While backpacking the Boy Scout Trail in Joshua Tree with my good friend Ted Hoelter, I hoped to summit Keys Peak which is on the Lower Peaks Committee list. After hiking about 4 miles along the trail, we found a nice spot to set up camp for the night. Keys Peak was just a short walk to our east. Once camp was set up, we headed over to the base of the peak.
I looked at the western face and felt that we could tackle it straight on until near the summit where the rocks looked larger and we would stay to the right for the last bit. While I spotted one cairn near the start, I did not see the next one. No matter, the terrain did not provide any issues. About halfway up, something shiny caught my eye, and I found a mylar balloon caught in a bush, so I headed over to collect it. Once the trash was packed away, I headed back toward my original route. As I expected, toward the top, there were a few Class 2 sections to scramble through, but soon we were on the summit.
I found the benchmark and register. We snapped our photos and took advantage of cell service to check in with our spouses. The sun was setting and there was a light breeze, so I was eager to climb back down and start thinking about dinner. Coming down, I quickly found the string of cairns that guided us back to the desert floor. This little excursion was .5 miles with just over 325 feet of gain. Back at camp, we enjoyed our dinner under the evening skies before turning in.
I am an avid peak bagger, sometimes backpacker, and former sea kayaker living in San Diego. In 2019, I became the third person to complete the San Diego 100 Peak Challenge. Not stopping with that accomplishment, I set my sights on the harder San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list, which I completed in 2021. In addition, I have conquered several Six-Pack of Peaks challenges (SoCal, San Diego, and Arizona-Winter). Beyond attempting the San Diego Sierra Club 100 Peak list a second time, I am looking forward to exploring new summits and new adventures across the southwest.