Fri, Dec 11, 2015
All the parties we read up on had climbed Eagle Peak directly from Eagle Pass. Though only 2/3mi, the route is steep and not very imaginative. We started by hiking about 1.3mi further up the wash/road before jumping on the East Ridge. A cliff band encircles much of the mountain about halfway up and there was some uncertainty as to whether we could find a way through it. The view we had from below in the wash suggested a possibility which turned out just fine - easy class 3 at the most. Above, the terrain becomes easier and by 8:20p we had made our way to the summit, taking barely an hour and a quarter. In addition to some fine views, we found a 1935 benchmark and a MacLeod/Register dating from 1984. Some 25 pages in all suggest the peak is fairly popular. The most recent entry was by Daryn Dodge back in February - I somewhat expected this, having seen his name on Bannock BM about 6mi to the northwest on my previous desert trip.
After a short break, we turned our attention to the northeast in which direction lay Nomento BM. About 2.5mi distant, the hike between the two was not difficult but consumed the better part of two hours' time. There was no cliff band on this side of Eagle Peak to negotiate but there was plenty of cholla to keep us on our toes and going a little slower. We dropped more than 1,000ft to a saddle enroute before climbing 800ft to the second summit. Andy Smatko and party had left a note in 1983 with Gordon & Barbara visiting three years later. Unfortunately the pages of the register left by Gordon were extremely brittle and had mostly disintegrated inside the jar into unreadable tatters (perhaps the jar had been left for years exposed to direct sunlight?), and I couldn't make out any of the names from the few other parties that had visited since. We descended south and then southeast along a series of ridgelines dropping us back to Eagle Pass Rd only a few hundred yards from where we'd left our vehicle. Our 11:30a return gave us a time of about 4.5hrs for the outing.
More interesting was the register found here left by Gordon/Barbara in 1993, proclaiming it the range highpoint but without anything really to back up that claim. Others had varying opinions, but the most convincing was Richard Carey's entry in 2004 where he used a hand level to measure the north summit about 4 feet higher. If true, both LoJ and Peakbagger.com need updating. I pointed out to Evan that it was good he joined us AND came over to the north summit, since it looked like he hadn't reached the true highpoint on his earlier visit. Had he not done both of those things I would undoubtedly have given him a hard time shortly after returning. This wasn't the first time he'd had to go back a second time to the range because he'd misjudged its highpoint. We descended back to the desert floor and our waiting vehicle around 4p, not long before the rains would hit.
Driving south on US95, we passed through several localized cells of heavy rain, one of them near an easy bonus peak we were considering, Pyramid Butte. We parked off the highway, about 2/3mi from the summit, looked at the peak, looked at the weather, considered the failing light and decided to let this one go. Easy yes, enjoyable no. We drove South to Vidal Junction then east on SR62 to the Parker Dam area on the CA/AZ border where we planned to spend the next several days. One of the first things you notice in this stretch of CA along the Colorado River is the preponderance of burros in the area. Signs warn drivers to slow and with good reason as they can be found walking along the roadway like good pedestrians but hard to see at night. Finding a legal, free place to park along SR62 is not easy, probably to discourage dirtbaggers. The area around Lake Havasu is a snowbirds' nesting ground and they seem to prefer you make use of one of the many RV campgrounds found on either side of the river and lake. Our best candidate was the BLM Bowmans Wash Rd, the starting point for the next day's adventure. Sadly, the road is specifically signed for No Camping but we decided to take our chances anyway. Happily, no officials came by to roust us this evening. We had dinner at the Crossroads Cafe in Parker, AZ where we met up with Laura who'd come to join us for the weekend. A few hours later we returned to Bowmans Wash and our overnight spot where Tom and Patrick would soon arrive to give us a party of six for the weekend. We filled the back of Evan's camper with some mild revelry for an hour or before hitting the sack. Six hikers, six vehicles - eco-friendly this was not...
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