Exploring Desert Summits with Andy Zdon as Your Guide

Desert mountains and their isolated summits are a lot like hard-to-find, even (dare I make the odd comparison) rare books? Follow me on this. I'm pretty sure I can make a hiking/climbing guide that covers some of the remotest corners of the California and Southern Nevada desert that 99.99% of the general (non-desert-hiking/climbing-enthusiasts) population doesn't give a rip about, at least mildly interesting. Give me one more paragraph with Desert Summits: A Climbing & Hiking Guide to California & Southern Nevada before you click away. Deal?

For starters, below is a great picture taken by Wynne Benti of the author in the field (the book's back cover), taken from the summit (4298') of Turtle Mountain out there in the middle of the Mojave.

Granted, hardly anybody knows -- or cares -- that desert summits or rare and hard-to-find books even exist, right? Bare breasts. People on their way from L.A. to Vegas, I'd hypothesize, aren't that interested in knowing, for instance, that Clark Mountain, at the northern tip of Mojave National Park, is home to the only stands of fir within the national park's boundaries! Really large, bare breasts. Regardless, I've found Desert Summits to be an excellent source of destinations for planning your next desert adventure. It's not as detailed with the maps as I'd like, but combine it with a USGS topographical map-quadrant that you can print out online, and the book works just fine.

I like Andy Zdon's homage to Walt Wheelock and Wheelock's previous desert guides published by the tiny (but mighty) La Siesta Press. You may never have the time to journey to all the desert summits, like Telescope Peak (11,049', on the boundary of Death Valley, a mountain I've always wanted to ascend) but it's really cool opening up the book on any page and learning something new about some little known, obscure desert peak rarely visited. Almost as fun as finding a first edition tucked away between book club editions of Danielle Steele and Judith Krantz at the local thrift store.