Whipple Mountains, Turtle Mountains


By: Dale Van Dalsem


The Cranston/Levine Desert Protection Act, HR-780/S-1l, would make both these peaks longer hikes. We tried a new route on Whipple & it went well: "21 mi S of Needles on US 95, turn E on paved Havasu Lake Rd. At 9.7 mi, an excellent dirt power line road crosses; turn R. Don't take the wash 100 yds before the graded road. Drive SE At 6.8 mi (all mileage's are from pavement), turn right on a fair dirt road, driving SSW. At 10.1 bear left at V. At 11.1 take either fork, they rejoin. At 12.2 4WD's can bear left up the wash & drive all the way to 13.4 & park. At 12.2 2WD's bear right paralleling the wash & park at the War Eagle No 1 Mine at 12.6."

After well over an hour of dirt road driving, we stopped in the wash some .7 mi S of War Eagle No 1 Mine & hiked S up the wash that passes just E of 1806 on the Whipple Mts Sw 7.5 topo. We topped out at the 3000' saddle S of 3292 & worked left up into a gully & scrambled up to the E-W summit ridge, then E to summit. Coming down, we took the canyon just E of 3292. Both canyons work; the one we took up is probably slightly easier. Three hrs up, 3 down, with one slow person. "Hike S up wash that passes E of 1806 on topo, or walk SE into next drainage, W of 2005. Take either west, all the way to summit ridge, then pick a class 2 route up to summit ridge. 7.5 mi, 2600' from 4WD parking, 9 ml r.t., 2700' from 21W parking. 5-6 hrs r.t." The southern route is 8 mi, 2300' from 4WD parking at the leaching tanks, but will be 18 mi, 3000' if HR 780 passes. Saturday P.M. was windy, so we ate at Los Arcos Cafe in Parker: recommended. We then drove 8.1 mi SW of Vidal Jct. & turned off & went 2 mi on the dirt road approach to Turtle Mtn & camped at the road junction there.

We managed to lose John Radalj on the way by violating two simple rules: l)Instruct all drivers on going caravan style: you are responsible for the vehicle behind you. 2) If the leader changes his mind about where to camp, he should carefully inform all drivers. I violated both of the above & lost John. Sorry!

Driving mileage's aren't quite right for the drive into Turtle. Instructions should read: "83 mi E of Twentynine Palms, turn left on an unsigned good dirt road. This turnoff is .7 mi past a RR crossing & 8.1 mi before Vidal Junction. At .2 mi (All mileage's are from pavement), cross the aqueduct siphon & turn left, west. At 2.0 turn N at a junction of dirt roads. At 7.3 turn back SE at a duck & cross a wash. At 7.7 mi turn N at a small duck. At 12.6 stay left at a ducked V. At 13.1 park at end of road, 4WD's can go another .2 mi in the wash, but parking & turnaround space is limited" "Hike W, then NW, up the wash & through the gap at UTM 022923. The peak is the rounded bump WNW. Walk WNW toward the peak, passing through washes & the saddle just W of 910 meter closed contour. Get on the next ridge north & follow it W to where the summit mound comes into view & hike to the peak. 6 mi. r.t., 2100', 3.5-4 hrs." We hiked it in under 4 hrs r.t, with one slow person. The old Rice 15" topo shows the roadhead about .7 mi ESE of where it is. The 10-88 Peak Guide carries this error. The Horn Spring 7.5' topo shows it correctly. Also, 4 of the 11 people on Whipple (including one E-rated leader who is a very competent navigator!) were misled by the driving instructions for Whipple that appear in the peak guide! Thanks to Larry Tidball & Bob Wyka for sweeping. Others who hiked at least one peak were the Slagers, Elaine O'Connell, Fred Smith, & Jim Murphy, as 9 did Whipple & 6 did Turtle. Many cancelled & watched the 55-10 track meet in New Orleans.

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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