Savahia Peak, Pyramid Butte, Whale Mountain, Eagle Peak, Flat Top Mountain
By: Andy Smatko
On a cool, windy Saturday, eleven climbers in 4 cars met at Vidal Junction. Our first objective stood darkly and precipitously a few miles away. A steep couloir on the face gained us the S ridge and thence a good 2nd class scramble brought all 10 to the summit. Ellen Ossofsky felt that a leg in a cast was a sufficient deterrent to climbing. Savahia Peak is a volcanic mass composed of steep ridges and vertical cliffs and is most impressive. Next was a short climb of Pyramid Butte to the NW, Class 1 from any side. Registers were placed on both these summits.
The ascent of Wale Mtn, a bastion in the northern part of the Chemehuevi Range, followed up a picturesque winding gorge, whose floor was composed of smooth granitic swells, sand, and catsclaw. From the head of the canyon a steep ascent on loose slopes brought us on to the ridge dust W of the summit with 100 feet of Class 3 scrambling. The view from this peak of many known desert ranges from the Marias, Providence Mtns and Spirit to ranges far into Arizona was most rewarding. A register was left.
We all enjoyed dinner in Needles and then drove down a dirt road SW towards Eagle Pk to a pleasant sandy campsite. Nothing can match the desert night sky for star viewing. Brilliant Venus and Jupiter dominated the heavens, but other orbs as Sirius and Capella wouldn't let themselves be neglected.
Sunday morning only 7 climbed Eagle Pk, a very imposing massive mountain whose E and SE faces were sheer 400 feet plus cliffs, worthy of challenging the best rock climbers. We found a fortuitous route through a narrow band of cliff via the E face over good class 3 rock. Above the cliffs it was a class 1 walk over vo1canic rocks and detritus to the most spectacular summit of the weekend. Weather was perfect and the blacks, reds, grays, yellows, mauves, and browns Of the desert floor and nearby ranges pleased the eye. Our objective for the afternoon, Flat Top Mtn, stood guard to the NW over colorful desert washes and ridges. Only Bill Schuler and I climbed Flat Top that afternoon from the W over large lavitic boulders. Near the top the going was steep and loose. A most unusual find was that of a dry lake on the NW shoulder -- about 150 x 50 yards in size.
There was a register in the summit cairn.
The region around Needles has many fine desert peaks within a 25 mile radius and is worthy of future visits by the DPS.
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