Mustang Mountains, Arizona, March 2018

On Wednesday, March 28, I joined the Southern Arizona Hiking Club on climbs of two peaks in the Mustang Mountains of Arizona. The Mustang Mountains are a small range lying east of Sonoita and between the Whetstone Mountains to the north and the Huachuca Mountains to the south. These peaks have only moderate prominence with short climbs but their slopes are steep. Their location provides views of many surrounding ranges.

Hiking through open country low on the north slopes of Peak 6469

Hiking through open country low on the north slopes of Peak 6469

John Ohm led the trip and drove us into the range just a few miles off highway 82. Our party included Bill Hiscox, June Meyer, and John Perillo, with whom I have shared many other trips this winter season. Our parking spot provided a base from which we climbed each peak in succession.

Looking south from Peak 6469 towards the Huachuca Mountains

Looking south from Peak 6469 towards the Huachuca Mountains

Our first goal was Peak 6469, the highpoint of the Mustang Mountains. This peak is the 137th most prominent peak in Arizona with 1544 feet of topographic prominence. We climbed the north slopes of the peak, at first in open country but eventually into oak and pine forest on steep and sometimes loose slopes. The summit was at a rocky spot that provided open views to the east, south, and west. I particularly noted Huachuca Peak to the south which I planned to visit the following Saturday.

Looking north at the south face cliffs of Mustang Peak from our descent of Peak 6469

Looking north at the south face cliffs of Mustang Peak from our descent of Peak 6469

We returned to our car, had lunch, then headed for our second goal, Mustang Peak. Mustang Peak has 6317 of elevation and only 880 feet of topographic prominence, but its south face is lined with a high cliff.

We passed through an ocotillo forest on our traverse to the east ridge of Mustang Peak

We passed through an ocotillo forest on our traverse to the east ridge of Mustang Peak

We traversed north to reach the east ridge, then climbed directly up the steep and loose slope. Higher we followed intermittent game trails through cliffy bands and found firmer footing above the south face cliff.

The Whetstone Mountains to the north from the summit of Mustang Peak

The Whetstone Mountains to the north from the summit of Mustang Peak

The summit of Mustang Peak is open and provides views in all directions. I noted snow on the highest peaks of the Chiricahua Range far to the east. We could identify Apache Peak and French Joe Peak in the Whetstone Mountains to our north, which we had climbed three weeks earlier. Many other major and minor ranges surrounded us.

Peak 6469, the highpoint of the Mustang Mountains, to the south from Mustang Peak

Peak 6469, the highpoint of the Mustang Mountains, to the south from Mustang Peak

We took care on the descent and we all reached our car without mishap on the steep and loose slopes. Whenever I pass by the Mustang Mountains I will remember this pleasant day and the companions I shared it with.

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Paul McClellan

About Paul McClellan

I had the good fortune to have spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, where I discovered the joys and addiction of hiking and climbing in the Cascades Range and other ranges in the Western United States.
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