Peak 3500 ft. (North Elder) Collins Valley area

Anza-Borrego Desert State Park, California

A view of Peak 3500 ft. looking north from near Elder Benchmark. This peak has been named "North Elder" on the website. On our first attempt we went north from Elder, but ran into difficulty trying to get to the summit area. Big blocks and a difficult slot stopped us from the south. The map below shows a better route from the north starting at the end of the road in Salvador Canyon. The prominence value for the summit is 600 ft.
The above map shows our route on the mountain. The map has a one-kilometer UTM grid using NAD 27 datum. The down route is a bit shorter, but not any easier. This is a tough boulder scramble of about 1.7 miles with 2000 ft. of gain. The route took us 4 hours up. The summit has about four blocks and the one on the southeast appears to be the highest. As the track shows it is best to climb up from the east side to near the top then go south up a narrow chute to the summit area next to the highest block. We placed a register by a small tree below the block which looks very difficult to climb. It could probably be done by throwing a rope over it, but the east side falls way off so that would not work too well.

It is also a challenge to get to the trailhead. Here are some mileages from Borrego Springs:

From the Christmas Circle drive east one mile and go left on Di Grigorio Road, reset odometer.

4.5 miles end of pavement

6.9 miles sign for Alcoholic Pass trail

7.5 miles Sign for Desert Gardens

7.8 cross arroyo, high clearance is needed beyond here

9.3 miles gaging station, cross stream

9.6 miles Coyote Canyon sign and gate. Closed from June 1 to September 30

10.0 miles third crossing, rough

10.1 miles nasty, rocky hill, rough and rocky for next 0.5 mile. 4WD low range needed. This hill is called

"Boulder Alley".

10.6 miles top of hill, better road from here

10.9 historic marker junction, go left

11.7 Sheep Canyon junction, go right

12.9 Salvador Canyon junction go left

13.1 road ends, park here

Hiking route: Walk west in the arroyo about 1/2 mile and pick a route left up through the boulders. Our route works fairly well. There is no optimum route. It is long climb snakeing through the boulders to a high canyon on the east side of the summit. The track should be closely followed from the boulder-filled valley east of the peak to get up to the summit blocks. 2/17 RLC A track file is available: P3500 Track.gpx