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The Gatekeeper, AZ

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Guide 53 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Phoenix > Superstitions NW
5 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 3 of 5
Route Finding 2 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2.7 miles
Trailhead Elevation 1,878 feet
Elevation Gain 712 feet
Accumulated Gain 733 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 1.5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 6.37
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
5  2019-05-17
Flatiron Hike - Superstitions
9  2019-01-04
Flatiron Hike - Superstitions
6  2018-11-25
Flatiron Hike - Superstitions
5  2018-11-25
Flatiron Hike - Superstitions
6  2018-05-20
Flatiron Hike - Superstitions
1  2017-12-16
Superstition Ridgeline
7  2017-12-16 aviedelson
7  2017-05-09
Picketpost and Flatiron
Page 1,  2,  3
Author syoung
author avatar Guides 6
Routes 23
Photos 1,125
Trips 593 map ( 3,813 miles )
Age 40 Male Gender
Location Mesa, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Feb, Jan, Dec, Mar → Early
Seasons   ALL
Sun  6:11am - 6:30pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Meteorology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
There is a big rock right there....go get on top of it
by syoung

This past summer during a trip up to Flatiron to clear the paint marks, I was chatting with JuanJamieiii as we trekked through the desert. As we gazed up at this impressive rock he asked me if I had ever been up to the top. I scoffed at the notion while he assured me that it was not as difficult as it may appear. My first attempt at it was a few weeks later and I quickly realized that he was right. Now, I must say that this is not the most difficult scramble to the top but it is beyond a doubt one of the most exposed portions on the mountain. If the idea of taking a step to the right or left and tumbling off (most assuredly to an untimely demise) then this is definitely not the hike for you.

The approach for this hike begins at the Mining Camp parking lot; or if you are inclined to you can begin at Lost Dutchman State Park. Head towards the Siphon Draw signage and head towards the mountain. The giant monolith that looms at the opening of the canyon that leads into the mountain is your goal.

I started calling this rock the Gatekeeper for a few reasons. When I started taking people with me up to Flatiron I used this rock as a marker of sorts. If we had to stop before we made it to this point it was going to be a long day on the mountain. When I brought my kiddos up the mountain I decided to embellish the story slightly. I turned the Gatekeeper into a sleeping giant (think like the stone eating giant from a famous 80's movie) who protected the mountain from people not ready for it. If disturbed, the Gatekeeper would unbury himself (his head is the only thing exposed) and toss the perpetrators off of the mountain.

There is a turnoff at approximately 1.2 miles in. With the Gatekeeper looming to your right, look for a side trail that zooms downwards from the Siphon Draw main trail. The turnoff is directly in front of one of the railroad ties that cross the main trail to prevent erosion. You will begin boulder hopping now until you reach the slick rock of the stream bed. Make a sharp right and follow the stream bed for about 100 feet until you are standing at the bottom of the eastern face of the Gatekeeper.
Now here is the real gut check time. Look up once, think twice, and turn back if you have any doubt at all. You will begin scrambling up this steep face. In my opinion the best route up is following the crack all the way up until you hit the southern face.

Upon reaching the southern face you have the crux of this ascent facing you. I am not quite sure if I would call it a climbing pitch as much as a wall to clamber up. Find your way up the 8 or so feet and you will dog leg to your right and hop up a 4 foot wall.

You should now be facing towards Flatiron. Carefully, and I do mean carefully, make your way up the rock and badda bing, badda boom, you are on top of the Gatekeeper! Enjoy the views but don’t step too far in either direction. There is only room for 1 or 2 people up here at any one time.

Make your way back down the way that you came.

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2015-11-18 syoung
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent of 23 deeper Triplog Reviews
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Saw this new description and figured I'd give it a go today. I was interested if it was the place I ended up with a friend back when I started hiking. She knew the way to Flatiron, as the story goes, and I was blind apparently, thus we ending up here. We were able to finally reach Flatiron a day or two later. While the location we ended up in was not this peak, I was able to stumble upon that locale and even found the rock I managed to wedge into the wall to commemorate the experience..

    This is a nice little side excursion that offers up a unique vantage of Flatiron. I Definitely recommend checking it out.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Picketpost and Flatiron
    Interesting tidbits:

    Picketpost time - 1:59
    Flatiron time - 2:22
    Left Picketpost summit at 10:12AM and on top of Flatiron at 1:08PM :scared:

    I have been meaning to do this combo for quite some time. Needing some me time today I decided to tackle it. I knew that I had to drive out to Picketpost first otherwise the temptation to just go home after Flatiron would be too much. Superstition was quite alluring this morning, however, with the cloud cover that lingered across the ridgeline.

    Arriving at the trailhead I was the only car there besides a FS truck. I started up and much like is always the case for me, I blazed a path from the slick rock area to the top. This time, however, I went up a brand new area for me. When you reach the top of the slick rock there is a drainage to the right. I started up that and wow, it turned into an adventure. Lots of climbing, lots of exposure at times, and lots of cliffs. It was fun but really slowed me down.

    I hustled back down the mountain, stopping a few times to look at some interesting rocks.

    I made it to Lost Dutchman and was shocked that the parking lot for Siphon Draw was nearly full. I figured I wouldn't run into many people on a weekday. I counted around 55 people before I lost count on the way up. Up top I talked to a few friendly faces and then made my way back down.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Today seemed like the perfect time to check this one off of the list; and probably the last day I'd have the weather on my side to do it before Kilimanjaro. I started up around 7ish in the morning. Ran into a few familiar faces on the way up.

    Reaching the second saddle I had a bit of difficulty locating the actual trail. Everything is so overgrown that it makes it hard to see. I started cruising once I found the trail and made it to 5057 in a little over 3 hours. I hung out on top of 5057 for a few minutes then made haste on my way back.

    I unfortunately had a run in with a cacti and had to pull up to pull out the spines. It was just superficial damage and away I went as I still had several miles to cover. I reached the point of the ridgeline that I believe is the most photogenic and reach for camera, that was attached to my hip belt... but wasn't there. It had fallen off during the pit stop and now I was faced with the daunting task of retracing my steps to find it. I made my way back through the barren slick rock section about a mile from 5057, trying to retrace my steps. I couldn't find it and decided to turn back and follow the trail as best I could... and about a minute later, there it was. Disaster avoided.

    I really need to come up with a better strategy for these high AEG hikes. I cramp up something fierce on these. If I picked my leg up past a certain point it would start to cramp. I drunk 32oz of powerade and a ton of water, 2 packages of gu, and several of the honeycomb thingamabobs. It is something I hope to solve before Kilimanjaro as the summit night is something like 15+ miles and 4k of AEG in the first handful of miles.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Tagged the Gatekeeper on the way up and down. I have been meaning to tag these two for a little while now. I have been horribly sick (as sick as I was in Africa a few years prior) this past week. Some sort of URI and I knew that I wouldn't be able to go fast. I wanted to go out into the Superstitions, however, so off trail would force me to go slow.

    The slog up the drainage from the saddle is not fun right now. It is very overgrown. The views of Flatiron and the surroundings are pretty incredible though.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5

    I was going to go exploring but I woke up with a pounding headache. Typically, I'd pop a couple ibuprofen and be on my way. I am curious, however, how I would react to hiking with a headache (for Kili purposes). I made it to the mountain by around 7:15ish. It was a relatively warm morning, yet cloudy. Thankfully the rain stayed at bay with the exception of a few sprinkles.

    The early start allowed me to avoid most of the crowds. Upon descending I ran into a friend who was celebrating a milestone birthday and also his 100 ascent of Flatiron!!
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5

    Broke in the Fenix 3 HR I received as a gift from the wife. The thing is pretty neat, providing tons of data to pour over.

    Trace amounts of snow could be found on the way up. The bulk of the remaining snow is on the backside where the Reverse Flatiron route meets the saddle. It should remain for the next day or so for anyone interested. Super busy on the trail today.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Well, as most of you are probably aware now, the Mining Camp has closed their parking lot to hikers. There is a sign up now that says you will be towed if parked there. Anyways, this is the reality now. So I had to come in through LD until I find an alternate location to park. I thought about Jacobs but that adds 2 miles to the hike each way. I come here for an intense burst of exertion, not a lazy stroll like I get on SOMO.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    This was the first hike of summer break! May has been a dud of a month for me as far as hiking goes; between the end of the school year, moving classrooms, planning a wedding; hiking took a back seat. I haven't made it out as much as I would have liked but I have made the most of those opportunities. I am just about to the pack weight I'll have on Whitney in a few weeks so I am happy with that. I am not happy, however, with just how out of shape I currently feel. The legs are heavy (the added weight definitely is in play here; but so is the hiking only on weekends) and the breathing is labored at times. I am just getting over a sinus bug (a going away present from the 6th grade class that nearly almost had me lose my voice during the promotion ceremony) so that has a part in it; I just really need to dial myself back into hiking mode. Thankfully, with summer break here, I should be able to do just that.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    On the way up I came up with a great idea for Whitney if my fiance can't make it. I am going to attempt a sunset summit, after setting up camp at Trail Camp, and then a sunrise summit the next day. I surmise that it will definitely be a mental and physical challenge and decided to up the ante today on the mental part of things. Generally when I am hiking, when I am done - I am done. It is kind of hard to explain but my body and mind can sort of just reach the end occasionally and it is hard to get them going again. On the way down today I hit that point when I scampered up to the Gatekeeper on the way down. I proceeded to plod down the mountain but at Jacob's Crosscut I decided to build some mental endurance. I turned around and started racing back up towards the Gatekeeper. Made it back up and then headed back down the trail. It felt good.
    The Gatekeeper
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Today was my first time out since a pretty amazing spring break week that saw numerous miles tick away in the Superstitions. It was hard going for the most part as my legs took quite some time to get going. On the way up I tagged the Gatekeeper.

    I didn’t run into any familiar faces today, just lots and lots of strangers. It was also the first hike I’ve done without an ankle brace since the fiasco on February 21st.

    Overall, the hike was quick and sweet with the biggest payoff coming at REI afterwards. The Mt. Whitney lottery was held recently and I was fortunate enough to win an overnight permit. I previously won this permit back in 2014, but a grade 2 hamstring strain (on the last day of school) rendered that trip unfulfilled. My fiance has expressed that she may want to join me on this trip (have a 2 person permit) and as such would need a pack. I picked her up an Osprey 36l Sirrus using my dividend. Even if she decides not to hit Whitney with me in June, at least she has a nice overnight pack for around here!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Mining Camp Trailhead
    2011-10-03 FREE access via Mining Camp
    Drive to Mining Camp
    General area access map

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) - 48 min (37.3 miles)
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) - 1 h 51 min (110 miles)
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) - 2 h 44 min (183 miles)
    page created by syoung on Nov 18 2015 4:02 pm
    128 GB Flash Drive... $14
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