Black Butte, Chuckwalla Mountains


By: Dick Akawie


Ever since I first climbed Black Butte from the east and saw a road coming in from the south, I had wanted to attempt a climb from that direction. So, our group of 16 met at the Red Cloud Road exit from Interstate 10, 9 miles east of Chiriaco Summit. We left 2 American cars near here, and drove 2.1 mi S to the road along the railroad track, 0.1 mi along the track, and then 1.8 mi further on Red Cloud Road to a junction with the Gas Line Road, which is paralleled by a power pole line. We went 8 mi S on the gas line rd until we came to the intersection with the Bradshaw Road, shown on the Chuckwalla Mtns topo map. This intersection was marked by the remains of a gate post at the SE corner. We then turned left and proceeded 7.3 mi on a well-graded road to the jeep road shown on the topo map in section 1 at the bottom center. This jeep road was not too obvious; it is east of the ruins of a building, there is a post on the north side of Bradshaw Rd just past it, and another road takes off to the south just a little further on. We could have brought the American cars this far without any difficulty. We then drove 3.1 mi N on the jeep road (suitable for VW's, etc.) until it entered a wash 1/4 mi S of Gulliday Well (which we never saw). A four-wheel drive could go another mile or so north into the canyon. We walked along the road, then climbed the ridge on the right of the gully which starts below the peak. This ridge led to the main north-south ridge, which took us up to the top. After lunch we came down the ridge to the head of the gully, down the gully to the floor of the canyon, and back to the cars. We then drove back to the American cars, then to Interstate 10, east to the first Chuckwalla Rd. exit, east on Chuckwalla Rd to Graham Pass Rd., and south about 16 mi almost to the junction with Old Bradshaw Rd. We stopped at a flat area where a side road, marked by a tall rock-filled can painted "Hyduke Campo", takes off to the west and camped there. The winds, which had been blowing hard most of Saturday, really got strong during the night. Sunday morning we drove about a mile along this side road, then climbed the south ridge to Chuckwalla Pk in just over 1-1/2 hours. We were back to the cars before lunch and then left for home.

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