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Gimpilator
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PostThu Dec 26, 2019 4:44 pm 
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Frances and I packed the car for a week long trip, but later decided to keep it going a bit longer.  We did one little hike near town before heading south for warmer weather near Yuma.

11-30
Long View Peak – 2584’

Unofficially named in the Purcell guidebook, this peak in the River Mountains is accessed from a picnic area to the northeast.  Nice approach canyon and then up the south side which is loose.  Good views of Lake Mead.

Long View
Long View

12-1
Mount Newberry – 3624'

Started the driving trip with this peak in the Spirit Mountains which is accessed from Pipespring Canyon.  Descend the canyon to an open bowl, turn left and ascend a southwest rib to the west ridge of a false summit.  Bypass false summit to finish on the southwest ridge of the peak.

Spirit
Spirit

Peak 1908

In the Parker Dam area we parked on the side of the main road and hiked south in a pleasant and narrow canyon.  Starting with the higher unnamed peak we ascended a steep loose gully which had apparent dryfalls.  We found a good ledge system under the left wall which bypassed the dryfalls with relative ease.

1908
1908

On the ridge between the two peaks we proceeded up the west ridge which was thick with cholla.  The ridge was easier than it appeared with some short simple class 3 moves around the right side.


Giers Mountain – 1888'

Daylight was in short supply, so we hurried over to Giers.  A direct ascent was clearly not an option due to cliffs and a huge prow.  We traversed the south side to reach the upper southwest ridge.  A few moves of steep class 3 was necessary to reach the upper mesa of the mountain.

Giers
Giers

Wonderful views of the Parker Dam area and much of the southeast Whipple Range which has some of my favorite scrambles anywhere in the desert.  We descended in the dark.


12-2
West Riverside Mountain – 2667'

We chose the Craig Barlow variation of the standard northwest route.  The approach road is good, but you better study the satellite maps before hand to get the right idea.  Up a canyon with lots of wild lavender and then traverse to the north ridge.


Ibex Peak – 2822'

This is a great looking peak.  Rough road to get in there though.  We hiked past some old mining operations and then up a steep drainage to the northwest ridge.  Traversed under some north facing cliffs to a hidden ramp and gully system which makes for easy access to the upper west slope.

Ibex
Ibex

We eyed Haystack across the way.  It was an optional add-on for the day and looked pretty tough, but several people I know really loved the peak, so we decided to give it a try despite being short on time.

Haystack
Haystack

Haystack Peak (Attempt) – 2600'

It is certainly an intricate and exposed route in a very scenic setting.  We both enjoyed exploring despite not making the summit.  There was a series of ledges and ramps and exposed scrambling on narrow ridges.  We saw one sheep close-up.

sheep
sheep

We were very close to the summit when I made the decision to turn around (less than 200 vertical feet).  With less than an hour of daylight remaining, the route was getting more exposed, and I was moving slower and slower, focused with caution.  This is not a route you would want to descend in the dark.  We barely made it off the steep loose stuff before needing headlamps.  No regrets.


12-3
Oldman Mountain – 2091'

All sides of this peak accessible by the rough Diablo Pass road are very steep.  We started in a southwest drainage and ended on the south ridge which was thick with cholla.

oops
oops

Quartz Peak – 2160'

We did the Richard Carey version of the standard route with minor deviations.  In general this western approach and upper canyon are pleasant.  Burro trails ease the way and we did see a group of 3 burros on the way out.

Picacho
Picacho
Stud, Cargo Muchacho
Stud, Cargo Muchacho

12-4
Major rain forecasted.   We stayed with some of my friends in Yuma.

12-5
Cargo Muchacho High Point – 2217'

A beautiful desert range with alternating white and black rock.  Richard Hensley route variation, which was great!


Up and over a pass down and around some spur ridges and then up a steep north facing gully, finally ending on the west ridge.  There were clouds rolling around below us to the east, very unusual for the desert environs.


Stud Mountain – 1210'

A great looking peak and a very fun hike.  We drove around to the other side of the range to access the north ridge.  Stick to the ridge for the most part.  Fun!

Picacho
Picacho

12-6
Sheep Mountain – 3156'

Sheep is fairly big peak in an area where most peaks are less than 2000 feet from base to top.  It’s inside the Luke military base.  Many reports outline specific details on obtaining permission to enter this base via phone and picking up the permits at an office in Yuma.  All the various phone numbers have been disconnected.  Don’t even bother.

After an hour or so of research, the new procedure is as follows.  In fact, it’s much easier than it used to be.  You need to register an account on this website (https://luke.isportsman.net), watch the safety video, then request a free permit for the area you are going to.  All members must have individual permits.  Print up a copy of the permit (phone screen capture in my case), and finally “check in” on the website for the area and dates which you are going.  That’s it.

We were in and out of this huge base for several days.  There are no locked gates and none of the groups of soldiers we saw stopped us or asked to see the permit.  But is is a good idea to have a printed copy displayed on your dashboard when parked.


The Eric Kassan variation of the standard route up Sheep ascends a large canyon and then follows a broad ramp to end on the upper northeast ridge.  We noticed that a lot of folks drop into the bouldery wash at the very start, but traversing higher along the right side will save you some time.  There is one large dryfall in the canyon which needs to be bypassed on a loose ledge, climbers right.  This is a great peak and feels like an important grab for the Yuma area.


Peak 1257

Bonus peaklet near the parking area for Sheep.  Good quality despite a small stature.  West ridge.  We saw a sheep.


12-7
Klothos Temple – 1665'

Being the weekend, Matthias was able to join us for a couple of scrambles.  Klothos Temple, the highest peak of Long Mountain, is a very unique looking summit with interesting ridges and folded layers of rock.


We had no route information of any kind, and didn’t know what to expect, but once we climbed up out of the southern canyon, we found a great use trail which was well-cairned all the way to the summit.  One of our favorites of this trip, highly recommended.

Muggins
Muggins

Muggins Peak – 1424'

Steep, cliffy and a bit foreboding in appearance, Muggins rises steeply and more impressively than any other peaks in this area.  Frances and Matthias were ready to tackle it head-on, but I preferred the less direct class 2 approach and they appeased me.

Muggins
Muggins
Muggins
Muggins

We ascended a broad southeast gully to a large saddle and then traversed northwest to a break in the cliff band where we could access the upper south gullies.  There are two large gullies divided by a narrow ridge.  We went up the right hand gully to a cave under the head-wall.  We climbed class 3 slabs with good holds on the right side of the cave and then reached the saddle above it.

northwest peak
northwest peak
southeast peak
southeast peak

Muggins has two peaks and the northwest is higher so we started with that one.  But it began to rain lightly and instead of fun, it seemed a bit more like... let’s get this thing done and get the hell out of here quickly.  Going directly up the ridge didn’t look good, so we traversed a ramp left and then another back to the right side of the face, now higher on the ridge.

summit
summit

There was a very steep narrow scramble, super exposed, including bad rock and loose wiggly holds, ending on crappy rubble.  The rain was increasing.  I was not happy.  No rain in the forecast.  Yuma is supposed to be the driest part of the country.  We were almost there.  The last bit involved an exposed knife-edge on untrustworthy blocks.  If it weren’t loose, this would be a great peak.


I didn’t spend any time on the summit, and started down immediately.  The rocks weren’t fully wet, but would be soon.  We got below the most exposed sections, just in time.  The hike out was uneventful other than getting a bit soaked.


12-8
Mohawk Benchmark “little mohawk”– 1975'

We waited until late afternoon for the majority of the moisture from the all-night rain to dry out.  And like a bunch of stuff on this trip, this peak was added just because we were in the area.  With no information online, it seemed somewhat challenging in appearance and on the map.  Looking at the contours, there was one way which looked better than the other options, so we tried that.

little Mohawk looking sexy
little Mohawk looking sexy
little mohawk from where we started
little mohawk from where we started
towers
towers

We crossed some open desert with brushy sections on the northeast part of the range to reach a north facing gully.  There are some neat looking towers in this part of the range.  The gully looked awful from the bottom but turned out to be surprisingly solid with good scrambling.  Above the gully we made a slowly ascending traverse below the craggy ridgecrest.


The summit block came into view and appeared formidable.  I wondered if it was even managable without rope.  At the last moment, the ridgecrest was finally easily reached and then we traversed on the far side to the last little saddle.

summit block
summit block
summit block
summit block
photo by Frances
photo by Frances

The summit block rises steeply with significantly exposed slabs on either side, however the crest is wide enough and has texture to make for easy scrambling.  A cap layer before the summit, blocks the final crest, and you must choose to traverse left or right to get around it, with increasing exposure.  We traversed left for an exciting finish to this awesome peak.


Definitely our favorite peak of the trip, and highly recommended!

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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Gimpilator
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PostThu Dec 26, 2019 4:44 pm 
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12-9
Copper Mountains High Point – 2888'

Another impromptu objective which we added to our itinerary after seeing it from Sheep.  Some aircraft wreckage and other metallic ballistics and scrap scattered around the eastern ascent canyon.  We tried a slightly different finish by following the east ridge crest at the end.  Brief slabby class 3 moves.


Peak 2610

I went to get one more peak while Frances waited for me.  From the same starting point, I went up a north facing canyon, turning right at a junction.  This canyon was less pleasant than the first, with more boulders and more brush.  But above the Y junction, it opened up.  Before a saddle, I turned left onto the west ridge.  Good views of Cabeza Benchmark to the south.

Cabeza Benchmark
Cabeza Benchmark
the peak we did in the morning
the peak we did in the morning

12-10
Cabeza Benchmark – 2830'

This is a long hike from any direction.  A good road comes in from the north, which would make for a short hike, but at the boundary of the Cabeza Prieta reserve, which is south of the Luke military base, a sign prohibits driving.  Fortunately the road-walk miles passed very quickly.

Cabeza Benchmark
Cabeza Benchmark

We entered the largest northwest canyon where there is a lot of sign of illegal foot traffic coming from Mexico, and perhaps also those in persuit.  Three miles into the canyon we turned right into a side canyon which goes very near to the summit.  Saw a couple more sheep.  The final bit a scrambling without exposure, is on some interesting rock formations.

Cabeza Preita
Cabeza Preita
Tordillo
Tordillo
Pinta
Pinta

Nearby, but further south, we could see a few more peaks which we would try to do the following day, Tordillo and Cabeza Prieta Peak.  However after driving over Christmas Pass that evening and a few miles further, when the road condition did not improve, we decided to bail on the whole area.  It was barely passable with a Subaru, and just not worth the extra hassle and time.

12-11
Pinta Benchmark – 2950'

Another long road walk, 16 miles round-trip.  Commonly driven by border patrol.  One friendly agent we encountered seemed as though he wouldn’t have cared in the slightest if we had driven our car, but we didn’t outright ask for permission.  The signage at the start of the road is clear enough about the official policy.

tall cholla
tall cholla
ocotillo
ocotillo
ant volcanoes
ant volcanoes

When we eventually got into the range we enjoyed the steep canyon.  We avoided a small dryfall by following a ramp left and then going up some easy class 3.  This peak feels remote, even though there are several roads leading to the range.

Pinta
Pinta
Cerro Pinacate in Mexico (one of 6 DPS I have left)
Cerro Pinacate in Mexico (one of 6 DPS I have left)

Frances spotted a tiny snake during the descent.


12-12
Mohawk Peak “big mohawk”- 2775'

Western canyon followed by traverse above southwest canyon and finish on the north ridge.  Somewhere I heard that this is a nice peak, but we did not enjoy it.  The combination of loose rock and thick cactus makes this an unpleasant one.  It gets even less friendly as you go higher.


The final exposed bypass ledge is the only redeeming quality.  The access road is also a royal pain in the a$$ and takes considerable time, whether you are coming from the north or south.  This peak is not worth it unless you are working the AZ P2ks list.


12-13
Diaz Peak – 4024'

Highly recommended by Matthias.  I liked Ajo a lot, so returning to the Organ Pipe area had always been on my mind.  We followed the same wash Matthias did, but we parked in a different spot so as to make full use of the access road which breaks through the cactus.  Again, there was a lot of sign of illegal border crossing.

a sub peak of Ajo
a sub peak of Ajo

We ascended a north rib to reach the saddle between Diaz Peak and Diaz Spire.  North ridge is class 3 volcanic rock and plenty of cactus.  We went over an unnecessary bump on the ridge right before the summit and were rewarded with a short overhanging cliff down-climb.  On the return found the easy traverse which bypasses the cliff.

photo by Frances
photo by Frances
summit
summit
Diaz Spire
Diaz Spire

12-14
Kino Peak – 3197'

This is an amazing route with many exposed volcanic ledges.  I can understand why it is included on the DPS list.  You better have a GPS track log or a perfect route description to figure it out.  We followed a quad track to an access road and this went all the way to the base of the peak.

Kino from the starting point
Kino from the starting point

We went steeply up to a saddle and then took some ledges traversing around a subsidiary bump on the ridge coming to another saddle below the impressive layered cliffs of Kino.  It’s one of those routes that doesn’t look like it’s going to go, every step of the way, until it actually does go.  Preemptively, you need to practice with a game called twister, so that you can maneuver around and squeeze between all the various cactus.

Peak 2919
Peak 2919

From the last saddle we made an ascending traverse along ledges on the northeast face, with some exposed class 3 steps.  The cholla got the best of me there.  End on the north ridge.  The central of 3 high points is the summit.

Kino
Kino
Ajo
Ajo

Peak 2919

Frances waited for me and read a book on her phone while I went for a bonus peak.  North ridge.  Bypass the prow blocking the summit by traversing left on a sheep trail.

2919
2919
Scarface
Scarface

12-15
South Mountain – 4160'

The access road was wrecked right from the start, a half mile in.  I spent an hour with the shovel and filled in a 3 foot deep, 2 foot wide, 10 foot long V-trench in the middle of the road.  I was feeling cute until we encountered deep impassable mud pits, only 1/3 of the way to the trailhead.


I backtracked and explored several side roads.  I found one which took us halfway from the highway to the trailhead and then we were stopped again by a 5 foot deep wash with steep sides.  Only a jeep could manage to cross that.  This was certainly close enough for our purposes, but any hopes of afternoon bonus peaks was demolished.

South
South

We walked the 4 miles of road in about an hour.  South Mountain has a good trail, but it’s quite overgrown with brush and long thorny branches.  The trail worked up around some large cliffs and led us to a saddle.  The trail continues toward the summit but is hard to follow.  I was excited to read in the register how Andy Martin finished the AZ P2k’s on this peak.  Nice job Andy!

Baboquivari
Baboquivari

On the road back to the car, we encountered two family groups of wild horses and had relatively close encounters for such large animals.  I have only seen wild horses a few times before.  We were on cloud 9 until we were stopped near the highway by a rookie border patrol officer.  At first he used aggressive threatening communication and wanted to know what we were doing in this area.  He seemed fearful to me and asked us to keep our hands on the dashboard.  I remained nonchalant, to chill him out.

horses
horses
horses
horses

Later, after checking our legal records, he calmed down and a few of his coworkers showed up.  When the first officer walked away, they assured us that there would be no further issue and don’t be concerned about the hassle we were presented with by the first officer.  They did however confirm that it has become a major traffic/crime area.  There are “frequent murders”, most specifically by roving groups who steal from the “drug mules” as soon as they are north of the border.  Furthermore, they claim to be aware of several active cartel members who work as counter-surveillance, every day watching the movement of the border patrol.  They said it’s very dangerous now and asked us to discourage any future hikers from visiting this area.

12-16
Gu Achi Peak – 4556'

We pulled into the town of Saint Agatha Mission in the dark.  It was confusing, so I had to backtrack 15 minutes to get service.  After viewing the satellite map, it made sense and we used to Dean’s driving track to make it the rest of the way.

Organpipe
Organpipe
Gu Achi
Gu Achi
ore
ore

The east rib is straightforward and quick.  There is a new summit register and a new communications equipment which is supposedly for SAR.

Coyote, Kitt, Baboquivari
Coyote, Kitt, Baboquivari

12-17
Como Benchmark – 4547'

In an attempt to stall a day, and wait out bad wind and severe cold, we added this peak to the plan.  I was hoping to do nearby Coyote Peak, but the weather did not improve in time for that.  Como has an old access road, and an overgrown trail to an active mining claim.

Como
Como

The wind was unpleasant and got worse as the day progressed.  Above the mining area, we went up to a saddle on a level ridge.  Following the ridge directly to the summit didn’t look good, but nice trail goes around the left side, into a gully.  The summit is not far above the gully.

gully
gully

12-19

We had some obligations in Phoenix, but I had this day free and Frances had the morning free, so she joined me for the first 3 peaklets.  My goal was to get 10 urban bumps, all with trails to or near the summit.  All day, I didn’t carry a pack or even a camera since mileage for each was only 2 to 4 miles.  The last two peaks were good quality and would have been camera worthy.  Sorry about that.  I’ll spare mundane details on the first 8, which are similar to the other Phoenix in-town hikes like Camelback or Piestewa, but much less interesting.

Sunrise Mountain - 1850'
West Wing Mountain - 1920'
East Wing Mountain - 1934'
Ludden Mountain - 2197'
Thunderbird Peak - 1862'
West Thunderbird Peak - 1682'
North Thunderbird Peak - 1831'
Deem Hills – 2100'


Gavilan Peak – 2990'

At the very north edge of the Phoenix valley, Gavilan is a striking peak, steep on all sides.  There’s a good trail up the west ridge with some class 3 sections.  To find the trail, check out the satellite map and look for the dirt road which goes closest.

Daisy Mountain – 3176'

I drove to the trailhead with my Subaru, which was a tad foolish.  Very rough road.  Good trail to both summits and great views overlooking the valley, right after sunset.  I descended by headlamp.

12-21
Sierra Estrella (Hayes Peak) – 4512'

Day 2 of Christmas Movie Marathon for Frances.  No thanks!  I’d rather hike.  Greg was available to join me and since the road was rumored to be rough, we took his truck.  My car could have done it, but would have been much slower.

Both John Stolk and Grant Meyers told me this peak is a lot of work.  Also, some trip reports mention taking 10 or 11 hours to get it done, so we were mentally prepared for a long day.  After reading everything I could find, it seemed like everyone goes different routes.  It was tempting to do the Dennis Poulin descent route, which looks good on the map, but it’s considerably longer and indirect.

Ultimately I chose the Patrick Leale gully.  We were shocked by how good it is.  Much easier than what we anticipated for this peak.  We went at a leisurely pace and took several long breaks and still reached the summit in only 3 hours.  Our descent, which also had long breaks, was even shorter.  I think that we got lucky in the route choice and suspect that this is the best way to go.


12-22
Margies Peak – 2493'

There are easy routes on the north and south side of this peak.  We opted for the north side.  Up a wash and onto the north ridge.  Minor scrambling.  Nice views.

Woolsey
Woolsey
Nose
Nose

Peak 1588

Accessible from the same road for Margies.  Quick and easy, south ridge.

Margies
Margies

Nose Benchmark – 2349'

A fine looking peak on the edge of the Gila River, which is currently dry, or underground.  Matthias posted a nice route for this one.  It was helpful, since access is a little tricky.  An east facing canyon, followed by a steep gully and then the north ridge which has some scrambling.  If you go this season, watch out for the bees nest in the middle of the gully at 1600 feet.

steep gully
steep gully
Greg
Greg

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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awilsondc
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PostThu Dec 26, 2019 5:35 pm 
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You're amazing Adam!   up.gif   I loved the panorama from Cargo Muchacho High Point, and the ant volcanoes from Pinta Benchmark.  Keep it up!
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Gimpilator
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PostFri Dec 27, 2019 5:39 pm 
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Thanks Aaron!

--------------
https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
http://www.summitpost.org/user_page.php?user_id=25744
http://www.peakbagger.com/climber/ClimbListC.aspx?cid=2650&sort=elevft&u=ft&j=-1&y=9999

Keep climbing mountains and don't slip!
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trent
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PostTue Dec 31, 2019 5:04 pm 
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Wow! Way to get after it! I'm jealous!

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It's all downhill from here!
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Michael Lewis
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Taking a nap
PostThu Jan 02, 2020 7:48 am 
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I like the low sun on these scenes

Was that a live tarantula or a molt?
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Fletcher
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PostThu Jan 02, 2020 11:16 am 
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Also jealous, a lot of cool looking peaks!
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HermitThrush
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PostFri Jan 03, 2020 3:10 pm 
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Do you work remotely? That’s amazing you can spend that much time outdoors.
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John Morrow
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PostSat Jan 04, 2020 5:28 am 
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I always feel like I am walking through history when I find one of these...
Keep finding 'em for us, Adam.

--------------
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”-Mary Oliver

“A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual doom.”
― MLK Jr.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > 40 Peaks, December 2019
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