Peak 1,558ft
Peak 1,407ft P300
Peak 2,214ft P300
Peak 2,667ft P300
Peak 2,109ft
Peak 2,214ft P500

Sun, Dec 4, 2022
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Today's outing included half a dozen summits in the Ship Mountains, SE of Cadiz. I had climbed the highpoint of this small range a decade earlier, then promptly gave it no further consideration. Seems that what most folks do. The Sierra Club gives it no love at all, skipping it completely for their DPS list. The US Congress gave it no love, either - none of the range is found within Wilderness area though it seems it could easily qualify. The first two peaks are isolated summits found on the north side of the range. The other four are found in the eastern part of the range.

Peak 1,558ft

The first three summits on the day are all primarily limestone, making them more fun than they otherwise would me. I had driven in from Cadiz Rd on a utilty road heading northeast through the range. A spur road gets one within 1/3mi of the summit. I parked due north and headed across the rocky flats to start, then ascending a gully on the north side of the peak. I landed on the summit ridge a short distance west of the highpoint. After walking to the top, I descended the slope to the east of the gully, for a roundtrip time of about 40min.

Peak 1,407ft

This summit is found 1.6mi north of the first, and north of the utility road. I parked off the utility road about 2/3mi from the summit. There is a pleasant walk across the flats to start, Then a class 2 scramble up the SE side, using a shallow gully to the right of the summit. The peak is quite detached from the main body of the range, almost an island in the broad Fenner Valley. Nice views of the Ship Mtns to the south and the Marble Mtns to the northwest. The busy railroad tracks are a mile to the north, with train sounds a near-constant distraction. I left a register here before descending. 45min for the roundtrip.

Peak 2,214ft - Peak 2,667ft - Peak 2,109ft - Peak 2,214ft

I spent something under 5hrs on this more involved outing, about 5mi with 2,500ft of gain. There are two summits here with an elevatioin of 2,214 feet. I parked at the end of a spur road where much mining activity took place back in the day. The first Peak 2,214ft is less than half a mile from here. It was the most interesting peak of the day with the long, fun class 3 NE Ridge that I followed to the highpoint. It gets very narrow in many places, but the limestone has superb grip and fairly solid. There is a tall cairn on a lower point at the western edge of the ridgeline, but I didn't visit it. Instead, I dropped off the south side on a more or less direct line to Peak 2,667ft, 0.8mi in that direction. As I was crossing the washes between them, I noted the transition from limestone to poorly-consolidated granite. This crumbly stuff making up the bulk of Peak 2,667ft has little going for it. I scrambled up a mix of slope and gully on the north side, then down a gully on the east side. It was the highest summit of the day and had more than 400ft of prominence, so I left a second register there. The higher bulk of the range can be seen to the west.

My eastern descent off Peak 2,667ft took me down a curving gully going by the west side of the next summit, Peak 2,109ft. I climbed up to a low saddle west of the summit, then up the rocky NW Ridge. These last two summits were yet a different type of rock, volcanic rock covered in desert varnish. This made for better climbing than Peak 2,667ft, but not by much. After reaching Peak 2,109ft's highpoint, I descended the north side down steep slopes to reach the wash system below. I would spend about 30min following this northwest and north from one drainage into another. I approached the last summit, Peak 2,214ft from the southwest, utilizing an old mining road that climbed halfway up the slope to a prospect shown on the topo map. I continued past this to a saddle south of Peak 2,214ft's summit, then up to the top over more of the dark volcanic rock. This summit has more than 500ft of prominence. The much larger Old Woman Mtns can be seen in profile to the east. Old Woman Statue could be clearly seen, though it is almost 12mi away. I left my third and last register on this summit before descending steeply down the northwest side directly below the highpoint. After reaching easier ground below, I turned WNW to cross the broad wash to the Vulcan Mine on the other side where I had parked the Jeep.

I was done before 2p, but ready to call it a day. I would drive back out to the utility road and a short distance towards the Old Woman Mtns where I planned to hike the next day. I found a nice campspot on the north side of the range overlooking Fenner Valley that had cell service. This would do nicely for the rest of the afternoon and evening...


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