Route: LQ Cove West Ridge Scrambler (CA)

Submitted by Rob Manley on Sat, 03/06/2021 - 07:33pm
California, US
United States
10 mi
Vertical Gain
5,500 ft

This is a classic desert trip for those looking for something a little different than a pleasant trail run. This is like a game of hopscotch on steroids! 

Once you park at the far end of the La Quinta cove on the SW side, walk on the sidewalk and cross over the concrete wash. Once on the other side, turn left and the start is about a couple hundred feet ahead on your right. Consider the beginning a warmup. Start up the unnamed rocky use trail and make sure you turn right at the split about .3 miles up. From there, continue heading up the trail toward the prominent saddle ahead and a little right. The trail puts you into a drainage but faintly continues for the last mile (if you don't find the trail, no big, follow the drainage to the saddle). 

Once at the saddle, scramble up the ridge on your right till you top out on the ridge line proper. From here, it's basically 8 miles of scree, talus, boulders large and small, in a long swooping line resembling a dragon's back. It's not clear enough to open up a fast run but not technical enough to slow to a crawl. It's rock hopping madness! At times, the ridge rounds out a bit while other times it's a sharp spine. It is desert rock so there's plenty of grip, but at times eroded and large rocks can spin beneath you if you aren't paying close attention. Most of the traverse hangs around 2nd to 3rd class but depending on your choice of route, you may find yourself exposed on some 4th and even 5th class moves. There's no water on this ridge so either carry ample supply or maybe cache behind the La Quinta Resort area since there are a couple of lower saddles. Keep that watch running until you touch blacktop behind the Vons shopping center.

The only real rule to this challenge (other than start and finish) is to do your best to stay with the natural contour of the upper ridge. Don't stress about hitting every peak along the way. It's not about that. But this isn't about trying to shortcut as much as possible either (not many opportunities for it anyway) but to fully experience the dragon's back. If you aren't sure what that may look like, just load the kml file before you go! ANKLES BEWARE! It's beautiful up there with the 360 views of the thousands of palm trees and dozens of golf course on all sides, but be careful! Keep your eyes focused and your shoes tied tight! It can turn sketchy if you zone out. Have fun!!


GPS Track