This is a reworked Trip Report originally posted on the Anza Borrego Forum on May 18, 2014
Yesterday Dave “Cappy” Capon, Steve Y., & I attempted to complete a loop from Penny Pines to the desert floor & back.
We started off just before sunrise and made our way south on the PCT to a highpoint just north of Monument Peak. We cut off-trail east and began to descend the main ridge. The wind started up & made downclimbing quite difficult as our feet would be forcibly pushed away from their intended targets. Dave seemed to really enjoy the routing as he was expecting us to have dropped down one of the adjoining canyons. He wisely decided to turn back a third of the way down, I could see him getting pushed around by the wind as he made his way back up.
The wind didn’t let up all day but, as Steve put it, we soon got used to it as if we were getting our sea-legs. There were a few steep but managable aretes on the ridge and we made the desert floor in about 2.5 hours. It was noticibly hotter down there but the wind made it bearable. We were treated to a foot-wide, clear running stream of water in Storm Creek and took a break in the shade of a small bank to eat a snack.
We then turned our attention to the main ridge leading up to Garnet Peak. We attacked the lower slope seperately & rejoined where the ridge narrowed. The terrain got quite a bit steeper & bushier as we ascended. I was constantly surprised by the lack of animal (or human) use trails as we were on the only possible route around. We saw cairns at two ridge-peaks early on but that was it. There were two spots that required some climbing but I find it hard to believe deer, sheep, or people would be turned back by those short segments.
We were pleasantly surprised below Garnet Peak when we came over a rise and saw that the main ridge bypassed a face that we thought had the potential to send us back to the desert floor. We summited Garnet and jogged down the PCT to the car by noon.
Elapsed Time——6 Hours and 24 Minutes
Elevevation Gain–4,118 Feet