Turtle Mountains

Nov 1971

By: Carl Smith


The peak climbing section of the Loma Prieta Chapter usually ventures into the desert over Thanksgiving weekend. Ably led by that old desert rat George Barnes, we visited the Turtle Mountains this year. We climbed the classic Mopah Peak on the first afternoon. The next day, George, his wife Joanne, their son Paul, and Jo Williamson climbed to the high point of the Turtles. On the basis of a couple of lines in an old DPS Newsletter, Mike Lee and I took a bash at Castle Rock. After one false start in a shallow gully to the east, we moved to the deep chimney on the north. It is an excellent climb with solid rock, easy fifth , and two pitches in length. We found Wally Henry's business card in a film can in a cairn at the top. This climb has every claim to become a classic desert rock climb.

While others scrounged around the northern Turtles for gems(?), Mike Lee and Paul Williamson climbed VABM Carsons, 3804 ft, from Coffin Springs. Roads, trails and dry washes in this area were clogged with every sort of off road vehicle known to man, so if you seek solitude, the gem collecting area of the northern Turtles is not the area to visit. However, the climbing, the flora, and the panoramic views balance the long drive.

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