Peak 2,713ft P300
Peak 2,896ft

Nov 27, 2023
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I was due to meet Eric in Needles this evening, but ahead of schedule, I needed something to do today since I'd finished up in the Little Piute Mtns. I decided to pay a visit to the Dead Mountains north of Needles, just west of the Colorado River. I had been to this range on two previous occasions, so I was now picking up the more obscure ones. Access is a bit tricky due to the Dead Mtns Wilderness that surrounds it. I noticed there is a cutout on the east side where a gravel road leads into the heart of the Wilderness, east of the two peaks I was interested in. It appears to go to a gravel pit. I had no idea if this was private or public and half expected it to be gated at the Needles Hwy turnoff. I was happy to find out that it was not gated, in great shape (suitable for any vehicle), and I had the place all to myself. I parked at a wide platform at the end of the left fork of the road, and started from there. This road would save me several miles each way of walking up gravelly wash, and I was happy to find I would have less than 7mi roundtrip on this outing, with just under 2,000ft of gain. All of the terrain was class 2, making for a fairly mellow half day outing.

I started off on an old road, blocked to vehicles and now part of the Wilderness. I followed this to the southwest where it soon ended in a minor drainage. I went up this drainage for less than a quarter mile before turning south to climb a low ridgeline that would give me access to the main drainage to the south. This larger drainage would lead to both of the day's summits. A mix of sand and rock in the drainage made for decent travel - much better than the rubbly mess I had two days earlier. I headed west up the main wash for about half a mile, then continued on up a lesser drainage on the left. This would lead up for about a quarter mile until I could gain the toe of Peak 2,713ft's NE Ridge. I would follow this up for the better part of an hour. I found there are two summits to this first one, separate by 1/10mi. The ridge ended atop the lower north summit, so I had a short traverse to the highpoint at the southern point. The summit has fine views of the Colorado River Basin, though much of this was washed out by the early morning sun. To the west is the vast Piute Valley with Interstate 40 cutting through the landscape to the southwest, up and across South Pass through the Sacramento Mtns and disappearing over the horizon. North and south are the other summits of the Dead Mtns, with the range HP to the north.

The most enjoyable leg of the day was the traverse along the crest between the two summits. It is about a mile and half between them, taking me about an hour and twenty minutes. Fine views the entire way, some minor difficulties along the ridge, but nothing serious. Peak 2,896ft has a large cairn six feet tall, visible from the other summit. I found no register tucked in anywhere (nor did I find one on the previous summit), and had none with me to leave. It is difficult to descend directly from the summit to the east due to cliffs (though one could continue along the crest to the north), so I had to first backtrack a few hundred yards before descending a ridge to the southeast. This seemed preferable to the gullies that looked to have more brush and rubble than the ridgelines. I followed this down through small cliff bands, eventually reaching the sandy wash below in the main drainage. I would follow this out for another 3/4mi or so before returning again to the next drainage to the north. I was back at the Jeep before noon, having spent 4hr40min on the effort. I had plenty of time for another outing before Eric was due to arrive in Needles, but I decided to give myself the afternoon off. I would need to refill water and get gas and other supplies and would have little trouble killing an afternoon...


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