Ascent of Sheep Mountain on 1994-11-10
|Date:||Thursday, November 10, 1994|
|Ascent Type:||Successful Summit Attained|
| Elevation:||3156 ft / 961 m|
Ascent Trip ReportMany mountains in Arizona are named Sheep for the desert Bighorn sheep often found on them. This mountain was named because Bighorn were found in these mountains in early days. (Barnes, p. 399) Gila, the name of the range and the river to the north, is of Indian origin and is derived from a word meaning 'salt river'. The name dates back to about 1630 when 'Rio Hila' was applied to the river. (Barnes, p. 176-178)
The Gila Mountains are in the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range and a permit is required for entry. A permit can be obtained at the Marine Corps office in Yuma after signing a release form and giving details about your group. The office can be reached at (602) 341-3402. More information on the permits is at this site:
To reach the trailhead for Sheep Mountain, follow Interstate highway 8 east of Yuma and exit at Wellton which is exit #30 and go south on Ave. 29E for 2.7 miles to 14th St. and turn right (W). Continue on this good dirt road for 4.0 miles to Ave. 25E and then turn left. A sign here indicates the boundary of the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range. Reset your odometer and take this road south for 5.3 miles to a point where a power line crosses the road. Turn right onto the poorer road which follows the power line and at 8.2 miles go right (W) onto another road which crosses the power line road. Reset odometer and go right at a fork at 1.4 miles and right again at another fork in 2.0 miles where the road ends at a parking area on a bench above a large wash. UTM here is 763140E, 3600150N (NAD27). Begin the hike here heading NW up the broad stone-filled wash to a saddle at an elevation of 1700 ft. about 1.9 miles away. At the saddle contour to the right into a narrow canyon heading north and after 0.4 miles, at an elevation of 2000 ft., turn NW at a fork and go up a steep slope toward the south side of a peak shown as 3040 ft. on the map. Go left around the base of this point and across a rocky saddle and then up a final ridge to the summit. Overall elevation gain is 2200 ft. and the roundtrip distance is almost 6 miles. Hiking time is 3 1/2 hours for the ascent and 3 1/4 hours to return. 10/94 RLC
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