Chuckwalla Mountains, Eagle Mountains #1
By: Steve Smith
Bill Banks and I were joined Saturday morning by 9 DPSe'rs interested in climbing Chuckawalla. Following Bill's lead, we by-passed the traditional east ridge route and drove to a point southwest of the peak. By driving another 1-1/2 mile across "desert pavement" the group was able to climb a direct western ridge to the summit. The climb took under two hours, including a pleasant interruption when 4 large Bighorn sheep ran past the group. Virgil Sisson earned his DPS emblem this day to accompany his SPS emblem.
Since the climb had proceeded smoothly, several people were interested in an afternoon climb. Bill immediately left to climb Pinto Peak while I and 6 others headed for Orocopia Peak. Limited daylight, necessitated a fast climb. My father, Fran Smith, Dick and Carol Akawie, Ed Stork, and I were able to reach the summit within about 50 minutes. Much thanks goes to John Vitz and Jerry Haven for their pioneering work and route information in the February 1968 DPS Newsletter. Their description was excellent and we encountered little difficulty in utilizing their fast, Class I route on the north side of Orocopia.
The group then gathered at the Cottonwood Springs campground in preparation for Eagle Mtn. Bill Banks rejoined the group later that night after successfully climbing Pinto, but was delayed after encountering difficulty in finding his car after dark (sound familiar?). Sunday was another excellent desert mountain climbing day with clear skies and a temperature in the 40's.
Bill lead the group over a fairly decent but sandy road to a point directly north of Eagle's summit. A bouldery ridge was then followed to the summit in about 2-1/2 hours. Both Dick and Carol Akawie earned their DPS emblem this day to accompany their HPS emblems and bars. Other veteran DPSers along both days were Bill Clifton, Ed Stork, Virgil Sisson, Fran Smith, and Alex May. Two new and enthusiastic climbers were Gene Pentecost and Vito Pizzurro. Luckily the atmosphere was clearer than usual with little dust or haze. Viewing was excellent and the heavily snow-capped San Jacinto and San Gorgonio Mountains, separated by heavy smog, were spectacular from our Joshua covered terrain.
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