Cover yourself man!
Always up for a challenge and a great view, I decided to hike to the top of this peak. The planned ascent appeared to have a lot of exposure and so I decided to complete this in the fall. The Reynolds Creek area is high enough elevation to offer relief from the high temperatures of the Phoenix area and enjoy some cooler weather.
I arrived at the trailhead to find a large group of campers set up in the parking area. There was no room to park there, so I had to park off the side of the road. I made my way through camp (formerly the trailhead parking) and started up Hell's Hole Trail #284. It’s a steady climb to the bushwhack jump-off point at about 1.2 miles.
My strategy was to leave the trail where the ridgeline meets the trail and follow it all the way to the top. This part of the hike is difficult. The terrain is only moderately steep and really isn’t a factor in the difficulty of this hike. However, there is thick manzanita and catclaw the whole way to the top with only a pocket or two of relief as you make your way. It’s only about a half mile up, but it took me an hour as I tore my way through the thick mess. As you start to ascend you emerge from tall trees into full exposure to the sun. About half way is a large rock formation that takes some work to get over but it’s one of the relief points from the relentless brush.
As expected, the view was amazing. There is some shade on the top. I had enough to set up my ham radio and operate for an hour. It’s an 8 pointer for SOTA. There are a few prickly pear along the way including a few on top that you should watch out for. You are informed that it’s bear country from the signs at the trailhead and if you had any doubts, the bear scat along the route will convince you.
It’s a challenge but if you like a good challenge you should enjoy this one. Just remember to wear long pants, a sleeved shirt and eye protection.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.