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I spent the night camped in the Jeep on the outskirts of Parker, AZ, with plans to do some scrambling in the Whipple Mtns in the morning. My choice of campsite could have been better. It was on a dirt road away from town, but within striking distance of the Parker Airport beacon. The rotating green & white light would shine into the van every few seconds, though luckily not that brightly - I was too tired when I bedded down to go find a more suitable spot. In the morning I was up before 6a, got breakfast at Jack in the Box and headed into the Whipple Mtns. My route took me across Parker Dam and then north on the paved road towards Black Meadow Landing. I turned off on the dirt road towards Havasu Palms, then the utility road heading northwest into the Whipple Mtns on the edge of the Whipple Mtns Wilderness. It took almost an hour to make the drive, getting me started hiking by 7a. The skies were overcast today with haze making for poor views and photos, but at least the temperature was nice for hiking, in the 60s. The peaks on the east side of the Whipple Mtns are very different from the rest of the range. Though not as high, the area is quite striking with volcanic rock sculpted into steeply sided summits and towering rock pinnacles, some of the finest desert scrambling to be found in CA.
I headed off the southeast side of the summit, finding no cliffs in that direction and a fairly easy exit off Cupcake Mtn, though lots of cacti dodging. The next peak was one and a quarter miles to the south and it took an hour to travel between the two. A small register was left by Adam Walker at the summit, dubbing the summit "Porthole Mtn", for the rather large hole in the mountain a quarter mile to the southeast. There was a large, white/blue object parked at the opening, so after leaving a better register, I went over to check out the portal. It was probably 12-15ft in height and width. The manmade object turned out to be a water cache left years ago by the LADWP. There's probably five gallons left in a 25gal drum, slowly evaporating through a small hole in the top. After this small diversion, I headed off the north side of Porthole Mtn, making my way down to the drainage between it and the next summit, Peak 2,712ft. This, too, was easy scrambling, going up the south side without significant cliffs to worry about, the summit reached about an hour after leaving the porthole. Finding no register on this summit, I left one before heading down. I tried to exit off the northeast side, but cliffs blocked any exit west or north, leaving me to partly descend back down the south side before working my way around to the saddle with Cupcake Mtn. I used various burro/sheep trails to traverse around the northeast side of Cupcake Mtn to reconnect with the regular trail that I could then follow back to the TH. I was surprised that I had so few troubles with cliffs, though the I still spent more than 5hrs covering 8.5mi, almost half of that on trail.
This page last updated: Tue May 8 10:30:52 2018
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