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Tiptoe through the Tiptons
Mount Tipton (elevation of 7,148 feet and prominence of 3,628 feet) is the Cerbat Mountains' highpoint and of the Mount Tipton Wilderness. It is located near Kingman, AZ, and it is the 13th most prominent peak in Arizona. Mount Tipton is one of 9 Arizona peaks on the Sierra Club Desert Peaks Section peak list.
Mount Tipton was named for a Lt. Tipton who served with Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives' expedition. Ives was a military officer and botanist who explored, mapped, and surveyed the Colorado River in 1858.
If you are looking for a hike on a well-groomed and easy-to-follow trail, you will want to stay away from this hike. There is no trail on the hike; instead, there is lots of brushy vegetation, boulder/rock hopping in a wash, steep off-trail climbs, rock scrambling, and extreme route finding issues -- in other words, pure intensity!
From the trailhead, go east for about a mile along an old jeep road in the open desert. The jeep road peters out, but you'll continue through the open desert until you get to a wash. Get in the wash and hike through it for about 1.5 miles, going southeast. There are some occasional obstacles in the wash that you can get around by getting out of the wash and then getting back in the wash once you are past the obstacles. While it is tempting to hike alongside the wash, it can get remarkably brushy outside the wash, so it is best to mainly stay in the wash. You'll be going uphill the entire way, and you'll eventually get to a saddle at about 5,400' of elevation.
Once at the saddle, you'll want to take a well-deserved break. The terrain is relatively brushy most of the rest of the way to the summit, so it is pointless to give precise directions; instead, gaps in the vegetation will largely determine your route. There are quite a few trees that will block your view, so it is impossible to see very far ahead and plan your route. Instead, pick the path of least resistance, look at your GPS frequently, and be willing to move laterally to a brush-free corridor.
From the saddle, you'll head south for about 1/3 of a mile; your objective is a ridgeline, and it is a steep climb to get there. Once on the ridgeline, you will go ENE for almost a mile to another ridgeline. Views will be obstructed most of the way, so the going will be a bit slow. There is some brushy vegetation to deal with, but there are gaps in the vegetation that will enable you to bypass the worst of it. There are a few rock outcroppings along the way, but it is not difficult to go around them. You can walk on some rock slabs in a few places, which provide a temporary reprieve from the brush.
About 1/2 mile from the summit, you'll get past the worst of the brush, and the route opens up underneath some larger pine trees. You'll then be heading southeast past some false summits to get to Tipton Peak. Below the peak, there are some boulders that you can avoid if you go to your right. Make the class 2 climb and take a break at the summit.
The entire hike will be class 1 or class 2 hiking, although there will be some opportunities for some class 3 climbs if you are so inclined. If you find anything that is the least bit sketchy, you will have chosen a bad route.
To get back to the trailhead, go back the way that you came. The descent is fairly slow, primarily due to the trees that obstruct your view and prevent you from seeing a clear path to follow. Once you get back to the wash, the descent down will be easier and faster than the ascent through the wash.
This is a beast of a hike that will wear on you mentally and physically, and it is a summit not gained without sacrifice, as there is not an easy way up there. The views at the summit are nice but are nothing exceptional. This hike will appeal mainly to peakbaggers or hikers that enjoy a good challenge; others might wish to look elsewhere for an easier hike.
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This is a more difficult hike. It would be unwise to attempt this without prior experience hiking.