Mount Tipton, McCullough Mountain
By: John Vitz
The Hualapai trip had drawn a crowd and had been terrible. So the word was out on these Vitz-Haven trips into Western Arizona. The leaders were even skeptical about the quality of the Cerbat Range and so they had high hopes that no one would show up at the 7 am meeting time - once again, thanks to our trip chairman. About 7:10 after sweating out a number of California cars, it looked like we would be alright. We got out the maps and were plotting the route to Toroweap for a weekend of beer drinking and relaxing. And then Rick Lane surprised us by driving up on a Honda 750. He had come all the way from LA in the cold. So cursing him to ourselves we drove off towards the roadhead for Tipton, the high point of the north end of the Cerbat Range. We pulled off at an angle turn and stopped to wait for him. VRRR00000MMM - right past. We stood there in disbelief as he roared across the desert towards Lake Mead sixty miles away. Finally it dawned on us that his brain had been frozen by the long, cold ride.
About 45 minutes later, after covering about 60 miles and outrunning several Arizona Highway Patrolmen, he was back and we continued on to the roadhead in a canyon northwest of the peak. It took us about three hours to climb through the pinyon-juniper forest, over and around granite cliffs and outcroppings, to the ponderosa covered summit. Tipton turned out to be everything we had hoped the Hualapais to be, a peak much like a cross between Granite #1 and New York. There was a frosting of snow which added greatly to the scene, and views as far away as Charleston, the North Rim, and Humphries were in focus. We camped that night at Cottonwood Cove, a busy but pleasant campground on the west side of Lake Mohave. The next morning we drove to Pine spring which is southeast of the high point of the McCullough Range. We took our time wandering across this gently sloping, tree-covered mountain. It contains some of the finest junipers this side of Utah and offers excellent views of the river country as well as the Spring Range and the San Bernardino County ranges. Like on Tipton there was a little snow to enhances the scenes and the weather was impeccable. Both peaks would be worthy additions to the qualifying list.
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