Big Maria Mountains
By: Steve Smith
Past issues of the DPS Newsletter (#79, #94, #103, #111) provide good route finding information for climbing Big Maria. All also mention the controversy over which one of the three points shown by 3,350' contour circles on the Big Maria quadrangle is the highest point in the range. Armed with this information, Howard Rogers and I had no difficulty in arriving at the starting point. Driving northwest from Blythe on Midland Road (Lovekin Blvd.) for 13.6 miles and then driving north along a dirt power line road for eight miles and stopping at pole #45-1 are perfect directions as written in Newsletter #111.
At this point, the South summit and Middle summit (sometimes called South summit) are both visible on the ridgeline towards the south while North summit is just out of sight behind the high point with brown banding on the ridgeline towards the north. We decided to do North summit first by heading east up the major wash for 1-1/2 miles and attained a saddle on the ridgeline between North and Middle summits. Then following the ridgeline north for 1/2 mile and doing some class 2 climbing over the high point with banding, the North summit was quickly reached by going east a short distance to a visible rock cairn. This summit affords a good view of the meandering Colorado River to the east, the rugged east side of the Big Maria range, and Middle and South summits on the ridgeline to the south.
Following the ridgeline south, we next climbed Middle and South summits. All three summits have registers that have been signed by DPS members. Howard and I felt that North summit appeared highest and since most of the more recent recorded climbs have been to the North summit, perhaps that prominent point should be considered the official DPS high point.
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