Little Cholla Peak P300 RS
La Cholla Peak P300 RS
Peak 2,001ft P300
Peak 2,152ft P500
Peak 2,123ft P300

Dec 13, 2022

With: Eric Smith

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 GPX Profiles: 1 2


We had planned to do a hike to Signal Peak and Ten Ewe Mtn today, but it had rained some during the night and gotten very cold. This left snow on the summit of Signal, but worse, wet brush on the north side of the peak where our route would go. It seemed certain our boots and pants would get soaked, so we decided to postpone it for a day. Instead, we did a collection of shorter hikes on the west side of the Kofa NWR, low elevation summits with minimal brush. This worked nicely to keep us dry all day. With a high of around 52F, it was pretty cool even by desert winter standards. It was 27F when we started the first hike, but the sun would soon warm things to a more reasonable temperature.

Little Cholla - La Cholla

These two summits are found on the south side of King Rd, only a few miles from the pavement. Both were named by Purcell in his book, Rambles & Scrambles, though neither are particularly special. We chose our route to maximize the amount of early morning sun. We thus went up the NE Ridge of Little Cholla to start with, getting our heartrates up in addition to the welcome sun, though the route is hardly the most efficient way up. It did have some decent class 2-3 scrambling with some up and downs along the way, taking just under an hour to reach the top. This was the only summit of the day that didn't have a Gordon/Barbara register on it, though they had recorded an ascent. Eric found some broken glass just below the summit, so perhaps it met its demise at the hands of a Wilderness purist, or just a clumsy accident.

The second hour was spent getting between Little Cholla and La Cholla. The descent of Little Cholla's south side was steep but mostly class 2 on a mix somewhat loose slopes and more solid options. The ascent of La Cholla was via the north side, class 2 slopes the whole way, bypassing a class 3 headwall near the top by going around the right side. The register had been placed in 1996, ours making the 8th party to sign in since then. In order to make a loop of the outing, we chose to descend the drainage off the east side of the summit, though hardly the fastest way back. The drainage curves to the north to pass by the east side of Little Cholla. There is some brush and small dryfall obstacles that combined to make it a nice change from the rocky slopes that we started with. This was the longest segment of the outing, taking an hour and twenty minutes, but fun.

Peak 2,001ft

Eric had a bit more energy for another outing, but not too much. So we picked this one on the north side of King Rd a few more miles to the east. We parked on the roadway a mile south of the peak and walked from there, mostly a nice, flat walk across King Valley to the base of the peak, then a short climb up the dark volcanic rock-strewn slope to the summit. The register had been left three days later on that same Kofa trip in 1996. This had more entries, about 15 all told. The summit has a nice view looking around King Valley and to the mountain ranges on three sides. An hour and fifteen minutes for the roundtrip.

Peak 2,152ft - Peak 2,123ft

These two summit are found on the south side of Palm Canyon Rd, about 9mi north of the other summits. I left Eric at his car to read and while away the afternoon while I got a bit more exercise to fill out the day. Both peaks are much like Peak 2,001ft - rounded summits covered in desert varnish rubble, the footing ranging from stable to suspect. I parked along the road to do the outing in roughly a triangle, each leg about 1.5 in length. The hike across the flats was quite enjoyable with the afternoon lighting, long shadows, not much brush and no deep washes to negotiate. The climbs were so-so, the descents on unstable ground less so. Both had registers left by the dynamic duo in 1994, though the one on Peak 2,123ft was very brittle with the first several pages in tatters. A second register was left there by another party in 2017. Good peaks to do if you're in the area with some extra time on your hands, but not worth the time as the main focus.


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