Cady Peak and Rodman Range Highpoint Trip Report

Cady Peak (4,627 feet) and Rodman Range highpoint (6,010 feet)

Date: March 14, 2007
participants: Adam Helman and Terry Flood

Cady and Rodman are both on the California 2,000+ foot list of prominent peaks, forming my principal motivation for this very long daytrip.

After but three hours sleep, I arose at 3 a.m. and met Terry Flood in his Carlsbad apartment by 4 o'clock. With much needed coffee from the local AM/PM store (enhanced with some very dark eating chocolate), we soon drove north on Interstate-15 to Barstow and, ultimately, to the "trailhead" for Cady Peak via the Hector Road exit perhaps 25 miles east along Interstate-40.

It is 5.4 road miles from crossing the railroad tracks, heading generally northeast, until a good parking spot for the hike. The first 2 miles are quite sandy, and I recommend four-wheel drive for this section. In fact, you will probably get stuck without it.

Richard Carey's approach drive instructions, and GPS-derived route waypoints, were both handy and accurate.

This moderate effort was thoroughly enjoyable. We took a route slighly modified from that suggested by Richard Carey, and independently by Edward Earl, by accessing Cady's southeast ridgeline one "bump" farther southeast. This was a minor mistake, it turns out, as it forces one to climb over the bump only to lose the elevation. On descent we exited the ridge while still north of the bump - presumably reversing the recommended route.

Terry had difficulty locating the summit register. Eventually he gave up and emplaced an entirely new register for this, a significant desert peak. Then, just before departing, Terry found the original register - so retrieving the new one for later use on Rodman.

Terry DID find a pint water bottle, still full, and we puzzled over who would leave it! After a lively E-mail discussion, Mark Adrian notes that Gail Hanna is the likeliest "suspect".

Summit views were glorious - a perfectly cloudless day. I gave one-sixth of my sandwich to Terry - smoked salmon (not lox) and cream cheese on a large onion roll with poppyseeds. Sliced onion and sambal oelek, an Indonesian chili sauce, added huge flavor.

Ascent consumed 2.1 hours with breaks. After a nice siesta we descended at 11:20 a.m., and returned to my truck in 1.5 hours total. The elapsed time from truck-to-summit-to-truck was 4 hours 14 minutes.

We fueled truck and ourselves in Daggett, and proceeded southeast on Camp Rock Road to Rodman. This was a drive-up, parking at the summit plateau amidst several radio facilities. We walked perhaps 400-500 feet southwest to the true summit, climbing perhaps all of 40 vertical feet on Class 2 rocks and boulders. Views were again wonderful - that feeling of great distance you get atop a lonely desert peak.

A summit register was not found, and so the recently resurrected (and new) Cady register was pressed into service. During an E-mail discussion the following evening, Andy Martin stated that Richard Carey may have left a register just to the west of the true summit - where, indeed, I had noted a minor "bump" a mere 20 or 30 feet away.

The final 1,000 vertical feet entails a side-road with some exposure for the top one-half. High clearance is recommended, and four wheel drive is not really needed. DRIVE CAUTIOUSLY!!

In part to avoid rush hour through Ontario and Riverside, we ate supper in Victorville - a Panda Express Chinese-style eatery inside Von's supermarket. The meal was both delicious and filling. We each had a three-entrée meal with fried rice. I chose Kung Pao chicken, sweet and sour pork, and Firecracker chicken. The latter was simply superb - and largely from the extra hot chile peppers, bell pepper with onion, and sauce.

Terry enjoys milk greatly, and so, true to our plans, he left the market with a quart of whole milk for the drive home. I enjoyed a pint of mocha cappuccino - flavored milk, also from the dairy aisle, with a vanilla almond biscotti from the in-house Starbuck's café. This got us back to San Diego without Terry having to take over the wheel.

We learned much about each other - such as Terry's reptile collection and bout with cancer that is now in remission.

After reimbursment for one-half the gasoline, I drove home to find the trip odometer at 482.7 Adam truck miles - about 490 true statute miles, given that my odometer reads about one-sixtieth part too low. It was just after 9 p.m. - and I was asleep before 11: extraordinarily early for myself. I had trouble "thinking straight" by bedtime; and this accruing from a mere three hours sleep the previous night, followed by twenty hours of activity.

Long day - near the limit of what is feasible as a daytrip from San Diego.