Whipple Mountains, Turtle Mountains


By: Maris Valkass


Some 30 climbers met at the intersection of Hwy 62 and Rio Mesa Dr coming from Big River. The weather could not be better. Super-salesman Bernard met us as we were arriving and forced us to buy the new edition DPS T-shirt. As they all turned out to be bright yellow, Bobcat Thompson promptly dubbed us the DPS Yellowbellies.

We caravaned North by eventually driving up the road just East of Riverview Mine, as shown on the San Bernardino County map. The map is pretty accurate, but the road deteriorates rapidly to a wash which then gave me doubts as to where we actually were. Eventually we piled into the high clearance vehicles and pushed on. Since I did not know if we were on the road, and it was getting to be 11 am, we parked the cars and started for the peak.

We followed the wash we were in, and within 1/2 mi we came upon the mine shown on the map. Now we knew that we had the peak in the bag. We followed the canyon behind the mine for about 1.5 mi, than ascended the ridge on the right at the second major fork on the left of the canyon, following it to the summit. Everyone who started made it. (3 stayed at the cars).

We descended directly South into the canyon where we encountered a nice 30 foot cliff and somewhat later a 100 foot waterfall. They both can be circumvented easily. We returned to the cars just before dark.

With us were three new generation DPS'ers: Glen Bernard, Al Harmon, and Tanya Mamedalin. They were good climbers and good company.

Alice Rushdy and Ian Vorley were on their first DPS trip. They did damage to their car and on Sunday decided to have it towed home. I hope that this does not discourage them from future trips since they both seemed to fit in well with everyone. Incidents like these and occasionally a broken bone is the price we sometimes have to pay in order to get the enjoyment out of climbing and being outdoors. They both were also good climbers.

Because of the bad "road" and logistics, four people camped 3 miles away. The rest of us enjoyed our Italian potluck together.

Since the theme was Italian, Terry Rivera treated us with her famous Italian Natchos, and Don Weiss had his guacamole. As always, there was a lot of good food, even Farkas made some green gourmet spaghetti.

Sherry Harsh tried hard to get people to sing, but fortunately even Suzanne Thomas was not quite with it. Well, maybe next time.

I almost forgot, my favorite, for desert we had the Famous Four C's (Carter's Chocolate Chip Cookies) by Susan Carter.

At 7 am, Sunday morning we left for Turtle. Bob Michaelson, Judy Ware, and Don Weiss having climbed it, left for other areas.

Traveling on Hwy 62, you turn North on a dirt road which is .5 mi East of the RR crossing. Cross the aqueduct and follow the road along the levee for 1.6 mi until you come to an intersection. Turn right going through the levee and continuing straight. After some distance (1 mi) the road will start meandering. Drive 5.0 mi from the levee and you will be at a faint intersection marked by a small cairn on the right. Turn right, turning almost in the opposite direction, follow the road for about 1/4 mi until it crosses a wash. From here the road will turn in the right direction. (If you miss the intersection with the cairn, you will come to an old car on your left...Go back about a mile, and you should be by the cairn.) Drive approx 5.0 mi to the end of the road. Half a mile before the end, there will be a road leading to Castle Rock, don't turn, continue straight.

From the parking area enter the wash and go upstream until you cross the divide. From here select any route you like and go for it.

On the summit we found Dale Van Dalsem, Debbie Paxton, Steve Smith, and another BLM Ranger Named John, waiting for us. The whole group made the summit.

On our way back, some of us stopped at a *** star restaurant "Wheel Inn" of the dinosaur fame in Cabazon. Although Bob Watson did not like it (and I certainly respect his opinion), I still think that the service and food are good.

The participants were:

Anna Leong
Lew Amack
Bob Watson
Jim Farkas
Bob Thompson
Bob Michael
Ian Vorley
Alice Rushdy
Dick Agnos
Barbara Raab
Harold McFadden
Terry Moore
Susan Carter
Paul Nelson
Dah Nelson
Glen Bernard
Don Weiss
Judy Ware
Mary Sue Miller
Diane Rosentreter
Tanya Mamedalin
Dorothy Callison
Owen Maloy
Terry Rivera
Randy Bernard
Al Harmon
Suzanne Thomas
Igor Mamedalin
Steve Wagner
Howard Frantz
Bob Emerick

My thanks to Sherry Harsh for assisting and the many drivers of high clearance cars for giving rides to others.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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