The weather was supposed to be beautiful, and I was partnerless. I decided to go to the Indian Wells canyon and try climbing Aquila peak, and to traverse the Five Fingers, a series of chossy towers in the desert made of decomposing granite.
Not an impressive summit, but it looked like an interesting scramble. I woke up at 4am, and drove out through the Kern Canyon and onto Highway 395.
|Aquila Peak and the Five Fingers|
After 3.5 hours of driving I pulled into the parking lot and started trudging up the dirt hill towards the "first finger" the first of a series of towers. My plan was to traverse the ridge line and climb any of the towers that looked like easy solo scrambles.
I had some route finding issues to gain access to the first tower. I started up some chossy low 5th class terrain, climbed some slabs, and then there were some steep looking cracks. So I down climbed and found a 3rd class way up on the other side. I ripped off a loose block while climbing, took a small tumble and cut my elbow and hand. The day was not off to a great start.
Eventually I made my way up, then traversed over to the second tower.
|Top of the 1st tower|
|The second summit|
I then traversed along the ridge. It was pretty fun. I by-passed the next 2 towers, both looked like either low 5th class climbing or steep 4th class climbing. I realized that while soloing I am pretty nervous climber, I think I need to get more practice solo scrambling so I can get more comfortable soloing 4th class terrain. I don't think my little fall earlier helped with my confidence. The upclimbing is not so scary - its the down climbing!
|Looking back along the ridge traverse|
|Looking forward on the traverse|
I tagged the next tower, down climbed and then found myself at the base of the last, and tallest tower - Aquila Peak. Rather than down climbing all the way to the north face where there is an easy 3rd class chute, I climbed the west face directly, which was a nice moderate 4th class climb. Then the summit! yay! Fun little scramble.
I then headed down and back to the car. I was home by 4pm. A fun little scramble, I learned that I am a bit of a wuss on 4th class and low 5th class terrain when I am solo. Something to work on, and build come confidence.
There are some other interesting looking hiking peaks in the area, I'll have to come back some time and check them out.
|Maybe head up Owen Peak next time|