Reena is on break from medical school and has never had a chance to hike Brown's peak so I thought the snow may be gone enough to give it a try.
We met in Fountain Hills and headed in off SR87. FR143 is a little rough (as usual) but then we rounded a corner and two full size vans were kinda pulled over and about 15-20 guys in camouflage with rifles and packs were standing on the road.
I don't ask questions in these situations and fortunately there was just enough room for me to squeeze by without the Jeep rolling down the side.
There were three vehicles when we got to Lone Pine Saddle so we knew a few others were out on the trail. The hike up was going well and the trail is in nice shape. When we rounded the corner on the shady section there was some refrozen snow/ice on the trail. I thought it was easy to hike on but Chiu & Reena slowed down on this section. Once beyond the ice the trail up to the saddle was good once again. I always get a kick from the look I get from people when I tell them the hike goes up the chute. I guess it does look vertical from the saddle. I assured them that if it was too icy or got to bad we could turn back. I'm not sure why anyone ever believes me since I don't think I've ever actually done that. We took our time going up avoiding the snow/ice and sticking (clinging, clawing) to the dry rock. The scramble up wasn't that bad (trust me
) and soon we were scrambling up to the peak. 10 hikers were leaving the peak just as we got near the top. After eating a snack and enjoying the views Reena really didn't want to go back down the same way. I thought Alder saddle may be an option or we could exit to the north and take the ridge and reconnect with Browns trail. We opted for the north exit through the snow. It was probably more work but hiking through the snow on a moderate slope and sliding down the slopes where possible made for an interesting descent. It was like glissading. I called it butt-boarding since that what was really happening. Once back on Browns trail it was an easy stroll and we drove out the back way to avoid most of the quads and malitia
on FR143. If you don't like a little snow with your scramble I'd wait another month before going up.