By: John Vitz
To quote the schedule write-up, "There are many beautiful ranges in western Arizona..." The Hualapais are not one of them. When you lead exploratories there is always the chance that you will lay an egg. Quack, quack.
According to the theorem postulated in the last NEWSLETTER concerning Vitz/Haven trips, nobody shows up for the good ones. So we had thirteen people drive all the way to Yucca, Arizona, for the ridiculously early starting time. No fifteen minute quads are available for the area (even the USGS refuses to hike in the area) so the caravan managed to get lost once before finding a suitable roadhead from which to climb the highest peak in the southern part of the range.
We quit climbing hundred peaks three years ago because we tired of hiking fire roads and crashing through brush only to arrive at a flat summit with no view except for that of the surrounding higher peaks. So, on a beautiful day, we hiked five miles up a road, crashed through two miles of brush along a ridge, and ascended to a plateau with a view of the higher peaks to the north. We spent a cool night at Hualapai Mountain Park, a nice campground beneath the impressive cliffs of the north peak, which we ascended the next morning.
We managed to avoid both the trail and roads which lead to the summit area by climbing a steep, brushy, somewhat loose chute to the summit block. There are two or three higher peaks in the area, beautifully covered with microwave stations, TV towers, and other assorted garbage. There. was no register, but as the peak was so fine we declined to leave one. We descended by a different route, pushing dead aspens over on our heads and slashing our bodies with wild roses. In all fair-ness (one of my lesser traits), the north end of this range, containing many rocky summits and thick stands of aspen and pine, would be very pretty if it were not so cut up by all the roads and buildings.
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