Mitchell Point, Providence Mountains
By: Bill Bradley
On a cool clear Saturday morning, seventeen climbers met for this long day's traverse from Mitchell Pk. to Providence Mtn.
The roadhead directions from the freeway (US 40) are as follows: Go north on Essex Rd. about 9.5 mi. There is a sign here for the right hand turn reading Hole-in-the-Wall C.G. This is Black Canyon Rd. Stay on Essex Rd. for another O.8mi. and there is a right hand turn with a sign reading Blair Bros. Ranch 6mi. Turn right here and go north and N.W. 5.0mi. to an old Dept. of Int. sign reading Bonanza King Mine. Bear left here and go about 1.3mi. where there is a right fork going to the B.K. Well. Bear left here and continue about 0.5mi. to the B.K. Mine. This last 0.5mi. is a little rough and not for low clearance vehicles. This was a large mining operation in the 1880's and there are remnents of several buildings in the area. Parking is adequate for 6-8 cars.
A good campsite with room for many vehicles can be reached by going north on Black Canyon Rd. approx. 3 mi. to the end of the pavement and turning right on the dirt road and then going only about 150ft.
Finding that the scheduled assistant was ill, CHUCK STEIN was asked to bring up the rear, to which he cheerfully agreed. From the mine we took an obvious canyon just to the northwest. At the first major fork we took the left branch up what appeared to be a rudimentary miner's trail. In the branch we found a cord of wood neatly stacked and very well weathered, probably left by some miners. We should have followed this gully all the way to the ridge, but we opted to go up a ridge on the right, which resulted in more ups and downs than if we had continued up the gully. This part of the traverse is definitely more difficult than the ridge walking between Mitchell and Providence. We experienced some easy class 3 climbing over rock ribs and it was along here that three of our climbers turned back. Along here also we were delighted with the sight of a young bighorn.
We were on Mitchell at one (about 4-l/2hrs. of climbing). From the summit we dropped down, via the ridge, to a low point just below some light colored limestone cliff s. We negotiated to the left of these (as we did with most of the obstacles since the right drops off sharply). On reaching the base of Providence we went up a gully just to the left of the ridge we had traversed which brought us to a saddle slightly to the east of and about 50ft. below the summit. All but two were on top by 4:00 which was about 7-1/2hrs. from the time we started.
Since two climbers were still below us in the gully, the leader asked BOB HICKS to lead the group down a gully coming out just to the north of Mitchell Caverns. This was done so that they would be down off the steeper part before dark. The leader waited for the last two climbers to do the peak and we started down the gully at about 5:00pm. We ran out of light by 6:00 and resorted to headlamps.
Unfortunately some steep drop-off s were encountered which necessitated climbing out of the gully. This is very difficult to do in the dark and so the decision was made to spend the night there with a fire and an unexpected delight: JACK KOSHEAR'S bourbon.
The next morning we were able to complete our descent in less than l-l/2hrs. and were greeted by our concerned but happy fellow-climbers. Incidentally, this trip is long and strenuous enough so that even though the weather was cool, some participants found that two quarts of water were not enough; three should be the minimum.
Sunday morning at 10 we went on a guided tour of Mitchell Caverns which was quite informative, and by noon most of our group were on their way back home.
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