Leaders: Charlie Knapke, Bobcat Thompson
Weldon Peak is about 4 miles directly south of Sorrell Peak in Section 2 of our list. It is 1 1/2 miles south of the southern most edge of the Sequoia National Forest. The peak is actually on public land administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM).
If you look at the Sequoia National Forest map you will find the public and private land segments form a kind of checkerboard in this area. This originated back in the early days of the notional forest system. The railroads were granted land rights in one square mile segments. I've never heard the reason for this system. As chance would have it, Weldon peaks sets on one of these pieces of isolated sections of public land.
In the last few years the BLM in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service has been planning and building the Pacific Crest Trail through this area. Actually the BLM plans their section, arranges easements through private sections and then contracts out the work. The section of the PCT that passes Weldon Peak is now complete. Thanks to an easement arranged by the BLM through private ranch land just north of the peak, it is now possible to climb Weldon Peak via public access.
On Saturday morning 12 of us met the mouth of Jawbone Canyon north of Mojave. We caravanned up Jawbone Canyon road, down through Kelso Valley and then up Geringer Grade to the top of the ridge. A little way past the Saunders Ranch Junction is a short road that leads to a small pile of rocks and a parking area. This is where our hike began.
After signing in, we went west downhill about 50 feet to the PCT. We turned south (left) on the PCT and followed it less than a mile to where we came across a BLM easement stake. A short distance further we merged with a dirt road that accesses the ranches in the area. Keeping on this road we went another mile to a road fork with a sign 'Bear Creek Ranch' pointing to the right. Turning right, we went a few hundred feet to where the PCT leaves the road and heads south. Less than a half mile later we were back on public land. After passing a ridge we left the PCT and headed up toward the peak. Last year I followed the gully up but this year I followed the ridge to the left of the gully. The gully was better.
There are two high points. Both lie between the same two topo lines. The west point is a wide wooded point that is nothing spectacular. The south point we judged to be slightly higher and is a fifth class rock. We climbed up a short third class section to an area twenty feet below the high point. There is no bench mark. We found the register that I had placed the year before. No one had been there in the intervening year. We had a great view to the south and of Kelso Valley to the east as we had our lunch.
We decided to go back via the gully to the PCT and then back to the cars via the BLM easement. It should be possible to hike this peak via the PCT from Hwy. 58 to the south. This may take a couple of days. We also climbed Sorrell Peak and drove out to Piute Lookout the same day.
This was the second time that I have lead this peak. Last year I was assisted by David Eisenberg. This trip was suggested by Bobcat who also offered to assist. I am grateful for his assistance and I would like to thank all who attended. All of the participants were of the opinion that it would be a worthy addition to the list. Since this trip I have recommended to the HPS Management Committee that Weldon Peak be added to the 1993 HPS ballot for consideration by the general membership for inclusion in the HPS Peak List. This was approved by the committee.