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Aqua Pk (aka Tensor), Spectre Pk, and Dyadic Pk; 12-2-07
David Harris and I scrambled up these three peaks on the far-east side of Joshua Tree National Park.
To get to the trail head, drive about 40 miles east of Twentynine Palms on Highway 62. Just past mile-marker #72 you’ll see on the right side (south) a sandy road and gate. Park near the gate and start hiking from here.
We started hiking at 8am and hiked south about 3.5 miles up the sandy road and then turned off the sandy wash/road and headed x-country up a rocky gully towards an obvious saddle (to the SE). Luckily for us, it had rained the day before so the sandy road wasn’t too loose. From the saddle we dropped over the other side into a canyon (oriented SW-NE) that leads up (towards the SW) to pinyon pines and the NW shoulder of Aqua Pk.
We scrambled up the NW shoulder of Aqua Pk (class 2/3) and were rewarded with great views in all directions (11am). It was weird to look down at the jumble of rocks, washes and canyons we had come up, as it was hard to make-out where we had actually traveled. From Aqua Pk, we could see the two other objectives for the day; Spectre Pk lies due south and Dyadic PK lies SE. These 3 peaks surround a wash drainage that is typically used as the approach to Spectre Pk.
We descended the SW side of Aqua Pk into the sandy wash and then started up the north side of Spectre Pk (class 3). We were rewarded with even better views from Spectre Pk (noon). The whole Pinto Basin, JT Park, San Jac and snowy SanG were visible in the distance.
We descended the east ridge of Spectre and then started weaving our way up (some class 4) the west side of Dyadic Pk. Although Dyadic Pk looks to be the most spectacular of the bunch, it wasn’t very fun to climb on the super decomposed granite (by far the worst of the bunch). We got to the summit around 1:30pm
The descent down the north side of Dyadic Pk was the crux of the day. Luckily we had a short rope that allowed us to rappel down some ultra decomposed chimneys. We were breaking off big chucks of decomposed rock by just looking at them, yuck! It took us about 1.5 hours to get down and back into the main Spectre Pk wash that heads East-West.
Once in the main wash, we headed east for a long mile until it crossed with another wash that is oriented north-south. We followed this next wash north for about a mile until it crests a low saddle. From this low saddle we could look NW and see the wash and sandy road (and HWY 62 about 5 miles to the north) that we had come in on earlier in the day.
We finally got back to the car at 5:30pm (car-2-car 9.5 hours) with a total of about 16 miles, lots of ups & downs, lots of cat-claw scratches, lots of scrapes from decomposed rock, but another great day in the mountains with great company.
All 3 peaks had summit registers. Aqua and Dyadic have very old (~1960s) and very desiccated and brittle registers that are stored in old cans. These registers have to be handled very gently as the paper easily cracks as you turn the pages. Spectre Pk has a modern notebook register stored in an ammo box.
These peaks get very few visitors, I’d estimate just a few each year.
Aqua and Dyadic Pk had some remnants of bailing wire and wood from some old structure or tent (?)
This terrain is very convoluted and it helps to have very good beta before heading in to these canyons and washes. As usual, David had the route all pre-loaded into his GPS.
I have no idea where or what the 4 mile sandy road leads to; no mines, no abandoned buildings, no nothing. The JT rangers do patrol the sandy road (but not very often).
Although we did see some big horn sheep droppings, we didn’t see any critters all day.
We could hear bombing runs out in Fort Irwin.
Here are some photos
Aqua, Spectre, and Dyadic Photos
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