Ibex Peak (Arizona), Haystack Peak (Arizona)
By: Ted Brasket
A small group of Senior Citizens we call the "Geriatric Section of the DPS" met in the scenic desert area north of Quartsite, AZ for several days of relaxed camping and two days of great climbing. This group has a lot of years on them, but are young in spirit. They're comfortable with 3rd and 4th class climbs with a belay where needed. The group of seven included from the youngest member up: Ernie Spiehler, Neal Scott, Judy Ware, Ted and Lorry Brasket, Jeanette Vincent and, thanks to a suggestion from Neal and Judy, I called Delores Holladay in Independence who joined us. She is a welcome addition and a long-time member of the DPS. Ages ranges from 61 to 70 years.
There had been extensive mining activities where we camped. There were numerous mine shafts in this area named "Southern Cross Mine." They left some level concrete slabs we parked on for a comfortable, clean camp. Our camp was only about 1.25 miles north and 1200' gain from the summit of Ibex Peak. We climbed it by the Class 3 southwest ridge. A belay was used in two places on the way up. Above the ridge, the south side of the peak is a 45 degree slope with the heaviest concentration of Teddy Bear cholla I've ever encountered. From the summit is an awesome view of the twin peaks of Haystack Peak. Three of us would attempt to climb them from the north the next day. I had reliable information from Dave Jurasevich that it could be climbed from the south but required a long rough drive to get there. We were on the north side and so decided to go from there and if it didn't go, we'd do a long hike over the saddle between Ibex and Haystack and down to the south side on another day. There's a broad, steep slope up the north side with a class 3 rock band below the saddle between the east Haystack summit dome and the lower west summit. There is a rugged class 3 ridge with much exposure and obstacles to pass to get to the notch between the summit dome and the last obstacle. The summit looked more difficult from below but was actually easy class 3. We went back to the saddle and up over the west summit and down the rugged ridge toward Ibex and back to camp for a great challenging loop. Jeanette Vincent and Neal Scott did this with me. We took two 25m 8.5 ropes but they weren't needed.
While soloing this peak several weeks before taking the group, I discovered a fine class 2 escape route above the class 3 ridge. The entire west fact of Ibex is a great vertical wall. I found a way off the ridge that's not obvious from below. It's very steep off the ridge, so just stay against this wall all the way down. You can see the mine road from here that will take you back to camp. A real plus with this ascent is that there is no cholla on this wall route.
To get to camp: from the west on 1-10, take exit #17 in Quartsite, AZ Follow the signs to Parker-Yuma Highway 95. Go north on Highway 95 for 5.7 miles to the paved Bouse Road. Then right (NE) and just beyond milepost 8 turn right on a dirt road. It turns back southwest then crosses a large wash. It then curves around follow the main road for approximately 4 miles until you are north of Ibex. The peaks are obvious. This main road goes generally east, may e going north or south at times to cross washes Do not take any of the many roads to the right. Bear left all the way and you'll come to the slabs we camped on.
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