Black Butte, Chuckwalla Mountains


By: John McCully


A 10 AM start was settled on to accommodate several non DPS'ers who chose to forgo the pleasures of sleeping in the desert for the rigors of motels in Blythe and Indio. A BLM ranger followed one non DPSer's BMW into camp, his curiosity roused by such a vehicle crawling across the desert. The ranger said we represented a years worth of visitors to the site. Signs were set up to help people find the campsite, which several people remarked on as having been helpful.

Most of the way up Chuckwalla was uneventful, except for several of the non hikers turning back. In my efforts to convince non hiking friends to come I painted too rosy a picture of how easy it was going to be. It was pointed out that this wasn't the first time I had played that particular trick, but this was likely to be the last time that it worked. A patch of class III 200 feet from the top convinced my daughter Allisen to sign up for a rock climbing class. The same bit kept Joy McCully, her mother, from reaching the top. Otherwise they have a lot in common. Comet, the Mamedalin's dog, collapsed with an unknown ailment near the top and his 70 pounds had to be carried down. Five or six people were involved in this heroic effort. Comet has apparently now recovered. A brief warm shower added some excitement to the hike down.

Several bottles of Champaign appeared on the summit. Wendy and I started doing the 97 peaks on the list when she moved to California in the fall of 86. After her death last June I decided to carry her ashes up the five peaks she had yet to do on the list. Chuckwalla was chosen as our list finisher some years ago This peak is visible from Interstate 10 and is relatively easy to do, a nice peak to end on.

The pot luck was quite a blow out, culminating with a whole roast pig that was cooked earlier in the day, and which Jim Farkas, who flew down from Seattle for the occasion picked up at noon. The Chinese cook insisted that it not be chilled, as this would change the texture. 55 people showed up for Chuckwalla on Saturday, and 46 made it to the top. 34 people continued on to do Black Butte on Sunday.

Participants were: Maris Valkass, Anna Valkass, Jim Kilberg, Christine Mitchell, Nancy Mitchell, Jim Mitchell, Ron Bartell, Karen Leonard, Sue Wyman, Vic Henney, Suzanne Mamedalin, Igor Mamedalin, Keats Hayden, Bill Gray, Dale Van Dalsem, Leora Jones, Bruce Peterson, Paula Peterson, Mary Sue Miller, Doug Hatfield, HJ Holshuh, Sue Leverton, Steve Hanna, Gail Hanna, Ron Jones, Pat Russell, Bill T. Russell, Dave Welbourn, Mary McMannes, Asher Waxman, George Pfeiffer, Norm Palley, Evelyn Chadwell, Laura Schwartz, Ron Grau, Bob Sumner, Ralph Braunstein, Kris Jordan, Lisette Palley, Glare Beekman, Bob Logan, John McCully, Mike Young, Judy Ware, Bruce Turner, Paul Freiman, Vici Cavatino, Alex Bentson, Pat Bentson, Ryan Bentson, Max Benston, Jim Farkas, Allisen McCully and Joy McCully.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
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