On to towers of the Sonoran Desert with friends; Nov 21-30, 2020

John Morrow

Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
643
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
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Turtles2
by John Morrow, on Flickr

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

Turtles1
by John Morrow, on Flickr



everyone
by John Morrow, on Flickr



The gang on Mopah Point
by John Morrow, on Flickr



crux downclimb
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Mopah
by John Morrow, on Flickr



2/3 way up Umpah Point
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Jerry with Mopah behind
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Jerry views sunset
by John Morrow, on Flickr

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



Turtles morning
by John Morrow, on Flickr



spring and staghorn
by John Morrow, on Flickr



petroglyphs
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Full set with titles describing routes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23557848@N03/albums/72157717158397193


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". Called the Hidden Valley Hills.



Kofa HiddenValleyHills
by John Morrow, on Flickr



starting a long loop
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Peak 2095' scramble face
by John Morrow, on Flickr



a bit of knife edge
by John Morrow, on Flickr



cholla are feeling drought
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Descending Peak 2120'
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Hidden Tanks mouth
by John Morrow, on Flickr


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.

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. 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.



KOFA Polaris Loop
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Polaris Mtn for today
by John Morrow, on Flickr



deep canyon
by John Morrow, on Flickr



fun canyon descent
by John Morrow, on Flickr



big open unnamed canyon
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Full set with titles describing routes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23557848@N03/albums/72157717163286513


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 to 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 by John Morrow, on Flickr



Jerry and Drew on rib
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Drew heads to summit block
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Jerry on top
by John Morrow, on Flickr



descent time
by John Morrow, on Flickr



more downclimbing
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Full set with titles describing routes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23557848@N03/albums/72157717162385187

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.



Ibex-Haystack-N.Haystack
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05061
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05064
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05072
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05089
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05091
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05122 (2)
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05126
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05136
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05147
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05161
by John Morrow, on Flickr

North Haystack:



DSC05171
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05175
by John Morrow, on Flickr



DSC05203
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Full set with titles describing routes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23557848@N03/albums/72157717171261408

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.



Tough pitch
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Havasu National Wildlife Refuge
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Shang Ri-La next
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Drew having a great time
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Jerry routefinding
by John Morrow, on Flickr



Shang Ri-La Peak
by John Morrow, on Flickr

Full set with titles describing routes: https://www.flickr.com/photos/23557848@N03/albums/72157717176739467

Northward we travel next....
 
Last edited:

Bob

Trailmaster
Joined
Mar 3, 2013
Messages
2,595
Nice desert country. Spent a lot of time in the Trigos to the west at old miningg sites ... Not much in the Kofas.
 
Last edited:

John Morrow

Member
Joined
May 22, 2015
Messages
643
That is some crazy climbing there, John!
It is all scrambling really. I think my pics are a bit of a misnomer. I seem to have selected the most "dramatic" ones. I wanted to show how much great scrambling there is down there. Other than Muggins Peak and Little Haystack, everything else was Class 2 or 3. The one mandatory move on Mopah seemed Class 4, though.
The trip took on a life of its own and became almost all scrambling, less rock art seeking, nor tight beautiful waterpolished canyons, and only one small backpack.
 
Last edited:

Reef&Ruins

Colorado Plateau is calling...
Joined
Feb 3, 2017
Messages
589
Some sweet places I knew nothing about... now I know something. Thanks and great TR!
 
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