Forum Index > Trip Reports > 10 peaks, 1 First Ascent - November 10-15, 2020
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Gimpilator
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PostMon Nov 16, 2020 10:23 am 
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11-10
Squaw Peak - 3240'

This particular Squaw Peak is eye catching and resembles a mammary.  The summit block appears vertical and imposing from many angles.  The approach road off of Temple Bar road has some deep washes which require high clearance.  We ascended the southwest ridge.  The summit block is overhanging in places, yet on the north side we found an easy ramp with only a single move of class 3.


Young Mountain - 3410'

Our exploration of Squaw was quickly over, so we went on to explore the two peaks to the north.  This area reminds me of parts of eastern WA and OR, volcanic and somewhat mundane.  Lot’s of unstable basalt rocks.  We ascended a southeast ridge and descended a northeast ridge.


Peak 2982

Southeast ridge.  I bet nobody else has done this obscure peak aside from Tracy Foutz.

Wave to Stav, traversing the Muddies on this day,  :rocker:
Wave to Stav, traversing the Muddies on this day,  rocker.gif

11-11
Peak 3360

We couldn’t leave the house until mid-day so we went for nearby small-fry.  Parked near the gate for Willow Beach.  I was thinking of naming the register for this peak “Squaretop”, but someone was already on the same page, because the register was labeled Flat Top.  We went up a southwest canyon.  The cap of this peak is a solid reddish volcanic layer typical of many peaks in AZ.


Housholder Peak – 2794'

We dropped off the east side of the range to traverse around an impasse and back onto the spine of the ridge.  This is the furthest south peak in the Wilson Range.


As mentioned in my previous report, the impending military closure of the northern Sheep Range has spurred me to focus on this area before it’s too late.  The northernmost arm of this range was nicknamed by some as the “Ram Range” since the highest peak has a USGS benchmark stamped “Ram”.


The Ram peaks are best accessed from Sheep Basin, on the west side.  To reach the west side you can take the Alamo Road from the north or the Corn Creek road from the southwest, which is purported to be slightly better.  My desired starting point on the Cabin Spring road would require between 90 and 100 miles of rough rocky driving round-trip much of which was 5mph.  I decided to break up the drive by doing a peak on the way in and a few on the way out, making it a four day venture.

"Ram" Peak 8340 and Peak 8282 as seen from the southeast on Elbow Range Peak 4650
"Ram" Peak 8340 and Peak 8282 as seen from the southeast on Elbow Range Peak 4650

When I described the drive and the peaks to Frances she decided she would prefer to stay home for holiday baking and RomComs.  I couldn’t blame her.  Chances of success on the Ram peaks were very low.  The outsides of these peaks somewhat resemble the inside of the Grand Canyon.  Numerous layers of unbroken limestone cliffs are only separated by tiers of steep down-sloping rubble.  I took an interest in this area soon after moving to the desert, mainly because of the mystique.

"Ram" Peak 8340 and Peak 8282 as seen from the east on Meadow Valley Mountains Peak 4757
"Ram" Peak 8340 and Peak 8282 as seen from the east on Meadow Valley Mountains Peak 4757
Peak 7740 (center) as seen from the east on Meadow Valley Mountains Peak 4757
Peak 7740 (center) as seen from the east on Meadow Valley Mountains Peak 4757

There are 4 main P1k peaks along this impressive rugged ridge.  The northern two have one known ascent each, while southern one has 2 known ascents, 3 if you count the USGS.  Which brings us to Peak 8282’.

Prior to the trip I could find nothing for this peak.  I knew from viewing it on all sides that it didn’t look very easy, however the map showed the possibility of a gully on the southwest side.  I’ve been itching to explore that gully for several years now, but the road deterred me, that is until I learned that the area will soon be permanently closed to the public


11-12
Rug Mountain – 6088'

On the drive from Corn Creek to Sheep Basin, I stopped to explore Twin Caves Canyon and Rug Mountain. Evidently this peak was named for the zigzag weave appearance on the upper east slopes.  I had hoped to ascend the peak via the canyon, but a thirty foot vertical dryfall dashed that idea.  Instead I traversed onto some ridges instead.

Twin Caves Canyon
Twin Caves Canyon

Big John, Hayford, and Deadhorse Ridge as viewed from Rug

No evidence of previous ascents, but hard to believe with the proximity to the road and several named canyons that nobody else has been up there before.

Peak 8282 (right)
Peak 8282 (right)
Peak 7740
Peak 7740

11-13
Peak 8282

I made slow progress crossing several miles of Sheep Basin.  The ground-cover was unusually thick for a desert basin.  The canyon I entered was also dense with growth and fresh snow covered the boulders and gravel.  As I worked closer to the entrance to my intended gully. I kept glancing up trying to see something positive, but all I could see were towering cliffs.  I just decided to see how far I could get and be happy with whatever the result.  At least I wouldn’t be left forever wondering about this peak.  If it was not easily climbable, then I would know that from personal experience.

Peak 8282
Peak 8282

As it turned out, the gully was totally hidden until I was below it.  I could see a potential problem area part way up at 7400 feet, but it would require a closer look.  What seemed like a dryfall was easily avoided by a grassy ridge on the right.  Above the level of the dryfall, I worked back left through some minor gullies and stone pinnacles back into the main gully.  Plenty of dense brush, and loose rocks, but only a few class 3 moves on this route.

shaded dryfalls (center) with grassy bypass (right)
shaded dryfalls (center) with grassy bypass (right)
came up this steep gully
came up this steep gully

As I passed up through the white band of limestone, which is highly visible from afar as being the most vertical layer in these mountains, I realized that I was going to make it.  The upper mountain relented into open forest and gentle slopes.  The summit was free of trees, with an open view.  I built a cairn and left a register.

summit ahead
summit ahead
FA  :agree:
FA  agree.gif

After calling Frances, I texted Tracy to see if he or Harlan knew any more details about this peak.  They are sort of the peakbagging authorities for the Las Vegas area.  If anyone had done this peak before, probably Harlan or Tracy would know about it.  When I heard back from Tracy, I was surprised to learn that not only was it unclimbed, but the two of them had actually been planning to try it very soon.


11-14
Peak 7740

I decided to try my luck again with another of the “Ram” peaks.  From where I was camped, the next big one to the north was on the agenda.  I had planned to try the long west canyon which terminates near the summit, but at the last minute I changed to a more direct southwest route.  That straight western canyon is probably blocked by dryfalls anyhow.

roasting pit
roasting pit

After crossing the flats, I found a few agave roasting pits near the mouth of the southwest canyon.  First ascending 600 feet in the canyon, then I turned north into a gully and went up to a saddle.  Again, passing through the white band of limestone, I figured this route was probably going to work.

gully above
gully above
upper traverse
upper traverse

From the saddle I went east, up another minor gully, adjacent tot a craggy spur ridge and then made an ascending traverse north onto the main crest of the range.  There were several bumps between me and the summit.

class 5 notch
class 5 notch

Where the ridge narrowed I was blocked by a deep notch and exposure on all sides.  I backtracked and scrambled down the west side to traverse under the notch.  The final bump before the summit had a vertical prow, but it was avoidable by ascending a chute, climbers right.  Again, I built a cairn and left a register.

back at the top of the gully
back at the top of the gully

It would be great to get all 4 of the big Ram peaks.  The northernmost has no obvious route.  “Complex” best describes the topo map.  If I can find the time before the area closes, I will return for the southernmost.

11-15
South Banded Ridge – 5449'

On the drive home I stopped to pick up a couple small peaks.  I followed Richard Hensley’s route more or less.  These peaks are named for the colorful layers on the west side.


North Banded Ridge – 5356'

The canyon between the two peaks is worth exploring.  Below the west face of the south peak I found some airplane wreckage.


--------------
https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
https://www.summitpost.org/users/gimpilator/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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Brushbuffalo
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PostTue Nov 17, 2020 10:54 am 
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You are becoming the king of desert peakbaggers....or at least a prominence prince.
Gimpilator wrote:

New tent?  Very colorful!

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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John Morrow
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PostTue Nov 17, 2020 12:27 pm 
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I wonder where you are?  I am headed to Cow Camp tonight to camp at Black Hills Gap and look at Picture Canyon.  3 dayhikes in the Pahranagat country scampering up unknown bumps with a bit of prominence above rock art panels.  I wouldn't be able to keep up with you right now but was oogling the east faces of the Sheeps on my drive this morning down US93.  I'll come back out in a couple of days.  Walked in 6 inches of snow on north aspects above 5000' but looks like less snow this far south...maybe?
It'd be a crime to close the area.

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“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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Nancyann
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PostTue Nov 17, 2020 10:04 pm 
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Looks like a great adventure Adam! What is an agave pit?
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Sculpin
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PostThu Nov 19, 2020 8:38 am 
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I really enjoyed the description of the climb of 8282.  The Ram Range!  There must be hidden caves in that limestone.

Nancyann wrote:
What is an agave pit?

Adam sometimes does not come back to these, so I thought I would let you know that Mike Collins and I wondered about that on a previous thread and Adam answered in the comments.

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8032995

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Between every two pines is a doorway to the new world. - John Muir
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John Morrow
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PostThu Nov 19, 2020 9:31 am 
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Sculpin wrote:
I really enjoyed the description of the climb of 8282.  The Ram Range!  There must be hidden caves in that limestone.

Nancyann wrote:
What is an agave pit?

Adam sometimes does not come back to these, so I thought I would let you know that Mike Collins and I wondered about that on a previous thread and Adam answered in the comments.

http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=8032995

Agave is a type of yucca plant that was used as food for thousands of years by Native Americans living in the southwestern deserts. The agave was harvested and the sweet-tasting hearts were roasted in large pits during communal gatherings.  The area is home to bands of Southern Piute so likely their ancestors.

--------------
“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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Gimpilator
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PostFri Nov 20, 2020 7:41 am 
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Hey, sorry for the delayed response.

Brushbuffalo wrote:
Gimpilator wrote:

New tent?  Very colorful!

Yeah, the "Ranger Doug" color scheme concept was interesting, but probably a commercial failure.  While the tent looks ok in the field, it looks plain weird in the sales images.  For that reason I got a screaming deal for a heavy/durable kelty car camping tent.  The last hardy kelty I bought held up to 20+ years of frequent use.  We were incurring too much wear and tear on the lightweight Bigsky International Chinook, which is better suited for backpacking.

John Morrow wrote:
I am headed to Cow Camp tonight to camp at Black Hills Gap and look at Picture Canyon.  3 dayhikes in the Pahranagat country scampering up unknown bumps with a bit of prominence above rock art panels.

I look forward to your upcoming trip reports.  You always show me places I was unaware of.

Thank you Sculpin and John for helping to answer the question about roasting pits.

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https://www.youtube.com/c/Zogador
https://www.summitpost.org/users/gimpilator/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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Brushbuffalo
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PostFri Nov 20, 2020 5:59 pm 
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Gimpilator wrote:
New tent?  Very colorful!

Yeah, the "Ranger Doug" color scheme[/quote]

I never knew a color scheme was 'named for me', being basically color insensitive if not technically colorblind.
(I'm joking  about the naming...I would not want to be credited even if I was a ranger!) lol.gif

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Passing rocks and trees like they were standing still
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