Ascent of Sheep Mountain on 2016-03-03

Climber: James Barlow

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Thursday, March 3, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Sheep Mountain
    Elevation:3156 ft / 961 m

Ascent Trip Report

It is shockingly easy to hike on this military base. After almost 17 years in the Navy I am used to bureaucratic pain when trying to accomplish even the simplest of tasks...

My ascent route (western track) was pleasant, completely in the shade until the last 200 vertical feet or so. I started early in the morning to beat the heat, so the sun was low and blocked by the mountains and the canyon I was in. My descent track (eastern track) was a better canyon until the 50+ foot cliff-out. I bypassed on skier's left pretty easily with an exposed class 3 move or two. The more faint of heart may want to avoid that... The GPS track also went haywire in that steeper canyon on the descent. The register already had 2 other entries for 2016, but 2012 was the entry before that! Some jarheads and their super-awesome Navy Corpsman were the oldest entries in the scraps, just before Bob Martin & Doug Kasian. On the way out, I took a handful of flower pictures. I only stopped at my truck for 1 minute to top off a water bottle before bagging the bonus bump. Register placed by Gordon & Barbara in 1991 and signed since then by just about every USMC radar det that comes out to Site 50 for the bi-annual Weapons Training Instructor (WTI) course (ironically enough, WTI is why I am in Yuma). The temperature at the truck was 108, spiking to 111 in the 30 minutes I hung out there, rinsing off with cool-ish water and eating lunch. Happy March! Pics

Total for both peaks:
4 hrs 40 min
7 miles

Driving directions:
Exit either exit 30 (WB) or 21 (EB) and take Old Hwy 80 to the intersection with Ave 25E. Turn south on to this road and immediately cross railroad tracks. Shortly thereafter, you cross under I-8. Continue 4.3 miles south from the intersection of Old Hwy 80 and Ave 25E. There is a weird hook in the road as you cross an irrigation canal after about 1.7 miles. You will pass a date farm just before you enter the Barry M. Goldwater Range. I stopped at this organic date farm on the way out and bought a box. Nice couple running it. Highly recommended!! At the 4.3 mile mark, you will be just past "Site 50," a USMC remote radar site that is generally occupied for training in March/April and again in September/October. Right at the south end of this site is a post marking the junction to the trailhead. It is labeled "C1." Turn right here and follow the main road for 3.1 miles to a junction. There are many braided use roads crossing the desert in this area. Keep on the most "main-looking" road. At 3.1 miles, a junction appears where both branches look like the main branch. I kept left. At 3.6 miles you drop into a wash. Up until this point ANY passenger car driven by a real peakbagger can make this trek, specifically Keith's Mazda or my Yaris! If you don't have clearance and 4WD, park before the drop into the wash. The sand in the wash was deep and I had to engage my 4WD on the way in and the way out. I parked at 4.1 miles in an area that seems to see regular vehicle traffic. So, a 2WD only leaves you half a mile further away - no big deal!

Range Control info:
The Marine Corps will issue recreational passes to anybody who wants one. You just need a driver's license. You can access BMGR-W 24/7 once you have a pass. The passes all expire June 30th of each year. The one I was issued today is good until June 30, 2016. They do this because they feel that there is little interest in going out there in the summer months. So, if you get a pass in the fall, it is good all winter and spring!

They issue 2 passes. 1 for your car and 1 for you. You need only 1 pass per parked/unattended vehicle entering the range, left on the dashboard, and 1 pass per adult (18+) to carry with them at all times while hiking. Kids don't need a pass, just have to be with an adult with a pass. Once you have one of these passes, you can phone in to a 24/7 number to access the range whenever you want 800-979-0657. You can also register online at All that the Marines request is that you call 24 hours before you intend to enter the range with your travel plan. I registered for this hike online and it took 2 minutes...

Where do I go to get a pass?
MCAS Yuma front gate 8am-noon / 1pm-3pm Mon-Fri (closed holidays) to get a pass. Exit I-8 in Yuma at Exit 3 (Ave 3E) and head south on Ave 3E for 2.3 miles to the main gate (not the north gate) to MCAS Yuma on the right. The building is on the right, so be in the right entrance lane to the base if it is open. The guys at the gate can point you to it. It is called "Pass and ID" in jarhead jargon. Talk to the lady at the desk on the left as you enter (Denise, very nice). You fill out a form and she gives you 2 passes - 1 for the parked car, 1 for the hiker. They do patrol the area looking for people not following these surprisingly simple rules, so don't ruin it for the rest of us! I met one of the patrol guys when I was getting my range pass to go on Chocolate Mountains Gunnery Range tomorrow at the base range control (different location, no peaks, work visit, no public access), I was in and out of there in under 5 minutes and got a free map too!

Special use permit required for groups of 10 or more vehicles travelling together
No shooting between sunset & sunrise
No automatic weapons
Separate permit required to enter Cabeza Prieta NWR
Stay on roads, 4WD recommended
Don't pick up bombs
Yield to military vehicles
Expect to see low-flying military aircraft
Don't cross the border to Mexico
14 day max stay per 28 days for primitive camping in BMGR-W

Pics for access at MCAS Yuma.

MCAS Yuma Resource Mgt (owns public access to BMGR-W): 928-269-7150
Cabeza Prieta NWR: 520-387-6483
BMGR-East Range Info: 623-856-7435 / 623-856-5241 / 623-856-8516
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2466 ft / 751 m
    Route Conditions:
Open Country, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:2466 ft / 751 m
    Route:North Canyons
    Start Trailhead:690 ft / 210 m
Descent Statistics
Ascent Part of Trip: Sheep '16

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Sheep Mountain2016-03-03 a2466 ft / 752 m
2Site 50 Overlook 12572016-03-03 b587 ft / 179 m
Total Trip Gain: 3053 ft / 931 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by James Barlow
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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