Cave of the Winding Stair ~ Mojave National Preserve (January 1988)

Cave of the Winding Stair Mojave Desert California

Up until 2008, our adventures were retained only as memories and on 35mm slides. While our memories may have faded (just a bit), the slides haven’t – and we have a lot of them. So we’re digitizing a select few to bring some of our past adventures into the 21st Century. The photos below are some of those old slides.


Mitchell Caverns are a trio of limestone caves in the Providence Mountains State Recreation Area in Southern California. The Tecopa and El Pakiva caves are connected by a man-made tunnel and are now open to guided tours led by California State Park rangers. The Cave of the Winding Stair (or Winding Stair Cave) is considered dangerous and is closed to the public, though it is occasionally used for training cave rescue teams. The caverns are named after Jack Mitchell, who owned and operated two of them from 1934 to 1954 as a tourist attraction for travelers on nearby Route 66. The area became a state recreation area in 1956 and a part of the Mojave National Preserve in 1994, but the caves are still owned and operated by the State of California. I became aware of them in 1987 during a climb of nearby Mitchell Point, a peak on the Desert Peaks Section list. At that time, Winding Stair was open to those equipped and experienced enough to convince the rangers to issue a permit. Our team of six applied for a permit and was granted one – following an onsite equipment inspection – in January 1988.

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Warren Peak (Joshua Tree National Park) 19-Apr-2018

Warren Peak Joshua Tree National Park California

As part of a recent roadtrip around various western national parks and monuments, we spent a couple of days at Joshua Tree National Park, site of various rock climbing adventures in days gone bye. In deference to The LovedOne’s still touchy knee, we picked an easy (6 miles round-trip; 1,100 feet of elevation gain) hike to the summit of Warren Peak on the west side of the park. Aside from big views from the summit, we’d also be hiking in the Joshua Tree Wilderness. Conditions were cool and blustery but otherwise bluebird – perfect for hiking. A storm was coming in from the west but it never got as far as Joshua Tree (but it did give campers at Coachella 2018 some meteorological thrills).

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