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Four Peaks / Peak (2) 7642
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mini location map2011-10-09
19 by photographer avatarclairebear
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Four Peaks / Peak (2) 7642Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2011
Hiking   15 Hrs   20 Mns   0.00 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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I first heard about the 4 peaks probably over a year ago. * (Probably a few months after I moved here from Ohio and started to meet more outdoorsy people. I wanted to go immediately. So when Liz mentioned that she would be doing the 4 peaks again I jumped at the chance to go.

We left Phoenix around 6 on 10/8. I had spent the morning climbing at Atlantis and came home early to get ready for the Peaks. My lovely friends Liz and Joey picked me up, a quick stop at the store for provisions and we were on our way.

We camped right at the base of the trailhead and shared a fire with 2 very nice guys from Tempe and their labradoodle. Cooked dinner, looked at the stars, and called it a nite when we realized it was midnite or so.

10/9- up at 7am. Packed up camp and officially started the hike at 8:10 am.

While understanding the challenge that the 4 peaks presented... I was still optimistic for a smooth 10 hr hike... maybe 12 hours....

Beautiful fall day and we hiked quickly up to the saddle. I cached some water, enjoyed to view, and stopped for a photo of some bear poo.

I enjoyed the climb to the summit of Browns and had moments where I was really glad to be a climber and comfortable on rock walls, naively hoping things to come would be this easy (ok it wasn't that easy, but it was not terribly sketchy. It was manageable and enjoyable. Liz pointed out her desire to avoid climbing this nighttime, and I agreed.

Roughly 2 hours later we enjoyed the view from Browns Peak and looked across the way to our next challenge ~ Peak 2

This part of the trail was definitely more route finding, bush wacky, and paths full of scree. Everything was still beautiful and impressive. I loved the ridge between peak 1 and 2, aware of the crazy drop off on the right-hand side. Who knew that it would be only the first time we would see it that day and we would actually be watching the sun set there so many hours later.

So, I think we are making good time. It was about noon when we enjoyed the view from Peak 2. It seemed like it was only us on the MTN (except for the guy on Peak 1 who was there and told us he was taking our picture. Oh and some people in the saddle. ) we were pretty much alone. Spirits were still high, and the day was still young. We took pics, signed the summit log and ate. But still, it was time to go. Per Liz, it could take us 2 more hours to get to Peak 3. This was the hardest part of the hike. It was perpetually bush wacky, too many loose rocks and I was constantly checking my footing so I didn't slip on loose rocks. We continued to push and we were up pretty high. Soon though, the trail ceased and we were before smooth rock wall with an immediate drop off. So... we scrambled downward on a bit of slab and traversed to right where the slab dropped off to onto more solid trail. The only way here was down and we were hoping that if we hiked downward a bit we could find a way to keep pushing forward to peak 3 without losing too much time. However the more we walked, the more I doubted this would present us with a good path. It seemed like we were walking towards a drop off. Joey confirmed this, as he pushed ahead to check things out.

So we had to back track and then go lower on the mountain where it would hopefully lead to a smoother trail to Peak 3. It did not yield to our wishes. We continued to push toward peak 3 only to have the routes give way to huge deathly drop offs. We could just see Peak 3... seemingly not to far in the distance but still terribly out of reach. Below us the view of the base was full of brambly and dead branches. The only way to go was forward or backwards.

Sometime around 4:30 I ran out of water and we realized that we would have to turn back the way we came, maybe not in that order.

We came to the first major landmark just as the sun was setting. We watched from the ridge between the first and second peak. Its a relief on one hand to be back someplace familiar, but still having miles to go onward in darkness. At this point I was just really tired and accepting of the possibility that we would be sleeping there. But once we would go on a familiar route my motivation would return. A good sign when we saw the familiar tree with rock stuck in the branches. Getting to the top of Peak 1 again for the first time was a huge relief, but from above and in the darkness the chute down took a second to find. It was just a sketchy down climb that looked like a steep drop off. Going down the chute in the darkness was not as bad as I expected, but out of sheer exhaustion I keep pushing on the familiar trail not thinking twice about down climbing and scrambling down rock walls. (*** Liz, you are awesome for recognizing the ducky that lead to the trail towards brown's saddle. There was no way I could've caught sight of that)

At about 11:30 PM 3 weary hikers floated back to the Subaru and drove back to Phoenix. I am so grateful to have had this experience with two incredible people. Thank you Liz and Joey for being so strong and composed. Most of all for your persistence to keep pushing until we found the right path. Cheers to you both!
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