It's good to finally put this mother
in the done column. I've hiked over these peaks on multiple occasions, just never in full sequence. Along came Janelle... she said "if I am not quite at your level I will dedicate myself until I am". Our first adventure left me in awe that she was still standing at the end of the day looping Fish Creek with it's unforgiving ridge in the heat. Next we attempted the Mother Lode only to be cut off by a freak blizzard. While we didn't succeed, most would balk at even attempting. Today we rejoice!
Traveled backwards starting at Amethyst.
For clarification the peaks on HAZ are now defined as follows:
Brown's Peak 7657(1)
Brother Peak 7642(2)
Sister Peak 7572(3)
Amethyst Peak 7524(4)
Saddle times are approximate...
6:20 AM Started
7:15 AM Reached Browns Saddle
8:20 AM Reached Amethyst Mine
Heading up we foolishly took a left at the Y. This led to a risky climb. We backed down and made it up via the right chute. The trees and ground foliage have recovered since since I was here six years ago. This made it easier as the ground is now stable.
(4)Topped Amethyst Peak
The views from this peak are unmatched in my opinion. Heading back to the saddle we got off route and ate up considerable time.
10:40 AM Arrived at the 3-4 Saddle
Here we cut over maybe 100 yards on the west and took a notch up. Janelle said it made her uneasy
so it may not be the best approach. It does go straight up if you're looking for a quick line. There is one or two places where you have to throw your body weight for a hand hold. If not you can wedge and shimmy up.
(3)Topped Amethyst Sister Peak
In my last adventure here we left via the most terrifying down climb of my life on the (sheer) east side. Today we found a nice used path that exits on the west. It wrapped around and then back east through the north false saddle.
2:28 PM Reached 2-3 Saddle
With 5 hours of daylight we decided to continue on. We dropped east and followed the well traveled path skirting north. It seemed we'd completely passed the peak by the time we got to the ridge I wanted to ride up. We mutually agreed that Peak #2 would have to wait for another day. Here we worked up through untouched territory. The gray decade-dead manzanita turns to clouds of red dust when you bust the branches. Albeit exposed I found the slanted rock to be stable with a sandpaper finish, Janelle firmly disagreed...lol We both agreed one section was nerve racking switching over a stepped section with no hand holds and one lousy foot hold. In what I swore off to be going far away from the peak magically led straight to the peak...
(2)Topped Brown's Brother Peak
After a short rejoice (knowing the Mother Lode was in our hands) we followed the easy ridge to the 1-2 saddle. Although I've been here twice I couldn't remember how to get down. We tracked up and down trying several sequences until I spotted the spot. Simply follow the ridge out and there's a triple down climb with the last passing a small pine with green moss around it. I remembered the moss from previous trips.
5:55 PM Reached 1-2 Saddle
This mess of a saddle gave us no trouble as Janelle quickly deciphered the route. Being in completely charted territory we moved quicker up to the final peak.
(1)Topped Brown's Peak
With daylight burning we stopped only for a moment then breezed down the scree chute to Brown's Saddle.
7:25 PM Back to Brown's Saddle
The sun dropped and worked back to the trailhead. After a mile we had to bust out the headlamps. With a slim crescent moon it got pitch dark on the east side. On the west was an unforgettable view of the valley lights through the pines.
8:25 PM Back to Trailhead
The ride home was tiresome. In the end... it was all worth it!