Mopah Point, Whipple Mountains
By: Barbee Tidball
After receiving a deluge of SASE's for this trip and re-assessing the difficulty of climbing the exposed 3rd class section on Mopah this trip was changed to a private trip to allow us to use a rope. Perhaps we were being over cautious, but in the end all but three climbers used the rope, including Ruskie - Julie Rush's dog.
The climb Saturday on Mopah went smoothly after an interesting off route beginning. We turned out of the main wash towards an obvious notch about at least a half mile too soon. This route led us up to a saddle/notch, then we traversed on over to a rocky ridge East of Mopah. After a scramble down the ridge we hiked on over to Mopah, now directly in front of us, and continued up the route as described in the peak guide. The early turn out of the main wash gave us a nice round trip route to the peak.
Saturday night I set up a BBQ and everyone else set up a table of snacks, salads and other goodies. Happy Hour was a success and the grilled halibut and baked potatoes made a nice alternate from standard car camping dinners.
Sunday we set out for Whipple via route B. We encountered beautiful box canyon along the route ( I suspect we were not in the correct canyon - but I'm glad). We climbed up around the rock wall at the end of the box canyon and then back along an easy ledge to the area above the wall. Here we found pools of water, grasses and plants not quite in bloom. We followed the water course for a distance before heading up to the ridge. Once on the ridge we continued hiking as described on the peak guide to the peak. On the return trip we used route C. Everyone was very glad we had not taken Route C up to the peak. Except for the lower canyon route C is not as beautiful a canyon to climb in as route B and there was a lot more brush to contend with. Total trip time was just over one hour longer than described in the guide.
Thanks to all participants Larry for assisting, Ken McElvany (congratulations on your new Jeep it is very nice even if it isn't a Toyota 4-runner), Barbara Cohen, Brian Smith, Wynne Zdon (when are we going to see Andy again), Barbara Reber (part-time), Mary Motheral, Bob Wyka (hope your Sat. nite dinner was as good as ours), Gwenn Hembrock (and thanks for the sewing supplies information), Elaine and David Baldwin (I'd like your cole slaw recipe), Ellen Holden (and this wasn't even a SCMA or CMC trip), and Julie Rush with Ruskie (best 4th class dog I've ever climbed with).
Driving Notes: On Mopah, the turn off on Hwy 95 to the trailhead is 12.3 miles north of Vidal Junction, it is unmarked and can be hard to find at night (this corrects the peak guide). On Whipple, there is a good dirt road most of the way, but it includes a few very rough sections for low clearance vehicles. Leaders would be better parking and camping before the wash and perhaps closer to the dirt road along the power lines.
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