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Today we were after a few more prominence peaks, these in the Whipple Mountains on the eastern edge of the state near Parker Dam. I had been to this range on two previous occasions, the first to reach the range highpoint in 2008 while chasing down the DPS summits, and more recently in 2015 on a similar desert road trip. On that second visit we had run out of time to tackle today's peaks along with some others that we had to leave for a future visit. There are so many interesting peaks in the Whipple Mtns, particularly that part of the range close to the Colorado River, that one could easily spend a week exploring them. We had spent the night camped on the north side of the Colorado River Aqueduct and SR62, on a lonely stretch of BLM land between US95 and the river. In the morning we piled into Michael's Nissan Pathfinder and headed off for the first of the day's peaks.
After following the narrow portion of the canyon for another mile, we started out of the drainage to climb the South Ridge leading to Peak 3,357ft. It was an interesting ridgeline with some avoidable class 3 that took us through colorful rockbands, a cholla garden (careful here!), and a false summit before catching a view of the highpoint another third of a mile further north. In all, we would spend the better part of two and half hours climbing 2,200ft to the summit. Barbara and Gordon had beaten us to the summit by some 38 years with another three parties occupying the second page of the register. The summit has a fine view overlooking the Whipple Mtns, with the range highpoint rising in a broad ridgeline behind us to the north, Cupcake Mtn and most of the other interesting volcanic summits to the east and southeast. Our descent was only a modest variation of our ascent as we dropped west off the South Ridge once we were about halfway down in order to reach the wash a bit sooner. It didn't end up being any faster in the end, but no one seemed to mind much. Not long after returning to the wash, we came across a tarantula out of his hole, probably looking for a mate. We interrupted his quest for several moments as we tried to get him to pose for our pictures. Hopefully it wasn't too disruptive and he was able to continue his quest...
We were back to the vehicle not long after 2:30p and settled in for the longish drive back to our campsite where we'd left our vehicles along the aqueduct. I was left to fend for myself for the rest of the week as my companions drove back to civilization and jobs, the latter of which have become somewhat distant memories for me. I drove the van to Parker, AZ where I refueled both vehicle and myself before retiring back to the California side to find a quiet place to sleep for the night. I felt a bit lonely after the others had left me, but as I settled down to sleep for the night, cozily ensconsed in my sleeping bag, I was already looking forward to the next few days' solo adventures and the sadness slipped away...
This page last updated: Mon Dec 25 08:44:57 2017
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