Squaw Tit, Squaw Tits, Tit, Two Teats, Mokelumne Tetons, Nellies Nipple, The Nipple


By: Wes Shelberg


1. Prologue. I was driven inextricably to This Project, as stagecoach horses driven relentlessly across the boundless West under the merciless incessant cracking of the whip, as a moth driven to the flame. The Project scrutinized 3,021 topographic maps and quadrangles covering parts of Arizona, California, Nevada and Utah in order to locate elevations of the genre. A map list is available upon request.

2. Squaw Tit (4330-ft). Climbed 13 Oct 86. The following maps locate and name this mountain: 0. Turret Peak Quad (AZ, 30-Min, 1933 Edition reprinted in 1947) which names Squaw Tit as such with a 4371-ft elevation.

0. Verde Hot Springs Quad (AZ, 7.5-Min, 1967) which renames Squaw Tit as Squaw Butte, possibly to avoid confusion with Squaw Tit (4021-ft) which is a VABM nearby and also in Arizona (see Item 5 below). This Quad gives 4330-ft. 0. US Forest Service Map, Tonto National Forest (North Half), Revised 1975, which identifies Squaw Tit as Squaw Butte.

This cone rises steeply and directly 2000-ft from the west bank of the Verde River just south of the confluence of the Verde and East Verde Rivers. The rocky suit views a large area of the Tonto National Forest including the confluence, huge river valleys/canyons, backbone ridges, bench/mesa lands, and a large section of the Mazatzal Wilderness Area to the east across the Verde River. Major lightning-thunder storms during my visit changed the Verde River from narrow green to wide brown. From the summit on the sunny climbing day immediately after the storms, the river was audible from small rapids and the snow-capped summits of the San Francisco Peaks tipped the northern horizon.

The AAA Arizona Map is unsuitable for driving directions to the parking/camping area for Squaw Tit (4330-ft). Refer to the US Forest Service Map: Proceed east from Carefree, AZ on the Cave Creek Road to the Tonto National Forest boundary where the road forks. Take the north fork (which becomes Forest Service Road 24) past Seven Springs to the road intersection at Bloody which is about 33 miles from Carefree. From Bloody, take Forest Service Road 16 which is substantial but requires 4WD due to steepness, clearance and deep mud along stretches should it rain significantly. However, detour around the ranch at Zig-Zag Spring by going past Javelina Tank (follow road signs to Verde River). At and beyond Bloody it is helpful to supplement the Forest Service Map with these quadrangles (all AZ, 7.5-Min, 1967): Bloody Basin, Tule Mesa and Verde Hot Springs. Drive Forest Service Road 16 to a location approximately 16 miles from Bloody. The exact target is Map Location 334909 on the Verde Hot Springs Quad, i.e., at the east edge of Long Mesa where there is a cattle gate (not shown on the map). For further orientation, note that just beyond Map Location 334909 the road makes a sharp hairpin bend and then a long northerly descent of the east side of Long Mesa. Park for Squaw Tit but do not drive past the cattle gate.

To climb, proceed from the cattle gate across the saddle at Map Location 336904 (Verde Hot Springs Quad), follow the rocky scruffy ridge system to the saddle joining Squaw Tit at Map Location 357921, and climb the southwest face to the summit. The wide drainage in the center of the southwest face goes right to the top. Its lower vertical cliff can be circumnavigated by keeping the cliff to your left and then crossing over its top to the center of the southwest face. The round trip is Class 2, 5.5 miles and 3000-ft elevation gain, yet it seemed strenuous because of brush and warmth. Recommend plenty of water in warm weather.

3. Squaw Tit (3880-ft). Climbed 7 Nov 82 with Jack Grams, Nov 84 with Kim Walsh, and often since. The following topos locate and name Squaw Tit (3880-ft) as such:

* Jacumba Quad (CA, 7.5-Min, Revised 1975).

* Jacumba Quad (CA, 15-Min, 1959).

Squaw Tit (3880-ft) is a narrow, low (80-ft), short-length, easily-climbed ridge of reddish-brown volcanic blocks on the plateau of Table Mountain in San Diego County. Up close, the shape suggests the platelets on the back of a stegosaurus. From other vantage points it is sensuous. The fact that the plateau's adjacent high point overshadows Squaw Tit does not detract. Depending upon the viewpoint on the broad Table Mountain plateau, one sees: VABM Jacumba, Santa Rosa Mtns (Toro Peak to Rosa), Granite Mtn, Red Top, Sombrero Peak, Split Mtn Gorge and badlands, Carrizo Mtn, Mt Signal (Cerro Centinela), Blue Angels Peak, Mt Tule, McCain Valley plateau, the BLM's superb In-ko-pah granite area south of Interstate 8, Mexico south of Jacumba, CA, and the Salton Sea. Colorful orange, green and gray lichen as well as VABM-Jacumba-type desert vegetation abound.

The AAA San Diego County Map shows how to access the Table Mountain area after leaving Interstate 8 at the Jacumba, CA off-ramp. Quadrangles Jacumba and In-ko-pah Gorge (both CA, 7.5-min, Revised 1975) together detail this access. After driving under Interstate 8 as the maps direct, continue north for about 0.5 mile, to the start of the road which the topos show as leading up Table Mountain to Squaw Tit. Park and hike this old jeep trail which the BLM has closed to vehicles in order to preserve Table Mountain.

4. Squaw Tit (3939-ft). Climbed 28 Nov 82 with Jack Grams. Squaw Tit (3939-ft) is named as such on the:

* Halloran Spring Quad (CA, 15-Min, 1956).

* AAA San Bernardino County Map (9-85).

This steep little cone of dark volcanic rocks rises to a point about 150-ft above its narrow base which sits on a wide area of light-colored granite sand. The distinctive shape makes it readily noticed to motorists in the vicinity of Baker, CA driving on the Kelbaker Road or proceeding east on Interstate 15. My guess is that many DPSers have detoured to visit the formation when transiting the area. As shown on the AAA map, it is easily reached by exiting Interstate 15 at the Halloran Springs off-ramp, taking the southeast trending road for about 2.5 miles, and climbing the nib located about one mile to the northeast of this spot.

Many features of DPS interest are seen from Squaw Tit's summit or base: Turquoise Mountain, Squaw Mtn, Kingston Mtns, Avawatz Mtn, VABM Silver Lake, Clark Mtn, Cave Mountain, Old Dad Mtn, VABM Nub, Soda Mountains, the southern part of Silver Dry Lake, all Soda Dry Lake, and the northern part of Devils Playground. The black volcanic plateau nearby to the south/southeast is especially scenic, revealing a lava rim rock over high vertical cliffs and several fine conical buttes/formations such as VABM Nub, Sawtooth, printed Map Elevation 4757, printed Map Elevation 3656, and especially the butte at Map Location 089110 (Halloran Spring Quad). The AAA has audaciously renamed VABM Nub as "Club Peak" on its map.

5. Squaw Tit (4O2l-ft). This VABM is located and named on the Kaka Quad (AZ, 15-Min, 1958). It was not visited since it is located about 4 miles inside the east boundary of the Luke Air Force Bombing and Gunnery Range. But I intend to seek permission to climb it.

The Kaka Quadrangle shows that Squaw Tit (4021-ft) can be approached to within a few miles by a dirt road system, and closer by Jeep-trail extensions of the roads.

It is located about 12 miles south of an Interstate 8 location that is about 20 miles east of Gila Bend, AZ. This places Squaw Tit (4021-ft) only about 5 miles east and 12 miles south of the Squaw Tits (2478-ft) which are outside the military reservation and were climbed (see Item 6 below).

6. Squaw Tits (2478-ft). Climbed l2 Oct 86. These two adjacent and appropriately-named nipples are located and named as such on the Estrella Quad (AZ, 15-Min, 1951).

Take Interstate 8 east from Gila Bend, AZ for close to 17 miles where a gated unimproved road passable to passenger cars goes south. Take the road about 3 miles, park and access the nubs which sit on top of a steep conical rise about one mile to the northwest. Relative to each other (or the center of their cleavage) there is a southeast and a northwest teat which rise vertically about 150-ft above their conical base and about 750-ft above the parking elevation.

Climb the southeast teat, i.e., the one closest to the dirt road, via a third class route approximately in the middle of the northeast face. There was no apparent way (at least for me) up the northwest teat. The vertical nibs are dark, firm! crumbly volcanic rock. The surrounding desert, mountains and flora (saguaros, creosote bush, and all manner of cactus) are quality. A nice experience.

7. Tit (5352-ft). Climbed 29 May 1985. This little mountain is shown on:

* Horse Canyon Quad (CA, 7.5-Min, 1972) which names the peak.

* Onyx Quad (CA, 15-Min, 1943) which does not name the peak.

Tit is easily reached via good dirt roads. Take Calif Hwy 14 south from Freeman Junction to Armistead (4 miles). Freeman Junction is the intersection of Calif-Hwys 14 and 178 (Walker Pass road). At Armistead, take the dirt road west, then follow dirt roads shown on the Freeman Junction and Horse Canyon Quads (both CA, 7.5-Min. 1972) to the scissors crossing shown at Map Location 069362 on the Horse Canyon Quad (right on the 3800-ft contour), and park. The BLM has restricted travel to a few access roads in the area to rehabilitate it from former ORV use.

Tit was climbed directly and easily from the scissors crossing, through a small area of attractive granite on the mountainside. Elevation gain is 1552-ft. The summit featured medium-size granite blocks with noticeable black crystals, Mormon tea and sparse Joshua trees. Summit views include the Scodie Mountains, Morris Peak, Owens Peak, drop-off to the Red Rock Canyon area, Black Mountain, Red Mountain, and Fremont Peak.

8. Two Teats (11387-ft). Climbed 26 July 85. These sensuous protuberances are located and named on the Devils Postpile Quad (CA, 15-Min. 1953). They need no details since they are well-known and frequently-visited by Sierra Clubbers and others. Surely, everyone appreciates the fine views, especially of the Minarets region.

9. Mokelumne Tetons (8440-ft Location). Visited 1 Sep 86. These quadrangles detail the formation:

* Mokelumne Peak Quad (CA, 7.5-Min, 1979) which names the Mokelunne Tetons.

* Silver Lake Quad (CA, 15-Min, 1956) which does not name them and which does a poor job of showing forest cover.

The Mokelumne Tetons are a "flying buttress" formation jutting from the west wall of the Mokelumne River Canyon and plunging 3800-ft to the river. I hiked to the topmost junction (viewpoint) of the buttress with the canyon wall, which viewpoint is at 8440-ft elevation and Map Location 529681 (measured on south and east neatlines) or 529678 (measured on south and west neatlines) on the Mokelumne Peak quadrangle.

I could not muster courage to climb out on the topmost "peaklet", an accessible but much too-airy, vertical wafer perhaps 40-ft higher than my viewpoint. There were awesome chutes plunging from the viewpoint to the river (at each side of the narrow Tetons buttress and nearby); buttress peaklets and spires; and views of the huge Mokelumne River Canyon. Bald Mokelumne Peak itself is only one mile from the viewpoint, 934-ft higher and easily reached.

The viewpoint was day-hiked starting out on the Tanglefoot trail which goes eastward into the western part of the Mokelumne Wilderness Area. The trailhead is at Map Location 467673 (measured on south and east neatlines) on the Bear River Reservoir Quad (CA. 7.5-Min, 1979). The Tanglefoot Trail and trailhead access are described in High Sierra Guide #17 (Silver Lake) by J. and S. Grodin, 3rd Ed.. 1983, Wilderness Press, Berkeley. Also, the trailhead access is shown on the US Forest Service Recreation Visitor Map, Eldorado National Forest, 1982. The trail (sometimes indistinct, duff or ducked) was followed to the northwest spur of Mokelumne Peak at Map Location 514703 (measured on south and west neatlines) on the Mokelumne Peak Quad. The northwest spur was then climbed to the saddle at lisp Location 520693 (measured on south and west neatlines), and the 8440-ft contour was then followed with altimeter to the desired viewpoint at Map Location 529678 (measured on south and west neatlines). The round trip distance and elevation gain were 17 miles and 3300-ft.

10. Nellies Nipple and The Nipple. The intention is to offer descriptions of these climbs as an atonement for chickening-out at the Mokelumne Tetons wafer.

10.1. Nellies Nipple (4648-ft). Climbed 14 Apr 85. This is named as such on the following maps:

* Loraine Quad (CA, 7.5-Min, 1972).

* Emerald Mountain Quad (CA, 15-Min, 1943).

* Geological Survey Topo Map, Western United States 1:250,000, NI 11-1, BAKERSFIELD, CA, 1971 Revision.

* AAA Kern County Map (1982).

Surprise! I met some of the nicest ranch owners yet. They let me park and cross their land to climb Nellies Nipple; warned me not to take an obvious access road because the "crazy woman" whose land it crossed would run me off; and chased after me after I had gone for 5 minutes just to remind me to take plenty of water "because it will be hot and dry back there".

Drive east of Bakersfield to Loraine, CA as shown on the AAA Kern County Map. Then take the southeast (right) fork for 1.2 miles to the ranch at Map Location 708061 on the Loraine 7.5-Min Quad and park. With permission, hike under the pole-line wires to their road crossing at Map Location 711046; then follow the obvious map roads on the east side of the pole-line wires to a broad slope (spur) of Nellies Nipple at Map Location 731019 (the spot is about 0.4 mile short of the saddle to which the road is ascending); and climb to the summit. The 40-ft high Nellies Nipple nubble at the summit can be climbed at a benign Class 3 route on the east side. The round trip distance and elevation gain are about 7 miles and 1850-ft.

The green forested countryside was covered with spring flowers. Fine views were had of Peak 5565-ft to the east (Emerald Mtn Quad, CA, 7.5-Min, 1972) and Stevenson Peak to the north.

10.2. The Nipple (9342-ft). Climbed 17 Aug 85. This nub is located and named on the:

* Carson Pass Quad (CA, 7.5-Min, 1979).

* Markleeville Quad (CA, 15-Min, 1956).

* US Forest Service Recreation Visitor Map, Eldorado National Forest, 1982. The Nipple nib and the volcanic ridge upon which it sits are easily climbed from Dansite Campground at Upper Blue Lake (see the Carson Pass 7.5-Min Quad). The campground is easily reached on the Blue Lakes Road which starts south from Calif- Hwy 88 at a point between Sorensens, CA and Carson Pass (see the AAA Lake Tahoe Region Map, C9-75). The name choice is apparent to those descending the east side of Carson Pass on Calif-Hwy 88 while viewing the outline of The Nipple nubble on its supporting ridge. The difficulty is only Class 2, about 3/4 mile and 1142-ft gain.

What a pleasant surprise to find a Sierra Club register (Mother Lode Chapter) on The Nipple nubbin with nice comments on the views. Views of the glaciated country included the rugged Raymond/Reynolds Pk area, Jeff Davis Peak, Round Top, Fred Pk, Jobs Sister, Markleeville Peak, Lost Lakes, and a beautiful cliffy area joining The Nipple knob's west side.

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