeford » Thu Jun 21, 2018 4:52 am

Nice! I headed that direction from the road in 2016. I didn't go as far, but I definitely found it very scenic.

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blackturtle.us
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Re: Pinto Peak

Post by blackturtle.us » Thu Jun 21, 2018 7:23 pm

The one thing I'll recommend if you take the shortcut is not to wear shorts. My shins got pretty scraped up, which is not unusual for me as I do a lot of bushwacking, but if you don't want to have all sorts of scrapes and scratches on your shins, wear long pants! I'm pretty sure the main scrub growing on the hillsides is blackbush.
Pics and info about the likely culprit:
http://www.dvplants.com/PLANTS/BLACK/index.html
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Candace_66
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Re: Pinto Peak

Post by Candace_66 » Thu Jul 12, 2018 4:58 pm

Thanks for this. Pinto is one of the few significant DVNP peaks I still need to do.

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