Peak 2,870ft
Peak 3,001ft P500
Peak 1,929ft P300
Peak 3,090ft P300
Peak 2,020ft

Sun, Nov 6, 2022
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Today's main objective was to finish up the three peaks remaining in the Marble Mountains south of Interstate 40 and north of US66. They would occupy my morning, leaving me the afternoon for a few bonus peaks in conjunction with about 100mi of driving to get me to Needles and US95 where I was to meet others this evening.

Peak 2,870ft - Peak 3,001ft

These two summits are located in the southern portion of the range. A rough road runs north from US66 just west of Chambliss to get one to the base of the range in the vicinity of these summits. I had driven this the previous afternoon and spent a very quiet night. Though it was quite a few miles from the RR tracks to the south, those were the only sounds that could be heard during the night.

Starting just after sunrise, my route followed a wide wash system to the north for several miles. It is rocky and rough, but not much brush, making for a so-so route. The wash narrows at one point for some interesting geology, then opens again higher up. I followed the wash up to a saddle just northwest of the first summit, Peak 2,870ft. Class 2 scrambling then leads to the summit. Nice views overlooking the range, including the higher Peak 3,001ft about a mile to the south. I would spend the next 45min traveling SE along the ridgeline connecting the two peaks, with an intermediate point to go over with saddles on either side. Peak 3,001ft has a class 3-4 summit block that makes for a short boulder problem. A register at the base of this block was left by MacLeod in 1982. The subsequent six pages of entries were all from various folks surveying bighorn sheep in the area up until 2001, then no entries for more than 20yrs. The descent gully I used on the south side of the peak was a messy affair, though I don't think any of the other options were any better. I was back to the Jeep around 10a, taking less than 4hrs for the outing.

Peak 1,929ft

This is the southernmost summit in the Marble Mtns, only a short distance north of US66 near Cadiz Pass. A spur road leading to an old mining site gets one within half a mile of the summit. The last part of the road is pretty rough, high-clearance required. The slopes of this peak are peppered with volcanic rocks thrown up in some distant eruption. The trick is to minimize the amount of this material one needs to walk over, looking for more open sections that can be linked together. Nothing tricky on the ascent, again all class 2. There are two closely-spaced summits, both with old survey towers. The western point is the highest. Just under an hour for the roundtrip effort.

Peak 3,090ft

This was a leftover summit on the east side of the Piute Mountains, and not even on my radar until I was driving to Needles. The old US66 route from Chambliss east to I-40 has been closed for several years now due to flash floods that damaged 5-6 low bridges along the roadway. Caltrans has built dirt road bypasses around each of these points, but signs along the road would have you believe it is undriveable. I drove the entire distance without issue. Once on I-40 heading east, I noticed this summit and recalled I had already picked out a route from the east. There is a little-used dirt/sand road that follows along the eastern boundary of the Wilderness. There are some washouts on this road that require high-clearance. 4WD recommended for the sand. The hike from the roadway is about a mile and a quarter each way, easy, pleasant and all class 2. The summit is a nice little perch overlooking the Piute Range to the west and Ward Valley to the east. About an hour and a half for the outing.

Peak 2,020ft

After returning to the Interstate, I drove east to Needles and the CA/AZ border where I got cheap gas on the AZ side. I picked up some ice and a large soda, then back to Needles to grab fast food, then south on US95. Peak 2,020ft was my last remaining summit in the Sacramento Mtns southwest of Needles. It hasn't much prominence, which is probably why it had been neglected. A good pipeline road runs west from US95, passing the peak within half a mile on its south side. I completely missed this turnoff through a navigation error and ended up on the dirt road running west from Lobeck Pass, a few miles further south. Off this road, I drove a sandy wash, somewhat brushy, back north to get within a mile and a half of the peak to the southeast. It wasn't what I'd planned, but it would work. It was after 4p when I started out, the sun low on the horizon and ready to set in about 20min - with DST ending, it gets dark early in these parts. A near-full moon had already risen and would help on the return. I had about a mile of rolling terrain to cross to reach the base of the peak. There were no deep washes here, and nice, open terrain, which made for pleasant walking. I crossed over the pipeliine road I hould have used after half an hour. The ascent was steep but all class 2, getting me to the top by 4:40p, about 15min after sunset. The return was the most enjoyable part. I went at a more leisurely pace, using the moon instead of a headlamp, only possible because there were very few cacti to worry about. It would be nearly 5:30p by the time I finished up, quite dark now. An enjoyable day...


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