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Pusch Peak via Pima Canyon, AZ

no permit
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Guide 3 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson NW
3 of 5 by 1
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Difficulty 2.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.34 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,919 feet
Elevation Gain 2,447 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,501 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 3 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.85
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
4  2015-12-28
Pusch Peak Traverse
9  2015-12-28
Pusch Peak Traverse
Author Mountain_Rat
author avatar Guides 10
Routes 91
Photos 550
Trips 192 map ( 1,893 miles )
Age 56 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Mar, Nov, Feb, Jan → Early
Sun  6:08am - 6:29pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Culture Nearby
Pusch Whack
by Mountain_Rat

This is a great example of an alternate route to a frequently visited peak in the Catalina range. This is a true off trail hike. There is no trail, there are no cairns, just a ridge line to follow.

You’ll leave the Pima Canyon trailhead as usual, traveling east. Right at a half mile from the trailhead, you should arrive at a large slab of rock, sloping uphill to your left, which should work itself into a very distinct ridge. If this is the case, turn left and leave the trail, following the slab upward. From here to Pusch, the general rule is to stay on the ridge.

As you depart the Pima Canyon trail, it is important that you look up at Pusch and the ridge that will connect you to it. There is one pivotal feature, about 1/2 of the way up that should be your interim guide. It is a distinctive rock spine that is easily seen from any point along your journey. Now that you’re briefed, let’s go.

Head northish, ever mindful to keep on the high ground, even though the terrain may seem flat at times, remember the rule. You will come in and out of brush and shin daggers throughout the trek. This isn’t too bad, but I wear pants, gloves and long sleeves for this one. Once on the ridge for just short of a mile, you’ll reach the base of the ‘rocky spine’ mentioned earlier. There, you’ll want to pick your preferred method of climbing the scree field that guards its approach. Your path is definitely right (east), as there is NO passage on the other side. Be careful here, as it’s very loose. Now past the scree field, you will feel prematurely relieved, as once again, the terrain would seem to be more mellow. Don’t get used to it, as you will soon be confined to the ridge (a rather narrow one at times) until you reach the peak.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2015-12-24 Mountain_Rat
    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 Triplog Reviews
    Pusch Peak via Pima Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Took this one with Roy. Roy picked me up at the Pima Canyon parking lot at 8, and we drove up to the Linda Vista TH. Before leaving the TH, we had already adopted a hiker headed to the peak. Shortly into the journey, we we passed by a younger guy who was trotting all over the area with his video camera so he could show all of his friends what they were missing out on. We would see him a few more times by the peak. We pushed HAZ on them as if we were salesmen, but there could be a recruit or 2. After a snack at the peak, we parted company with our new acquaintances, and hopped off the south side of Pusch. We made our way down the ridge line without issue, but very slowly. We added a new attraction to this ride, this time around, by climbing the spine of rock that you pass by half way down the ridge. Not tough, but a nice added feature. After a short break here, we finished out the ridge section and spilled out onto the Pima Canyon trail. We took another break here so that I could strip off 80% of my clothing (long pants, long sleeves, long socks, all had to go), then we polished off the last half mile.

    Ahh. Good times, good times. Thanks again Roy. We'll catch another soon.
    Pusch Peak via Pima Canyon
    rating optionrating optionrated 3rated 3rated 3
    Pusch Whack:

    I had two goals today; first to reach Pusch Peak from Pima Canyon (needed that one off the list), and second to scout out a route from Pusch to The Cleaver as a future hike.

    I had little information on this approach. I know it’s been done, I know to follow a ridge line, and I know what my destination looks likes. I plotted and calc’d the route, knowing the distance, elevation, approximate speed and water needed. What my spreadsheet missed was the symphony of scree, cat-claw and lechuguilla :-k . There is no trail beyond the first half mile, so all I could do is put my head down and slog through it. :doh:

    This approach is a painful one, but adds so much perspective to Pusch Ridge and Pima Canyon. Though the air was extremely hazy today, I did snap a few pics to offer some idea of the views from this angle.

    Once to the top, I felt that the worst was behind me, but that was not to be the case. Turns out navigating through all the elements of this ridge line isn't much faster downhill than uphill. :-s

    I averaged about 0.8 mph going up and about 1.0 heading down. My personal worst. All said and done, it held my interest, gave me a good work out and provided a much needed bloodletting. :)

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Iris O. Dewhirst Trailhead
    Drive north from Tucson on the Oracle Road (US 89). Turn east on Magee Road and drive to the parking area and trailhead at road's end.


    From Tucson, drive north on Campbell Avenue until you reach Skyline Drive. Turn left on Skyline, which will eventually become Ina Road. Continue on Ina Road until you reach Christie Drive. Follow Christie Drive north until it dead-ends at Magee Road. Turn right on Magee and follow it until you arrive at the Iris O. Dewhirst Trailhead on your right.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 110 mi - about 1 hour 44 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 9.6 mi - about 19 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 253 mi - about 3 hours 50 mins
    page created by Mountain_Rat on Dec 24 2015 4:24 pm
    1 TB Flash Drive... $40
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