Turtle Mountains, Whipple Mountains
By: Igor and Suzanne Mamedalin
Saturday morning, 7 AM, seven females and two males met at the Vidal Junction restaurant to share in another desert adventure. The restaurant does not open until 7 AM but since they allowed us in earlier and gave us coffee, some of us decided to have breakfast there. We waited for the "no shows" until about 7:40 AM and then proceeded north along 95 to find the War Eagle #1 Mine, roadend for "Route C" listed in the DPS Road and Peak Guide. Five miles short of the road end we met Rich Gnagy standing by his new Jeep Grand Cherokee. He drove all the way from Sacramento to meet the group for the climbs. One 2WD vehicle stopped at that point; the other two 2WD vehicles managed to reach the road end after scraping the bottoms over a few rocks. The procession took a while to complete, however.
From the road end the group followed the ridgeline of a set of low hillocks east of the road end until the canyon mouth with the distinctive 2,005' bump for Route C could be seen. The north facing canyon is quite scenic with high rock walls, rock scrambling, and water pools. Due to the late hour, only eight of the nine people that started and one dog (Comet) reached the summit, the ninth person waited for the group midway. On the return the cars were reached at dusk. Round trip was only around 10 miles and 2,800' gain.
Driving back to where the first 2WD vehicle stopped we set up camp overlooking the bright lights of the growing Lake Havasu metropolis. As planned, that evening David Melbourne succeeded in finding our campsite in the middle of the desert and joined us for the campfire. Sunday morning while retracing the route back to Vidal Junction, Margie Huttons' Chrysler van lost a tire that had to be replaced (with expertise by Jake Holshuh) with one of the toy tires that are totally useless for desert travel. She signed out and headed to the nearest tire store in Needles.
At Vidal Junction, Janet Strom also signed out and headed for home. The remaining group followed the standard route description from the guide book for the Turtle road end. After one wrong detour and some route finding we managed to reach the correct road end overlooking a large sand wash. 7.7 miles from pavement (vs. 7.2 in the Guide book) the 'right turn' is closer to a 145° turn before a sequence of ducks leads one across a broad wash to the road's continuation. To reach Turtle, we gained the south ridge prematurely and scaled many extraneous bumps along the way. (Whoever lost a fine looking hubcap at road end can now reclaim it at Turtle's summit). The route back went smoother and everyone reached the vehicles by dusk and pavement an hour later.
Many thanks to everyone that joined us on this desert outing and to Jake Holshuh for assisting in navigation as well as serving as the designated desert mechanic. The other people not previously mentioned that were on this trip are Tanya Mamedalin, Sue Leverton, and Betty Stirratt.
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