Ascent of Cabeza Benchmark on 1994-11-11

Climber: Richard Carey

Date:Friday, November 11, 1994
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Cabeza Benchmark
    Elevation:2830 ft / 862 m

Ascent Trip Report

Cabeza BM is named for the Cabeza Prieta Range which is Spanish for "black head" or "dark head" since named summit to the SE has a black mantle of lava rock in contrast to the light tan of many other mountains nearby. The name first appeared on a General Land Office map of 1921. (Barnes, p.70)

This peak is in the Cabeza Prieta Wildlife Refuge. Public entry for hiking and camping is allowed with a permit from the Refuge office in Ajo which regulates public entry. For information write or call the Refuge staff at: 1611 North Second Ave., Ajo, AZ. 85321. Phone: (520) 387-6483. Four-wheel drive vehicles are required. More information on permits is at my site:

The most direct driving route to the range is to drive south from Tacna. On Interstate 8 east of Yuma use exit 42 in Tacna. This is Ave. 40E which runs north and south. On the south side of the Interstate take the unmarked dirt frontage road that goes along the fence and then heads east. Take this wide, graded dirt road east for 6.0 miles and then turn right. There is a sign here indicating the start of the Barry M. Goldwater Air Force Range. Reset your odometer at the turn and head south on this road across the broad Mohawk Valley. After 23.1 miles there is a sign marking the Refuge boundary. Continue straight ahead on the road which narrows and becomes more sandy where four-wheel drive may be needed. At about 34 miles you will pass the Christmas Pass camp on the left and at 40.8 miles arrive at Tule Well. Go right (W) here on the Camino del Diablo for 5.8 miles to BM 1239 marked by a post on your right. Park here and hike NE across the desert for 2 miles to the management road and turn left. Follow the road for 2.5 miles to where it makes a sharp turn left. From this point leave the road and go NE to Cabeza Prieta Pass. Beyond the pass go north past point 1417 ft. and then drop into Surprise Canyon and turn NW. From the end of an old road in the canyon go true north up a wash. Climb up a steep chute to a saddle south of the summit then follow easly slabs up the ridge to the top. This hike is 17 miles round-trip with a gain of 1600 ft. Hiking time is 2 1/2 hours to the pass and 5 1/2 hours to the top. Allow 5 hours to return to the cars. 11/94 RLC
Summary Total Data

This page has been served 437 times since 2005-01-15.

Copyright © 1987-2021 by All Rights Reserved. Questions/Comments/Corrections? See the Contact Page Terms of Service