Orocopia Mountains


By: Hugh Parshall


28 persons arrived at our interesting campsite overlooking Salton Wash, All-American Canal and the Salton Sea on Saturday afternoon, February 15th. The afternoon was spent exploring canyons, rockhounding (beautiful specimens of Actinolite, Jasper and Chalcedony were found.), going to the Art Exhibit at Palm Desert or visiting the Date Festival in Indio. Those who went to the Art Exhibit saw James Swinnerton and Frederick Remington as well as the works of these two famous desert artists and others. Sunday morning 16 climbers started out at daylight under cloudy skies and headed up the wash for Orocopia Peak. After about an hour's hiking up the ridge it started raining and four hikers turned back. 12 climbers, however, kept going and soon the rain turned to sleet and then to snow. The last half mile to the peak was made in a blizzard with winds estimated at 40 miles per hour and the temperature about 20 above.

Little time was spent on the top as all were cold and miserable and the wind trying all the time to blow us off the ridges. The return down the mountainside was made in record time with a stop later for a bite to eat below the snow line. All hikers displayed the typical Sierra Club "good spirits" despite frost-bitten noses and fingers and all climbers returned safely to camp. Few will forget the day when balmy Orocopia almost became a candidate for the Sierra Peaks List with crampons and ice axes.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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