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West Canyon Approach

 
West Canyon Approach

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Object Title: West Canyon Approach

Route Type: Hiking, Scrambling

Season: Spring, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Half a day

Difficulty: Not too bad, just sloppy in spots

Route Quality: 
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Page By: surgent

Created/Edited: May 17, 2011 / Feb 25, 2013

Object ID: 716534

Hits: 437 

Page Score: 72.08%  - 2 Votes 

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Overview

This page describes the route to the assumed summit, the 3,381-foot spot elevation.

Getting There

See main page.

Route Description

Start walking east into the obvious canyon southwest of the summit. If you parked back at the eroded section farther south, you can walk the road and cut cross-country as you see fit. The desert here is flat but rocky, with light brush.

Enter the canyon and just deal with the big rocks and scrubby plants, following the canyon's course about 3/4 mile until it opens up, with a couple of side canyons and gullies coming together. Start hiking up the gully due north, aiming for the ridge just east of spot elevation 2,546. This is the only point along the whole climb where footing is an issue as the rock is loose, crumbly and sloppy. Just be sure you have a solid placement before making the next move.

Once on the ridge, turn right (east) and follow some scant foot-paths past some ridgebumps, gaining the main range crest slightly south of the 3,381-foot peak. Hike up and around one false summit. The true summit has a nice skewed profile. Just hike up the nice slopes to the top rocks, picking your way to the summit where you can add your name into the register.

Descend the same way.

The 3,380-foot summit is a little more rounded and easily accessed from the main ridge crest.

Even if you start from farther out, like I did, the round trip is just 7 miles, with about 2,500 feet of gain. The climbing is never worse than Class 2, with maybe a whiff of Class-3 as you approach the ridge from the gully.

Essential Gear

Long pants, sleeves, hat, gloves for the rock and brush. Bring water.

It gets hot here

This is a very hot region of the state, so winter is the best time. It can be warm even in fall and spring, with 90s as late as November and as early as February. In summer, temps around Blythe get into the 120s.

The 3,379-foot peak?

I have no comment. I did not go there.

The 3,381-foot summit is accepted as the range highpoint, and some with sight levels have commented that it probably is in fact the highpoint, with reasonable confidence.

Purists may want to walk over to the 3,380-foot top. Super-purists might seek out the 3,379-footer. It's your call.

Images

Big Maria Peak CA