Crossman Peak • Range Highpoint: Mojave Mountains
• Southern Mohave County

Date Climbed
November 12, 2006

Elevation
5,100 feet

Distance
6 miles round trip

Time
3.25 hours

Gain
2,140 feet

Conditions
Clear but very breezy

Prominence
3,120 feet

Click on the thumbnail to see a full-size version


The Mojave Mountains, with Crossman Peak centered
 

A grave along the road.
 

The top (centered) and the towers come into view after about a mile of hiking
 

Getting closer to the towers
 

The summit as seen from nearby the towers
 

Getting closer
 

From the summit, looking back at the towers and the Colorado River
 

Lake Havasu City and the Colorado River
 

The actual summit cairn and pole, the Hualapai Mountains rise behind

Arizona PageMain Page

Arizona's
Prominence Peaks

Summitpost


Beth and I wanted to make a weekend trip somewhere in the state, taking advantage of a three-day weekend. With the extra day, we figured we could go somewhere far, where we could use the first day for the driving. We looked at a peak in the Chiricahuas in southeast Arizona, but at the last moment we opted to head west toward Lake Havasu and hike up Crossman Peak, the highpoint of the Mojave Mountains which sit directly above the city, to its north and east. This peak had been on our radar for some time, but not feasible until the summer heat had abated. Given that Havasu holds the Arizona record for heat (128 F in 1994), a summer attempt was out of the question. However, by November things were finally into the comfortable range, with highs just in the 70s.

We left the Phoenix area late morning on Friday and took some alternative roads toward Parker (Salome Highway and Route 72). Alas, just outside of Parker we got pulled over, along with another vehicle, for speeding, or not slowing down fast enough in line with the speed limit signs. What was galling was that he generously added at least 10 miles an hour to my alleged speed. I have utmost respect for the police, but not when it is clear they are meeting quotas. I plan to drive back out to Parker in a month to fight it. We shall see. (Update, Feb 2007: We won! Got the ticket dismissed. Still, no Parker for us for awhile. Not a pleasant experience.)

Our first night we camped at Buckskin Mountain State Park, about 10 miles north of Parker. This is a great camping area, and for $20 we had a ramada structure (they called them cabanas), right on the Colorado River. Soft gravel for the tent, a covered picnic table, and the river just 30 feet away. We will definitely return, just to camp there for a couple nights. The next day we took our time, and got on the road about 9:30 a.m., heading up toward Havasu. It was only 20-something miles to get to Havasu; once there we started up through the residential streets looking for Bison Road, which eventually turns to dirt just past some million-dollar homes.

From the end of the pavement at Bison Road, we started up the dirt road, which was bumpy and rocky enough for me to use 4-wheel drive. In 1.3 miles we came to a wide-open flat area, a staging area for off-road vehicles. The road we wanted was to the left of an old concrete foundation, leading down into a prominent wash. A bunch of people on Polaris-type 4-wheel ATVs came rumbling up a slope from the wash, bypassing some poor schmo whose truck was buried up to its axles on this same slope. We continued on, turning right at a T-junction and heading northeastish up toward the range. The road quality was pretty decent, but bumpy. 4-wheel drive helped a lot. We had in hand a report from summitpost saying to stay left at a Y-junction. We came to a Y-junction but failed to note our mileage. We stayed left, then stayed on this road another mile or so, eventually driving up to a dry waterfall complex. The report from SummitPost (my only beta, so to speak) said "the other" road would lead to these falls ... our first hint something wasn't right. We GPS'd our position but the maps I had were off topozone, which did not include the UTM clicks. However, a bunch of off-roaders were here at the falls, and when I asked if the road here went to the towers, they all said yes, uncategorically. They're local, I figured; they must know for sure. Mistake number two.

We suited up and started the hike, working our way up a steep jeep path to get above the falls, then the road up the canyon. We hiked about a mile up the gently sloped road, eventually coming to a Y-junction. To the right were old mines, and to the left, we hoped, was our route, but no such luck. It was clear we were on the southerly of the two jeep roads shown on the map. Crossman defeated us today. We hiked back out to our truck, where a bunch of new off-roaders were goofing off at the falls. We met up with some hikers on our hike out and when I mentioned the towers, they said we wanted "that left turn back there", which we had apparently missed. So when we drove out, we made a point to look for this proper left turn (our right, as we drove out). We found it. The road grader had piled up a berm of rocks at this junction so that it looked like the road was not meant to be traveled on.

For exploratory purposes, we drove up this road as far as we felt comfortable, eventually getting up 1.6 more miles to the mouth of a canyon. Since it was nearly 4 p.m., we decided against hiking, but at least we knew where we could start, had an idea of the distance needed to hike to the top, and made plans to try it the next morning. The area was starting to fill up with more ATVers and those target shooting. We surmised this was a popular saturday night drink-n-shoot hangout. We had no desire to hang out, after one particularly nasty run-in with some guys in a jeep. We drove back back into Havasu and found our hotel, along London Bridge Road near the water. Both of crashed early and fast. (The guy whose truck was stuck on the slopes had by this time managed to unstick himself and he was long gone.)

Early the next morning we awoke and Beth took some time to see if her arthritis was going to allow her a good day or bad day. Turns out her ankles and knees felt pretty good, but her back was out, bad enough that hiking would exacerbate it. So she begged off the hike for today, and agreed to wait for me while at a nearby Starbucks. We got packed up, and I dropped her off, then went for the hike. I drove back to where we were yesterday, taking about 40 minutes to get there. It was 9:45 a.m. when I parked and started the hike. The weather had improved from yesterday: it was clearer as opposed to yesterday's high clouds, but it was very breezy and cool. A front was passing through to the north; we knew Vegas was getting some rain.

From my truck I walked up the remaining 0.4 mile of road to a sharp right switchback turn. Curiously, a grave was nearby, on a small raised flat platform just off the road. I wondered what was the story there. Past the grave and sharp bend, the road swings up a slope and around back, so to speak, to a locked gate. The road was noticeably steeper and rockier here. The gate was old but locked, an old sign mentioning this was a "private drive" and "no trespassing" in small letters. A newer sign from the tower company was on the gate, too. This was all BLM land, so far as I knew. Others felt the same way: a few had scratched in "This is Public Land" and other non-family-friendly phrases into the paint on the gate. I didn't feel the least bit worried about tromping on someone's private property, so I walked beside the gate and continued up.

Past the gate the road just gained steeply, always visible ahead of me as a swath of discoloration on the desert slopes. It was a steady, steep grind, and kind of tiring, but I made good time. I took a break after an hour, in which I had gained a thousand feet. After one of the many bends I could finally see the tower complex up on the west ridge of Crossman Peak, and the summit to right of the towers. The buzz of a generator could be heard, even down about 600 feet. The road finally started a series of switchbacks directly up to the towers, gaining quite steeply in some parts. A couple of old mine adits and tailing piles were here as well. I came to another gate. This one had the usual signs about staying clear of the towers, warnings of high radio frequencies, and the penalties of breaking the law. Once again I scooted past the gate and hiked to the towers. I came upon the towers and the now-very-loud generator. I didn't stop; instead, I went around behind a couple buildings and immediately started up the trail continuation to the top. Now exposed on the ridge, the breeze was quite heavy and quite cold.

The final 400 feet to Crossman's summit follows this good trail as it gains steeply toward some rocky outcrops. After a few of these, it lets out onto wider, more moderated slopes. At last, the trail came up and over a small hump and there was Crossman Peak, topped by a steel pole set in a large cairn. I scampered up to tag the top and look for a register (I found none). The views were astounding but the wind forced me to decend a few feet onto the lee side to stay comfortable. I checked my cell phone for the time and was pleasantly surprised to see that it had taken me just 2 hours exactly to gain the top from my truck. Also, I had a full signal so I called my wife to say hi. Lake Havasu City was visible below, set against the blue ribbon of the Colorado River. Ranges and deserts extended away in all directions, including the mighty Hualapais to my north. I could also see a lot of dust being kicked up, and the beginnings of some dust storms here and there. I spent 10 minutes on top, and it was almost exactly noon when I started down. As pretty as everything was, the wind was just too brisk for my comfort, and Beth was waiting for me.

The hike back down took exactly an hour, going at a good pace. The steep roads and rubble forced me to take some parts carefully, but even so I landed on my butt once, and came close a few other times. Back down near the grave area I came upon some off-roaders and we had a short friendly chat. Then it was back to the truck and the drive out. I picked up Beth at the Starbucks and we spent the rest of the day driving home, highlighted by a simple dinner at our new favorite screwy restaurant, Tonopah Joe's Truck Stop in Tonopah, west of Phoenix. We also managed to get snarled up in the traffic leaving PIR, after our yearly big NASCAR race. We exited the freeway and took a back-route home. In all, a fun weekend and a nice getaway from home.

(c) 2006, 2012 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.