The other other route to Mt .Ord
I first got the idea to find another route up Mt.Ord when I hike Slate Creek up to Mt.Ord. When I looked at the google earth maps, I noticed another road going down from Mt.Ord to Pumpkin Center. I wanted to go explore this other option. I studied my DeLorme maps and noticed that service road 22 from the Bushnell Tanks exit intersected this Pumpkin Center road. I made a couple of waypoint on my PC to guide me along the maze of spur roads and trails. The plan was to take FS 22 to FS 524 to an un-named trail that intersected the Pumpkin Center road. Then go past Eagle Peak and climb up Mt.Ord. I calculated the mileage to be about 8 ~ 9 miles one way.
We started off good. The forest road are now closed to vehicles. The FS signs said this was a 4x4 route back in the day. FS 22 was flat for a bit and it headed south, then it swung to east and Ord. came into view. Then we hit the FS 524 intersection. Now the road started to climb. We climbed pretty good for a while. Then we hit a gate. There was semi-fresh tire marks on the road. I figured with the Bushnell Tanks road /exit being closed, that someone came in from the Pumpkin Center way. FS 524 turned into a trail / nasty 4x4 road. Mt. Ord was closer and closer. The trail / road ended by this collapsed mine. We looked around and concluded that the road ended. We backtracked to see where we missed the Pumpkin Center road. We couldn't find it. My GPS showed that we were on top of it, but I couldn't find it. We decided to bushwhack higher to get a better view of the area. We climbed a couple of hundred feet, but all I saw was a wall of rocks with a metal pipe sticking out from the middle. We thought this might have been a cairn of some kind, but it lead nowhere. We then just bushwhacked straight up to Eagle Peak. It was brutal climb, there was brush everywhere. We got to the Eagle Peak and view was great. We could see the 4 peaks, Superstition and the Maztzal Mountains all within 180 degrees.
We seen a road come in from the east, but it disappeared behind a ridgeline. We did not see any road near Eagle Peak or below Mt.Ord. Now we were about 600 ~700 below the towers. We climbed on a couple of ridgelines and rock piles to summit Mt.Ord. We finally made it! The last 100 feet looked like an old road was there, but it petered out beyond the 100 feet. One the top, I looked around for a second road. I did see a another road by the ranger's cabin. It looked very well maintained. Maybe this was the pumpkin center road. At the top we hit the 9 mile point. We decided not to go back the way we came in. It was too steep to climb down. We took the FS 27 to FS 626. Then we saw a spur road going the direction of the beeline. We took that spur until it ended, then we headed towards a fence line. The fence line was pretty open and it followed the beeline. We cross under the beeline a couple of times, took a some other service roads and then wound up walking on the beeline back to the Bushnell tanks exit. This was a fun adventure, even though my legs are cut to shreds :)
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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.