Chuckwalla Mountains, Black Butte


By: Maris Valkass


Eight persons met at the designated location at 7:30 am Saturday to caravan to the Chuckwalla roadhead. The instructions provided by Ron Jones in Sage 165, Aug & Oct 1982, to the roadhead were accurate, but we could not find the jeep road for the last mile. This did not make any difference since the hike is quite short.

We left the cars at 8:45 and returned to them by 1 pm after getting the peak. On the way we were entertained and annoyed by the US Navy by their continuous flights over the gunnery range. The weather and the view were good although it was a bit hazy.

Since it was a little early to set up camp, we decided to climb Orocopia. The only information about the peak we had was the freeway exit and the general direction. After getting off on the Mecca exit we turned left on the road going parallel to the freeway. Then we took the first dirt road on our right and drove up about 3 miles. From there we took a ridge that led to the place which looked like the high point. This turned out to be peak #3xxx' where Gordon McLeod with his friends had placed a register. Orocopia was about 2 mi east. On the way up we discovered someone's retreat, built in a gully. It consisted of one cave room and a patio covered with palm fronds. Looked quite comfortable.

We selected our campsite at the intersection of Bradshaw Rd. and Pipeline Rd. We were expecting Jay Holshuh with Susan Hanna and Igor Mamedalin with Susan Thomas to meet us Saturday night, and this was a fairly open area that could be seen. Jay and Sue did show up but Igor and Susan did not. It turns out that Jay passed Igor on the dirt road and neither one of them realizing who the other was. Bad luck for Igor and Susan, they turned off on the wrong road and also got the wrong peak.

Next morning we drove the remaining 10 mi to Gulliday's Well. The first 7 mi were excellent, the last 3 were from fair to good, about 3rd class. Thanks to Ron Hudson, my co-leader, we went directly for the peak instead of doing some exploration of the range. The climb was routine and uneventful, but the scenery as always, was satisfying. The participants were: Jim Farkas (I think he got in trouble with women's lib), Mary Gygax, Mario Gonzalez, Gerald Hasson, Ron Hudson, Susan Hanna, Jay Holshuh, Diane Rosentreter, Jim Throgmorton, and Maris Valkass.

Just a few comments.

If one stays in a fairly good physical condition, almost nothing can stop you. Jim Throgmorton and Susan Hanna are excellent examples: Jim has undergone 3 major surgeries in the last 3 yrs, including heart bypass, and cancer. Susan had a major surgery 3 months ago. You would not know by watching them go, they are an inspiration to any of us who encounter some physical setbacks.

I am very happy that Diane and Mary finally got to see each other. They had so much to tell each other that they almost could not finish it all in one weekend.

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