Whipple Mountains, Mopah Point


By: Ed Stork


Eleven people met at Vidal Junction Saturday, and in spite of the heavy rain, threatening sky, we left at 8:15 a.m. to climb Whipple Mtn. The route to the roadhead was fair for Detroit-built cars.

The climb of Whipple was made in three hours; the descent took two. We went NE from the cars up the huge wash and into the main canyon, where a dry waterfall caused a slight delay. That obstacle can be avoided by going to the right up a side canyon that is just below the waterfall, then dropping back into the canyon above it. We continued ENE up canyon to the main ridge when the sky, that had been threatening, opened up. There was no protection from the rain and the fierce wind as we hurried over the long, open ridge around and over false summits to the top. The view through the rain and haze was poor, so we started the 2600 ft. drop - 5 mile long return to the cars shortly after signing the register.

After a stop at Vidal Junction, we caravanned 12.2 miles N on U.S. 95 to the start of the road to Mopah Pk. From U.S. 95 the road heads W and then NW for a total of 4.5 miles to a junction, then 0.8 miles to our camp. The weather changed in our favor after we arrived at the campsite. The clouds disappeared, and we enjoyed a huge fire until 10 p.m. under a clear, star-filled sky.

Early Sunday morning a pick-up and one VW were used to transport eleven people the 1.7 miles W up the poor road to begin the climb of Mopah. The first impression upon viewing that magnificent peak, rising up dramatically from the desert, is that it is unclimbable. The E face was approached from a point 0.8 miles S of where the VW and the pick-up were parked. We then went up the steep wash to a high bowl at the base of the wall, then to the right up a steep incline with fine holds to a flat area below a steep, V-shaped chute that can be followed to a narrow slot in the E arete. This slot has been referred to as the "keyhole" in other writeups. In order to avoid the loose rock in the chute, we circled to the right on ledges, and then dropped down to a flat spot behind and below the slot. A short and steep incline with good holds was climbed from that point to reach the broad ledge above, which was followed up and to the left to the summit. It took only 1 hour and 35 minutes to reach the top. A quick return to the cars afforded an opportunity for an early start for those returning directly to the Los Angeles area, and ample time for Art De Goede, Sam Fink, Fran Smith and myself to climb Turtle Mtn. which we did.

It was a very interesting and varied trip. The climb of Whipple Mtn was long and arduous under very poor weather conditions; and the climb of Mopah Pk was short and exhilarating with perfect weather. It was also an interesting and varied group that included long-time desert peakers, and Joe Kazlowski and his daughter, Debbie, who are newcomers to the DPS. They proved to be strong climbers, as did everyone who participated in the trip.

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