Mopah Point, Chemehuevi Peak


By: Igor Mamedalin


It is hard to get away from the crowd! Friday night, on the way to the meeting point at Vidal Junction. we pulled off at minor dirt road seeking isolation for the night in the vast expanses of the Mojave Desert. But, alas, we almost ran over one of Ron Jones' car-pooler. Marjorie, sleeping in the middle of the desert.

We had a pleasant breakfast at the only restaurant (open 7 AM AZ time) in Vidal Junction. Since everybody was champing at the bit, we departed for the road end a half-hour ahead of schedule. Twelve miles north on 95 we turned left on a dirt road leading toward Mopah. We parked our cars near the SE wash leading from Mopah and hiked on up to the obvious peak (the northern most!). In the steep gully leading up the middle of the east face stay to the left until one sees the key notch on the right near the summit. On the way up. Suzanne Thomas attempted to transform the Mopah climb into a class 5.10 rock exercise but chose to retreat upon advice. Everybody made it over the single third class move to have lunch on the top. All seventeen people signed in.

Since we were running a little late, the optional climb of the "other" Mopah was forsaken in favor of an early happy hour. For variety, we returned to the cars by the NE wash and set up a fine hor'd'ouver table complete with Don Weiss' internationally famous guacamole. We heard stories around the campfire from Dave and Becky Kiel who have hiked the entire length of the Colorado River. Under the able leadership of Steve Crooks. some hearty souls awoke at 1 AM to witness the unspectacular departure of Haley's comet with the aid of powerful binoculars.

Sunday morning we continued north on 95 toward Chemehuevi taking the power line road right. We parked the cars 3/4 mile after crossing the power lines for the second time and headed for the broad Chemehuevi. After going up one canyon too early and popping over a ridge to the main canyon, we proceeded to the head of the broad southerly canyon. Since Don Weiss and Judy Ware headed out early to do Orocopia and Adrienne Knute did not covet this peak for the second time, only thirteen happy and one sore climbers signed in and had lunch at the top. At a rest break on the way down, Ron Jones saved Donn Cook's face from imminent disfigurement by stopping a wayward rock. All returned safely to the cars by four-thirty and headed home early.

To top off a perfect weekend, we were saved by Dick Agnos after our vehicle ran out of gas twenty-three miles outside of Desert Center. Many thanks Dick! Many thanks Ron for the assistance and advice!

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