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Ascent of Spectre Peak on 2016-01-17

Climber: Mat Kelliher

Others in Party:Neal Robbins
Tohru Ohnuki
Lisa Miyake
Kathy Rich
Daryn Dodge
Dave Scobie
Debbie Chavez
Fred Stehle
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Sunday, January 17, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Spectre Peak
    Location:USA-California
    Elevation:4482 ft / 1366 m

Ascent Trip Report

***Sierra Club Outing***
led by Mat Kelliher, Neal Robbins. Invaluable route finding help from Tohru Ohnuki. Priceless and utterly necessary pre-trip beta from Regge Bulman.

Two day trip. We set out about 1:00 pm on Saturday and packed our way in to camp near the mouth of the west southwesterly-trending canyon used as the approach for DPS Route A. Roughly 3 hours to get to our camp spot.

Sunday morning we set out about 6:40 am and made our way up the DPS Route A canyon, varying our route from the north- to the middle- to the south-side of the canyon as the boulder-choked Class 2 terrain dictated; every now and then we'd find ourselves on a vague use trail, but that never lasted very long. We continued up canyon past a couple of terraces to a final "plateau" area between Tensor (Aqua BM), Spectre, and Dyadic. Mostly for ease in finding our route later, we continued our WSW direction of travel until we reached the saddle between Tensor and Spectre; here we turned north-northeast and made our way up the steep 400' or so of rocky Class 2 terrain to the summit of Tensor.

From Tensor we headed mostly south down off the peak, and then across and up the steep Class 2/3 terrain to Spectre Peak. Our route took us up the eastern face of the peak, we stayed south of the prominent crack features near the center of this face, climbing instead up "slabby" rock just a bit north of cliffy ridgeline on the south. Heading up the route is pretty intuitive, and is ducked every now and then; slab rock and along ledges.

We headed east off the summit of Spectre over one minor little uplift and then down into a little flat area at the base of the west face of Dyadic. We made our way over the west face a short distance to a notch where 12 feet or so of Class 3 downclimbing is required to get down into a cleft in the rock that will get us up to the main summit portion of the peak; this downclimb is marked by a pine tree growing right at its base. We hung a 30' length of webbing up near the top of the downclimb for use as a hand rail if anyone needed it; no one did, so we left it there for our return. Once beyond the downclimb, we scrambled up a talusy chute to its head at a minor ridgeline, we worked our way back behind the ridge and then dropped down to a 20' Class 3 chimney over on the west face of the summit block with a 6' - 8' chockstone at its base. The chimney was easy to spot because a couple of lengths of webbing, used as belay/rap anchors by someone during previous climbs, were slung around a boulder at the top of the chimney. Neal led up the chimney, pausing about mid-way up it to hoist everyone's packs up to that point, then continued to the anchor. He re-slung it and then belayed us all up. I came up behind Neal, and Tohru behind me, and then Tohru and I went looking for the rest of our route while Neal belayed everyone up and Kathy tended the line down below; safety checking tie-knots, harnesses, etc.

Tohru and I worked our way up (climber's left) on a nice class 2/3 friction surface above the chimney belay as high as we could get before following a notch onto the back (east) side of the face. Here we found a series of cracks that extended up to near the summit ridge; I climbed up the higher, western most crack, no go, then down to the lower, eastern most crack, definitely no go. Tohru got up the middle crack, a deep one, and found it was the crack that had been described in our beta. Then I got up its Class 2 surface and got into it, went beyond a yucca plant near its upper extent to a 10' or so high pillar that requires an airy high Class 3 step-around to get past. I got around that and then slung the pillar with a 30' length of webbing to tether into while up there. Directly in front of me from there is an off-width Class 3 vertical crack that requires a bit of a step-across (high Class 3)to get into. Neal had caught up to us by now, and with the rest of the group waiting in the deep crack below the yucca plant, Neal stepped across and climbed up the off-width, slung an outcrop up near the summit to make a natural anchor, and then belayed the rest of the group up.

Great views up top, perfect weather, awesome climb!! Photos and sign the register, then off!

Everyone rappelled down; first Tohru, to act as Fireman's belay at the airy step around, then Fred to act as secondary Fireman's at the end of the rope, then me to take the rest of the group off as they came down. Everyone just downclimbed the chimney, Neal cleaned the upper anchor, grabbed the rope, downclimbed that upper belayed section, and made his way down to the base of the chimney.

Done with the technical stuff, we got back to camp as quickly as we could (about 2 hours from the base of the chimney), packed up, and headed out. Beautiful cool evening with a half-moon to light our way, lots of stars out, and only the faintest of breezes blowing as we headed down across the sandy desert wash.

Mileage to/from camp: 5.6 miles with 1280' gain, about 3 hours in, about the same coming out.
Mileage for the three peak loop: 3.9 miles, 1860' gain, about 2.5 hours from camp to Tensor, about 1 hour from Tensor to Spectre, about 5 hours from Spectre to Dyadic and back down to the base of the chimney. About 2 hours from the base of the chimney to camp.
Summary Total Data
    Quality:8 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Part of Trip: Dyadic Pt (1 nights total away from roads)

Complete Trip Sequence:
OrderPeak/PointDate
1Aqua Benchmark2016-01-17 a
2Spectre Peak2016-01-17 b
3Dyadic Point2016-01-17 c
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip


 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Mat Kelliher
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. Peakbagger.com accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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