Dec 1, 2023
Today was a fun half day effort to three summits in the Gibraltar Wilderness in the eastern part of the Buckskin Mountains. We'd climbed in the Wilderness back in 2021 to collect Gibraltar Mtn, the Wilderness HP and a few others. These three are located in the southern part of the Wilderness and could be reached from the south in an eight mile loop. Well-graded Shea Rd runs to the south of the Wilderness while a rougher Jeep track that we used gets one slightly closer, by about 1/4mi. We parked at the Wilderness boundary and started north up, a wash where an old road used to run. Rocks have been tossed onto the first half mile of this old road to discourage vehicle use, but it is still useable on foot. We followed this track for the half mile until it drops into the adjacent wash and splits into two forks. We took the left spur to the northwest, heading towards Peak 1,983ft. Where the road ends after half a mile, we continued up the rocky wash and slope, climbing to our peak from the south. We took a short break at the hour mark, then continued to the summit in another half hour.
Barbara and Gordon had left a register atop Peak 1,983ft (the second highest and second most prominent summit in the Wilderness) in 2003. Bob Greer was the only other visitor to sign it. After a long break to rest and take in the views, Eric decided to head back to the Jeep to give his body a rest day while I continued on to the next summit. Peak 1,657ft lies about half a mile to the NNW along a connecting ridgeline. This was an enjoyable section, a relatively easy descent to the saddle before the short but steep climb up the SE Ridge with a short section of class 3 through a volcanic cliff band. The distance was not great, but it would take the better part of an hour between the two. The summit offers views west to Parker, south to the higher summit I'd been at earlier, and the rest of the Wilderness area to the north. I would leave a register here before continuing north from the summit. I ended up leaving the North Ridge after a short distance when I spied a class 2 gully to the northeast that would get around the cliffs I expected if I stayed on the ridge. This worked nicely to get me down to the wash system below without any difficulties. I then followed a branch of this wash up to the east for almost a mile. Where the wash turns southeast, I climbed up and onto the NW Ridge of Peak 1,787ft, eventually reaching the summit about an hour and a quarter after leaving the previous one. This one, too, was devoid of a register, so I left the last one I was carrying with me. I could see the old road system about a mile to the SSW, which would aid me in the return. I had first to spend about 45min descending the South Ridge and then a steep slope down to where I could pick up the end of the old road at a collection of prospects. The last half hour was an easy cruise for a mile and a half along the old road, half of which we had used at the start.
Back at 12:30p, I drove back out about a short distance to find Eric resting in the back of his Rav4. He'd enjoyed the rest time a great deal, looking about as relaxed as I've ever seen him. We would use the rest of the afternoon to pick up supplies in Parker, then find some WiFi to help plan the next few days. After dining a second night at Dee's Curry in town, we drove across the Colorado River into California and headed to Bowmans Wash where we would spend the night. Iris and Tom joined us sometime after we'd gotten a good campfire going and the following day would have four of us wandering about the Whipple Mountains...
This page last updated: Tue Dec 19 18:05:22 2023
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