Needles Area Exploratory


By: Jon Petitjean


Whether it was a result of the Christmas rush or plain, ordinary unlisted peaks, our group only consisted of a total of six persons (Petitjeans, John Radalt, Wes Shelberg and Jack Grams). By chance, on the drive up Friday night, I disovered Wes and Jack passing our car on the freeway near the Essex exit. Thus, we were able to caravan together for Friday night and saturday morning. After consuming a healthy breakfast in Needles, we drove Interstae 40 to the Topock exit. From here we traveled on the eroding paved road to the interesting mining town of Oatman, where burro are allowed to roam the streets and sidewalks. By the way, we did not eat at the Burro Food snack bars. Luckily we did not have enough time to stop and try the burro gourmet food. Anyway, we proceeded on our way to Battleship Mtn. We drove about one mile past Oatman to where a dirt road descended to the left. We took this for about 1-1/4 miles to where we parked our car in Si1ver Creek Wash. Wes took us in on the jeep road to where Cottonwood spring is shown on the topo (improperly located on the map). We followed the southeast gully up Battleship. This gully offered some interesting class three, although no rope was needed. Uron reaching the saddle east of the peak, we contoured up the north side of the peak only to find a drop-off. Oh, well, we went back to the saddle and this time up the east side of the peak, through a ledge system which took us directly to the summit. We had a fine view of Battleship a south knife edge ridge and of Boundary Cone, despite threatening clouds and the strong wind. Upon making our uneventful descent, we drove back through "Burroville" and to the base of Boundary Cone. Boundary Cone is located about four miles south of Oatman, Ariz. We parked just off the highway and began climbing up the west slopes of Boundary Cone. The climb was very steep. On the topo it appears as 1,500 feet of gain in a half a miles. About the only possible class 2-3 route goes as follows:

Climb the west slopes of Boundary Cone until you reach a headwall. Follow the base of the headwall left (north) to the shallow notch on the west ridge. Follow this ridge to the next short headwall. An easy class three route lies in the obvious left chute. At top of chute, follow the slope around the left (north) side of the false summit. Summit lies about 100 feet beyond. Our descent was made rather rapidly since dusk was approaching. We drove a few miles to a power line road where we made camp and enjoyed a large campfire. After breakfast sunday morning, we drove back to Interstate 40 and east on it for about one mile to the "Needles Mountain Road." After about 1-1/2 miles, we stopped our car and Wes again volunteered his services. Another 1-1/2 miles brought us to the Havasu Wildlife Refuge boundary. We parked here and hiked to Jackpot Mine, Jackpot spring and up the incredibly scenic road to Go1d Dome Mine. The view from the mine gave us a superb view of the other "needles" and the Colorado River. We then descended a small canyon back to Jackpot. Spring and hiked back to the car and finally had lunch. After lunch, we all drove down to London Bridge to top off a really enjoyable and interesting trip.

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