By: Eric Beck
After climbing all week in Joshua Tree, Lori and I though it made sense to bag McCullough on the return. We picked up the powerline road off Nipton Rd and started looking for our left turn up toward the mountain. This proved trickier than one might imagine as there were left turns at every power tower. A road did appear with a brown BLM carsonite stake reading designated route. We followed this up a shallow ridge and then turned right at another "designated route" sign. To solidify our confidence in our location we drove all the way to the corral and then backtracked a short distance and camped at a large pinyon with an abandoned fire ring.
We screwed up the ascent in a major way, in fact we were luck to have made it at all. Our error was in my disbelief in the idea of " bear right at all major forks". There was a major for after half a mile which I was convinced was way too soon, so we kept going straight up the wash. This error was lent encouragement by a few periodic ducks. We eventually gained a crest north of point 6557 from which we could see McCullough. Fortunately, it was an easy ridge run of about a mile to point 6425 to put us back on route. We found ducks along this ridge. The final canyon up to the peak was devoid of ducks, although we added some.
I can't recall a DPS peak where we spent so much time looking at the map. McCullough's reputation for tricky route finding is well deserved.
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