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Talk about a trip you took out to Anza Borrego

Split Mountain East and West Messages in this topic - RSS

tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 105


12/19/2017
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 105
Split Mountain is about 10 miles south of Ocotillo Wells. The trailhead for Split East starts about 4 miles down Fish Creek Wash by the wind caves. I engaged the 4x4 for the last mile or so because of rocks and sand. I followed the trail to the wind caves, then continued up on a faint use trail that I lost and found a few times. From the top of a ridge, I realized there was no connecting ridge to Split Mountain East and that I needed to cross one of the dried mud washes. On the other side of the wash, I got my first look at the summit and it was a clear ridge walk from there. The register went back to 1994. I descended more directly back to the truck dropping in and climbing out of the major gully as needed. The round trip to East was 4.1 miles, 1700' net gain, and took 3 hours 15 minutes.



Wind caves





Elephant Knees formation and badlands


Crossing the mud wash


Summit


Split East register

The trailhead for Split Mountain West is only a half mile from the East trailhead, but the road is even rougher with big rocks. I started up Oyster Shell Wash, then took a right into a more direct wash. There were a few class 2 scrambling sections, boulders of all sizes, mud pits and mud slabs. Steep walls rose up on both sides. The topo map is not as useful here where smooth 40' contour lines hide 30' cliffs. This is tough terrain to navigate with all the broken ridges and washes. I followed the wash a little more than a mile before I reached a three way fork. I continued straight up and over a small rise to drop into another wash with high, pock marked walls on the right. I hugged the wall until I reached another fork. This time, I went left and climbed steeply out. At a local high point on a ridge, I saw the double peaked summit about a half mile away. There is some controversy over the true summit of Split Mountain West (the official Sierra Club summit). Peakbagger has it marked on a ridge about 0.4 miles southeast of the actual summit. The left peak of the double peak is slightly higher, as measured with a surveyor tool by Wes Shelberg in 1993. At the Split West summit, I found the double red cans that typically hold Sierra Club registers and signed in. Many of the people on peakbagger apparently stopped at the other ridge because their GPS tracks ended at that spot and their names were not in the register. I sent an email to Greg Slayden who runs the site with evidence of the correct location but I'm not sure if it will be updated (or it anyone really cares). Split West doesn't get much traffic. On the way down, I tried to descend the wash from a higher point than where I left it. It didn't work out quite as I expected and I ended up going down a feeder wash that required trickier down climbing to get back on my ascent route. That just hammered home the potential navigation issues. It's easy to take a wrong turn and get cliffed out. I think the scenery on Split West was even more impressive than Split East. I scored two mylar balloons on the way out. The round trip to Split West was 5.4 miles, 1900' net gain, and took 3 hours 35 minutes. I love this area and would love to come back and explore farther down Fish Creek Wash. It's quite a long drive from the OC, though.



Dropping into the ascent wash


Scramble section (would be a mudfest if wet)


Looking back after climbing out








Explanation of the placement at this location as the high point





Descending





edited by tekewin on 12/19/2017
edited by tekewin on 12/19/2017
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Britain
Britain
Posts: 354


12/19/2017
Britain
Britain
Posts: 354
Nice . We have an Apartment in Santa Ana. Understand the travel. But its always good to get out.

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Cant drive 55
Britain
http://icorva.com
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tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 796


12/19/2017
tommy750
tommy750
Posts: 796
Nice TR. Looks like a great day for a hike. Envy from all of us stuck at work! Tom
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 105


12/20/2017
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 105
Weather was perfect, low of 50 and warmed up to 70.
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dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2189


12/20/2017
dsefcik
dsefcik
Administrator
Posts: 2189
Love that area, thanks for sharing. You can definitely get cliffed out easy in the Fish Creek Mtns. Hope to get out there this xmas break.

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http://www.sefcik.com
http://www.darensefcik.com
http://www.carrizogorge.com
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tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 105


12/20/2017
tekewin
tekewin
Posts: 105
dsefcik wrote:
Love that area, thanks for sharing. You can definitely get cliffed out easy in the Fish Creek Mtns. Hope to get out there this xmas break.

Yeah, the landscape is so broken, it was tricky. Such cool geology.
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rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 412


12/21/2017
rockhopper
rockhopper
Posts: 412
Neat hiking trough 5-10 Million year old marine, inter tidal and river sediments. Split mountain was said to be "split" during a huge earthquake. Thanks for trip report and photos!
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