Muddy Mountain


By: Dean Acheson


Those who have climbed Muddy have recommended it as an outstanding peak and have deemed it worthy of official DPS Peaks List status. It has been the subject of discussion as a possible DPS Peaks List addition for a couple years ever since Bob Michaels wrote it up as a worthy climb in the Sage and Ted Brasket further detailed the climb in a later write-up.

In order to put a prospective peak up to a membership vote, an official trip must be led and it must be approved by the Mountaineering Committee. (A petition signed by at least 25 members can be an alternate method of obtaining membership vote.)

Aside from the earlier trips by Bob Michaels and Ted Brasket, Ron and Ellen Grau and Pat and I climbed the peak with Ted two years ago and Greg and Mirna Roach led a trip in February, 2002.

Greg Roach and I decided we needed an official trip this year to let more members experience the peak firsthand. Meeting time was set for 6:30 at the rock quarry. The driving instructions I sent out were accurate EXCEPT for the last “3 miles” to the rock quarry that turned out to be 4½ miles. So I swept the last couple miles to pick up a few more hikers before starting the 4-wheel section leading to our trailhead.

Weather was perfect, sunny and cool. 17 brave hearts set out from the vehicles about 8:00 in the morning. Pat Acheson remained with Gozer who has now achieved senior status (17 years) after having climbed some 70 DPS listed peaks and does several short desert walks on trips these days An hour and a half later we had hiked over the short hill leading to the desert floor and had arrived at the foot of the wash leading up to the first saddle. To the left were outstanding fiery striped rock formations that served as sufficient reward for the hike in and of themselves. Use trails made navigation to the saddle easy and after a short break we spent about 30 minutes on the grunt climb to the upper ridge through loose scree. Once on the ridge, a combination of use trail and class 2+ ridge hopping brought us to the crux move, a third class chute leading to the summit. This was my third time up this chute, and it was as enjoyable as I had remembered it.

After a 45 minute lunch with plenty of opportunity to enjoy the outstanding views of familiar peak ranges and the colorful Valley of Fire, we began the descent back to the saddle where the group split into two groups. Some wanted to take a “photo tour” back through the striped rock formations, leaving after a rather short break at the saddle, while others preferred to take a more leisurely direct route back across the desert. Somehow both groups met up at the road leading over the hill.

Back at the rock quarry, we reset camp and set about the serious business of preparing the potluck. Per the usual psychic and puzzling result, the smorgasbord of unplanned and uncoordinated food mixture ended up with a perfect balance of salads, entrées and deserts. The focus was primarily South-of-the-Border with Mirna’s green soup (what was it? It was green and delicious!), Charlie’s tacos, Sue and Christine’s casedeas, Pat’s tortilla soup, Linda’s salad, and other things that seemed to magically disappear in short order. Even Pat’s rum cake mysteriously vanished before she could taste it. Next morning some went home, some went on to other peaks and some went with Greg and Mirna to visit the Anniversary Narrows, a striking slot canyon located South of Muddy Mtn. off the North Shore Rd.

Participants (all made the peak) were Sue Holloway, Cliff Jones, Lori Beck, Eric Beck, Judy Hummerik, Richard Whitcomb, Linda McDermott, Devra Wasserman, Charlie Knapke, Neal Scott, Greg Roach, Mirna Roach, Ron Bartell, Christine Mitchell, Rena Tishman, Rich Gnagy and Dean Acheson.

I hope this peak makes “the list”, mainly because I think most people completing the list will find the climb to be enjoyable with just the right amount of challenge.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section