Piute Peak

  • Piute Peak
  • 2573 m
  • Primary factor 1061 m
  • California, USA.
  • Location: North 35.44933, West 118.38850 (GPS on the summit.)
  • Difficulty: YDS class 2+
  • Climbed September 16. 2018


How to get there:
Locate Walker Basin, this is served by Hwy. 483 (Caliente Bodfish Road) connecting to Hwy. 58 (running between Bakersfield and Mojave), to the south.
Coming from the south, as soon as you reach the basin, go right on Walker Basin Road. Follow this road until you arrive at a hilltop (location N35.38263, W118.4115), where Piute Mountain Road (Road 501) forks left. Take this road, it will lead you all the way to the mountain.
With a 4WD, this peak is therefore essentially a drive-up. High up, near the summits, the dirt road crosses east (to the right hand side) of Piute, however a small side-road forks left. Follow this road a short stretch and you will get all the way up into a shallow saddle between the rounded east summit and a more rocky middle summit. Park here, unless you already parked somewhere lower down.
Route description:
There are several competing high-points. The terrain in between is full of unpleasant brush and scattered rocks. It is rather cumbersome to move between these points.
From the saddle that one may drive to, first visit the east summit. The jeep road continues in this direction. Thus, follow the road and lone may largely avoid the brush. This summit has a cairn as well as a survey mark, the cairn may not be at the highest point.
Returning to the saddle, what is often considered the highest point, is a huge rock on top of a sloping hillside full of brush. Make your way there and do an easy scramble to get up onto the rock.
The next top over (the west summit) again requires some considerable bushwack, harder than it looks given the short distance. This summit is also called Pah. An easy scramble will get you to the top. There is an official USGS survey marker as well as a small cairn and a summit registeron the top.
It seemed pretty clear that the east summit is slightly lower, while the middle and the west summits are close contenders for being highest.
I had visited Breckenridge Mountain in the morning. I then drove the last part of Breckenridge Road leading down into the valley below the Piute mountain.
I parked in the saddle between the two summits at 1100. Visiting the east summit was straightforward. I next decided to put on long pants before fighting the thorny brush.
I was on the middle summit around 1115 and after a short rest there, proceeded to the west summit, arriving there shortly before noon. I was back by my car around 1230.