Eric had gone home in the morning, leaving me with a few days to finish up a
10-day desert roadtrip. My plan was to tackle Giers Mtn and Peak 1,908ft, two
summits with 500ft+ of prominence in the Buckskin Mtns of Arizona near Parker.
I ended doing those and adding another in a 9mi loop, then a Jeeping tour
through the western part of the range. It was a sunup to sundown adventure with
plenty of driving to give my feet a break. I would end the day with eight
Arizona summits before heading back to California.
Giers Mtn - Peak 1,908ft - Peak 1,694ft
Adam Walker had posted a track to PB for Giers and Peak 1,908ft in 2019, what
looked like a nice out and back from SR95 to the north along the Colorado River.
I used his same parking spot along the highway and just
before 6:15a. I started up a wash system that I quickly found was part of
(the Lamb Springs Trail in Buckskin Mtn State Park, which
I only found out later, of course). I followed it for about half a mile
until it climbed out of the wash to head west. I turned left to continue
southeast and south, no sign of a trail anymore.
It was a pleasant hike in the cool shade of the early morning, occupying much of
the first hour. As I neared , Giers was basked in
sunshine on my right and I ascended the headwall of the wash system to climb
directly to the summit. The easier route goes around the
south side to ascend the SW Ridge, but I found the East Face a challenging
class 3 bit of fun that I enjoyed very much. The rock quality improved the
higher I went, fairly solid where and is most
appreciated. I reached by 7:30a, with a fine, clear view of
the Colorado River to . To rose the slightly
1,908ft about a mile away. The route to get to it looked tame by comparison and
looked to make for a nice ramble. The register consisted of a collection of
loose sheets, the oldest dating . Adam and pal had been the
last ones the register.
For the descent, I chose to drop off , a similarly
challenging class 3 scramble, though the rock a bit less solid. This allowed me
to connect with to Peak 1,908ft directly. The traverse
between the two would occupy me for a second hour, a pleasant walk taking
advantage of that passed along the ridgeline, past
. Peak 1,908ft's summit was in the
latter, and I took some time to avoid getting any wayward needles in my boots.
I stayed below on its to make travel
easier, scrambling onto the ridge shortly before the summit. I reached
not long after 8:30a, finding a simple register left by Adam
. While sitting here, I noticed another summit,
about a mile to the south. I hadn't planned on this one ahead of time, but I was
having such a good time on the outing that it gave me a chance to extend it and
make a large loop. It would take most of a third hour to follow the
between the summits. A few very green
brightened the scene, with some barrel cacti adding shades of
Once at , I looked around for a way back, choosing a broad
wash system to the east that flows north to Giers Wash and the Colorado River.
In descending Peak 1,694ft I dropped southwest off the summit, a
for about 30ft or so, then down easier slopes to the
southeast and east. I passed over a low saddle into the head of
I would follow back to the highway. This was a pleasant
stroll with , some narrow sections for interest,
or two for diversion. Once in ,
I noted graffiti carved in places on - certainly I
was getting close to civilization. Another 10min found me in the vicinity of the
. I had been to this same neighborhood back in 2019
when I had climbed the nearby , a class 3 summit I had
stumbled upon while driving through the area. I finished the last half mile of
the outing walking the side of SR95, the least enjoyable part, but only taking
10min. By 11:40a I was to the Jeep.
The rest of the day was spent Jeeping the Back Way to the Desert Bar Trail,
starting only a few minutes from where I'd parked. The Desert Bar, aka the
Nellie E Saloon, lies near the apex of this scenic and challenging desert Jeep
trail. The northeastern half of the trail is pretty exciting in places, suitable
only for 4WD and high-clearance. The southwestern half is well-graded dirt,
suitable for most vehicles. The Desert Bar is open only on weekends, cash only,
and hugely popular. It lies at the site of the old Carnation Mine and has grown
to accomodate rather large crowds. As it was Friday, I wouldn't have the
opportunity to visit the bar, but then I would have much of the trail to myself
- I saw only a few other vehicles for the more than five hours I was out there.
Less than two hours were spent in actually driving, the rest sprinkled about the
five summits I stopped for along the way. next to
along SR95. A large dirt lot adjacent to the
market is used by the many weekend visitors to unload ATVs from their trailers.
It was empty today, but you can get an idea of what it looks like on the
weekend from the Google satellite view (I counted over 100 vehicles at the
Desert Bar in the satellite view). I drove about 1.5mi from the highway to reach
a saddle for on its southeast side. I left the Jeep at
and hiked to in about 25min.
The peak is aptly named for the unusually bright (for this area)
the volcanic feature. Some easy class 3 scrambling can be had with nice views
of and . My biggest
surprise was seeing how close Giers Mtn was, perhaps a mile to the southeast.
From the road, it was only about 3/4mi to Giers, clearly the shortest route to
the summit, if
your vehicle can manage the road.
After returning to the Jeep, I drove another mile south to the highpoint of
the road at an overlook near the Gray Eagle Mine, putting me about 1/2mi north
of Peak 1,620ft. There is a much closer approach from the west via a Jeep road
leading to the Eagles Nest Mine, but I didn't know about this at the time. At
I parked at, there are several for some
enthusiasts active in the local OHV club. From here, I scrambled steep, loose
slopes to the top of an intermediate point that had numerous
scattered over its slopes, the in the volcanic
rock their obvious target - lots of digging, but not a lot of rock removed.
From this intermediate point, the going gets easier ,
then more rocky scrambling to the summit. There are two points vying for
highpoint, the southwestern one appears to be about 5ft higher. One can look
down on , about half a mile to -
it looked about as dead as expected. After a short break, I
via the same route.
Billy Mack Peak
I drove the remaining distance to the Desert Bar, finding myself at the
north entrance which was closed. What? How do I get through? I had to
consult by GPSr to find the junction I'd missed a short distance back. Once
on Cienega Springs Rd, the road is much improved and heads west and southwest.
After a mile and a half, I paused on the northeast side of
, found just northwest of the road. I hiked up to the NE
Ridge and to in the middle of the
ridge. A register found in a cairn at the summit was left by Gordon & Barbara
, with a handful of other entries since. For the return I
dropped directly off the summit on , then walked
the short distance to the Jeep.
This minor summit is located about half a mile south of Billy Mack. A spur road
off Cienga Springs got me to a saddle on , and from there
it was a 10min hike to . Not much of a summit, this one.
This last peak is located about a mile of Lion Hill. A rough,
sandy BLM road gets one within a quarter mile on of
the summit. It's a short but steep scramble over loose rock, a small cliff band
found at the very top. The rock here was pretty crappy, so it took some slow
manuevering to get up without pulling rocks out
and cratering. It was 4:45p by the time I reached , the sun
now getting low in the sky and leaving a soft lighting over
. I left the only of the
day on the summit before heading back down the same way. I ended up showering
before driving into Parker for dinner, then back to
California to start my drive home. I still had a few days before I needed to
be home, so I drove into the southern part of the Turtle Mtns to spend the