Whipple Mountain Backpack
Big Bertha Saguaro
January 30-31, 2012

After the Turtle Mountain, Coffin Spring trip two of us went on an exploration of the Whipple Mountains to see if we could get to Big Bertha Saguaro from Bowmans Wash Road. As the road approached the wilderness boundary we arrived at a road wash out that was bypassed by a steep ramp into the wash. We decided that we could get down the ramp but could have trouble getting back up. We walked from there until dusk required us to stop and camp.

The next morning we came to mine tailings, a miner’s midden of rusting steel cans, a large coiled rusting wire cable, and a collapsed wooden structure. A rock ridge that blocked out path had a ground level pass through to the other side. From there we followed a wash that lead to the last access to the crest that would lead to the Big Berth site. On traversing the crest there appeared to be several segments where major rock cliffs would need to be circumvented. Each one of these looked too difficult from a distance only to provide a reasonable path when approached.

On reaching the last saddle at the Big Bertha site we carefully look at the entire hillside and took a series of photographs blanketing the area. After resting a while we continued up to the peak inspecting the slope where the big saguaro was supposed to be found. We looked at all sides and took photographs. We found no saguaro or any remnant in this area. After a comfortable night we backtracked and returned to the car in the afternoon.