Forum Index > Trip Reports > On to towers of the Sonoran Desert with friends; Nov 21-30, 2020
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John Morrow
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John Morrow
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 8:15 am 
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Turtle Mountains Wilderness
Kofa National Wildlife Refuge
Muggins Mountain Wilderness
Palomas Mountains
The Needles BLM

Nov 21-23, 2020  Turtle Mountains Wilderness

Jerry and Drew drove from Seattle together and Linda met Kimberly in OR and they drove down together.  We rendezvoused at the Mopah Spring TH.  I had time for an evening walk up on Peak 2120, just inside the wilderness.

Evening walk from camp up Peak 2139
Evening walk from camp up Peak 2139
Evening walk
Evening walk
Arrived at Mopah TH.  Met everyone and set up camp.  Then an evening jaunt up this peak.
Arrived at Mopah TH.  Met everyone and set up camp.  Then an evening jaunt up this peak.
Tomorrow's day in silhouette
Tomorrow's day in silhouette
Eve color
Eve color

The next day it was onto the Desert Peaks Section classics: Mopah Point 3530' and Umpah Point 3553'.

Climbs of Mopah and Umpah with return hike loop and a trip up to Gary Divide/Mopah Spring
Climbs of Mopah and Umpah with return hike loop and a trip up to Gary Divide/Mopah Spring
Objectives ahead in sunrise light
Objectives ahead in sunrise light
Terrain
Terrain
Mopah appears
Mopah appears
hmm?
hmm?
Jerry scouts a line
Jerry scouts a line
Kimberly on the route
Kimberly on the route
everyone
everyone
stretch across (off route!)
stretch across (off route!)
well known crux
well known crux
The gang on Mopah Point
The gang on Mopah Point
tiny oasis below (palms in center)
tiny oasis below (palms in center)
crux downclimb
crux downclimb
route we missed
route we missed
Kimberly on route descent
Kimberly on route descent
final descent
final descent
about down
about down
Turtle Mountains Wilderness
Turtle Mountains Wilderness
Mopah
Mopah
2/3 way up Umpah Point
2/3 way up Umpah Point
traverse to summit finish
traverse to summit finish
Drew on Umpah
Drew on Umpah
Jerry with Mopah behind
Jerry with Mopah behind
Umpah downclimb
Umpah downclimb
Jerry views sunset
Jerry views sunset
gonna be a late exit
gonna be a late exit
last light
last light

The next day we hiked up to Mopah Spring and Relocated to Kofa National Wildlife Refuge.

Turtles morning
Turtles morning
Oasis ahead
Oasis ahead
Mopah Spring
Mopah Spring
spring and staghorn
spring and staghorn
petroglyphs
petroglyphs
petroglyphs
petroglyphs
petroglyphs
petroglyphs
spring and mount
spring and mount
petroglyphs
petroglyphs
banded tail
banded tail

Nov 25-26, 2020 Kofa National Wildlife Refuge, off of the King Road (camp).

On the 25th we devised a big crosscountry loop of fine Sonoran desert terrain, stitching together no-name peaks, saguaro and ocotillo cacti, a tight water tank holding canyon, and long flats of "desert pavement" in and around the Hidden Valley Hills.

Crosscountry hike connecting four peaks with a worthy variety of scrambling.
Crosscountry hike connecting four peaks with a worthy variety of scrambling.
Back in Kofa!
Back in Kofa!
starting a long loop
starting a long loop
on Peak 2100' looking back
on Peak 2100' looking back
Under Peak 2095'
Under Peak 2095'
essential Kofa
essential Kofa
Peak 2095' scramble face
Peak 2095' scramble face
Jerry on scramble
Jerry on scramble
big views north
big views north
starting up Peak 2327'
starting up Peak 2327'
good scramble
good scramble
a bit of knife edge
a bit of knife edge
cholla are feeling drought
cholla are feeling drought
Castle Dome south distance
Castle Dome south distance
traverse to High Peaks next
traverse to High Peaks next
Descending Peak 2120'
Descending Peak 2120'
great west ridge descent on 2120'
great west ridge descent on 2120'
Hidden Tanks mouth
Hidden Tanks mouth
closing our loop hike
closing our loop hike
Moonrise!
Moonrise!

Nov 26th we headed to the old mining area near Kofa Butte for a scramble of Polaris Mountain 3624' and what we found was an incredible loop.

KOFA Polaris Loop
KOFA Polaris Loop

It began up a beautiful switchbacking miners foot trail to below the High Henry Mine.  It led to a wide gully that, unfortunately was loose and with a prolific amount of cholla cactus the bit us over and over.

Polaris Mtn for today
Polaris Mtn for today
old trail and droughty ocotillo
old trail and droughty ocotillo
neat spire
neat spire
Polaris far above
Polaris far above
the "cholla poke" route (gully)
the "cholla poke" route (gully)

Once near the summit we went over it and down great scrambling of the North Ridge to complete the loop via a western canyon that could be considered a right fork of Big Dick Canyon.  Once it got wide and slow going we located a parallel mining trail up on the east bench for a quick route to the cars.

Near the summit
Near the summit
epic crags west in Kofa Range
epic crags west in Kofa Range
deep canyon
deep canyon
North Ridge Polaris descent
North Ridge Polaris descent
classic look at Kofa terrain
classic look at Kofa terrain
moving on the north ridge
moving on the north ridge
will eventually get there
will eventually get there
detour to pinnacle 3288'
detour to pinnacle 3288'
headed to the saddle
headed to the saddle
along the crooked shadow/light line
along the crooked shadow/light line
the pinnnacle
the pinnnacle
about to descend
about to descend
found a bit of tight canyon
found a bit of tight canyon
fun canyon descent
fun canyon descent
almost through
almost through
big open unnamed canyon
big open unnamed canyon
Polaris west slope
Polaris west slope
moon over Kofa Butte
moon over Kofa Butte

Nov 27th:  Muggins Mountain Wilderness.

This small wilderness has a surprisingly large number of aesthetic scrambles.  We chose the namesake Muggins Peak 1424' and its supposedly classic knife edge SW Ridge which splits two obvious gullies.  Exciting it was, but we found it too loose to fully enjoy.  We said farewell to Kimberly and Linda at camp...yes we were camped higher than the Muggins Peak summit, but 1424' is not a typo!

Jerry and Muggins
Jerry and Muggins
Muggins with Central Rib
Muggins with Central Rib
Onto the central rib
Onto the central rib
would be classic if solid
would be classic if solid
Jerry leads on
Jerry leads on
Drew next
Drew next
Jerry and Drew on rib
Jerry and Drew on rib
steep step
steep step
through
through
Drew heads to summit block
Drew heads to summit block
summit block crux Class 4
summit block crux Class 4
exposure
exposure
Jerry on top
Jerry on top
descent time
descent time
friction downclimb
friction downclimb
more downclimbing
more downclimbing
parting shot
parting shot
Jerry moving up
Jerry moving up

Nov 28-29; Palomas Mountains classic peaks.

Ibex Peak 2822' and Haystack Peak 2783' are well known by desert mountaineers and justly so.  We varied the standard routes by adding a day and adding what I call North Haystack 2320'.  It is a fun scramble in itself but doesn't compare to the incredible amount of Class 2 and 3 solid rock on the other two.  We found variations that only added more scrambling, and rejoined the good parts of the standard routes.

Variations from norm: lower north ridge approach to Ibex West face to North Ridge of west peak of Haystack (great scrambling).  North side descent in a nice waterpolished draw to N Haystack base
Variations from norm: lower north ridge approach to Ibex West face to North Ridge of west peak of Haystack (great scrambling).  North side descent in a nice waterpolished draw to N Haystack base
Haystack and Ibex
Haystack and Ibex
easy, pleasant approach
easy, pleasant approach
Onto the Ibex route
Onto the Ibex route
low down easy north rib
low down easy north rib
getting steeper
getting steeper
this is all still on approach
this is all still on approach
upward
upward
now we traverse left to wall base
now we traverse left to wall base
scramble the base of the great wall
scramble the base of the great wall
Higher up easy scrambling
Higher up easy scrambling
Haystack from Ibex
Haystack from Ibex
Eagletail Mtns far distance
Eagletail Mtns far distance
arch and north slope descent
arch and north slope descent
Haystack, NW slope/Face
Haystack, NW slope/Face
Ibex last look
Ibex last look
anthropomorph with spear of white quartz stones
anthropomorph with spear of white quartz stones
Ibex Peak
Ibex Peak
the Fisherman
the Fisherman
Evening approaches
Evening approaches
this is a variation that adds much scrambling and avoids a long traverse on the SW side
this is a variation that adds much scrambling and avoids a long traverse on the SW side
Drew on NW Face
Drew on NW Face
N Ridge of western peak
N Ridge of western peak
great north ridge scrambling
great north ridge scrambling
almost to rejoin usual route
almost to rejoin usual route
on the high west ridge
on the high west ridge
to go
to go
N. Haystack for later (right peak)
N. Haystack for later (right peak)
one of the best Cl 3 scrambles
one of the best Cl 3 scrambles
summit block area
summit block area
last few steps
last few steps
N Haystack, aiming for "bowl"
N Haystack, aiming for "bowl"
Jerry in the bowl below top
Jerry in the bowl below top
garden in the bowl
garden in the bowl
Cl 4 variation Jerry liked
Cl 4 variation Jerry liked
descending
descending
staying on rock and off gravel
staying on rock and off gravel
The Haystacks
The Haystacks
parting shot
parting shot
Moonrise
Moonrise
sunset
sunset
moonset
moonset

I am photo happy I know, but they tell the story and keep the typing at a minimum!

Time to begin a northward path for Jerry and Drew so we exited the Sonoran Desert with a couple drive-by quick scrambles.  One of which was impeccable.

Nov 30; Courtney Purcell's (guidebook) Little Haystack 1360' and Shangri La Butte 1520'.
Purcell really has his descriptions backwards as to which was solid and which was dangerous.  Shangri La was excellent.  These are opposite the highway of the spectacular looking Havasu Wilderness.

Drew races up
Drew races up
Drew
Drew
Jerry and cars below
Jerry and cars below
Tough pitch
Tough pitch
finishing
finishing
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
Shang Ri-La next
Shang Ri-La next
descent
descent
traverse
traverse
down
down
the route on Little Haystack
the route on Little Haystack
Onto Shang Ri-La
Onto Shang Ri-La
Drew having a great time
Drew having a great time
Jerry routefinding
Jerry routefinding
impeccable rock
impeccable rock
Descending a lower west face gully
Descending a lower west face gully
avoiding scree on west face
avoiding scree on west face

Northward we travel next....

Shang Ri-La Peak
Shang Ri-La Peak

--------------
“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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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1488 | TRs
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 12:50 pm 
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Really enjoyed this report.  Thank you.

--------------
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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awilsondc
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 3:43 pm 
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Looks like some great scrambling down there!  Great report, thanks for writing this up!   up.gif  up.gif
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John Morrow
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Posts: 1458 | TRs
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John Morrow
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 4:28 pm 
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awilsondc wrote:
Looks like some great scrambling down there!  Great report, thanks for writing this up!   up.gif  up.gif

Thanks Gimpilator and awilsondc.  Lots more coming eventually:  Valley of Fire, Lake Mead NRA, JTree, Chuckwalla Mtns Wilderness, Dead Mtns, Boundary Cone and others, Death Valley Natl Park and adjacent mtn ranges.  something else I can't remember at the moment....

--------------
“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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Bloated Chipmunk
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Joined: 29 Jan 2007
Posts: 2834 | TRs
Location: Margaritaville
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PostSat Jan 02, 2021 7:55 pm 
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"Big Dick Canyon"?  I may have to check this place out.   embarassedlaugh.gif

--------------
Home is where the hiking is. 

"Peaks that have come and gone four times should halt a man in his steps." -- William O. Douglas

A balanced diet is a margarita in each hand.
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Forum Index > Trip Reports > On to towers of the Sonoran Desert with friends; Nov 21-30, 2020
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