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We spent the first half hour and change walking up the remaining bits of road in the wash to a private inholding at a spring. Cattle once grazed here, but it appears to have been many years since the land has been used for this or any purpose, other than as defacto Wilderness. We scrambled onto the left bank where the spring and an old dam are encountered. A few cottonwoods still grow in the grave-filled dam. We had Adam Walker's GPX track with us, but rather than continue up the canyon past the spring as he'd done, we turned northwest to begin climbing slopes into the drainage southeast of our peak, a shortcut on Adam's track. This worked nicely, passing through a small saddle before dropping a short distance into the SE drainage. This soon leads to the first and largest dryfall found in the drainage, a sporty class 3 climb that we made in turns. Above this, the going gets easier but there's still plenty of fun scrambling, sometimes dodging cholla, catclaw and other thorny plants that inhabit the range. At the end of the second hour, we had reached a saddle between our summit and a striking pinnacle to the northeast. There was some discussion on how to proceed from this point. Adam's track takes a detour around the north side of the NE Ridge to eventually climb the peak from the west. We were only 1/3mi from the summit at the saddle, and I wondered why we couldn't just follow the ridge more directly. I went into salesman mode, selling the route as a fine scramble, though I knew nothing the others didn't. Had I done more research, I would have found that Stav had climbed the ridge directly with what he called a single class 3 move. We found more than a single move, but it was good scrambling and undoubtedly quicker than Adam's class 2 bypass. We used a convenient ramp on the SE side of the ridge for the second half, getting us to the summit only 15min from the saddle.
We found a register dating to 1998, and views diminished by threatening weather, looking like it might rain almost any time. We could see rain in the distance and watched it grow closer over the next few hours. We reversed our route off Battleship's summit, returning to the first saddle adjacent to the pinnacle. Beyond the pinnacle was Peak 4,100ft, an unnamed summit of minor consequence that we decided to visit since it had sufficient prominence. Though the pinnacle had little prominence, Tom had been eyeing it and would pay a visit while the rest of us traversed around it on the north side. Tom found what appeared to be the only reasonable route on the NE side with some stiff scrambling that he would later rate as class 4 to low fifth. Possibly within my abilities, but not ones I felt like exercising today. We found the ascent of Peak 4,100ft via the route we used to have more class 3 as we worked around the west side before finding a route up to the summit. Now almost 11a, we found no register here and after a short pause, looked to get down before the weather arrived. From the top of Peak 4,100ft, I spied a possible alternate for the descent, utilizing a gully descending from the saddle between Peak 4,100ft and the pinnacle. It wasn't obvious that it would work as there was a good chance we might run into a serious dryfall, but it seemed worth investigating. The others offered no resistance, equally vested in looking for a shortcut. The alternate route worked nicely at class 2-3, rejoining the ascent gully just above the 30-foot dryfall we had ascended earlier. We reversed the class 3 on this, worked our way through a cholla garden to return to Cottonwood Canyon, then back to the Jeep by 12:40p - success! - with only a few droplets of rain. We drove back out to the highway where we collected the rest of our vehicles.
We ended up camping off the east side of Oatman Hwy a few miles south of Boundary Cone, on BLM lands regularly used for this purpose. We ended up huddled in our camp chairs under the awning on Jim's RV, watching the rain come down harder, on and off. It was probably the most rain I've seen in the desert on any previous trip (mind you, I'm not in the desert during summertime and miss the occasional torrential thunderstorms at that time). There would be no campfire tonight and we would go off to sleep in our various vehicles earlier than usual...
This page last updated: Sun Dec 26 17:03:35 2021
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