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Buzzards Roost - SW Superstitions
8 Photosets

mini location map2012-01-07
37 by photographer avatarssk44
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Buzzards Roost - SW SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 07 2012
Hiking4.00 Miles 1,950 AEG
Hiking4.00 Miles   7 Hrs   30 Mns   0.53 mph
1,950 ft AEG
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Buzzards Roost - Alcove Saddle & Loop

First off, I must give credit where credit is due... Exploring Buzzards Roost would not have came to be, had it not been for Angela (tibber). Seeing Buzzards Roost up close and personal has been a dream of Angela's for some time now. I was recently brought into to loop last week. Hearing her description of this alluring butte immediately perked my interest. I've been looking at this location from the summit of Roblas Butte for some time now. I was on Roblas Christmas eve so the memory was fresh in my mind.

Let go for it! I'm ready! I was hired on as the guide for this mission. She needed help with logistics and off-trail route finding and I was happy to lend my services. My fee is low... Just feed me diner afterwards. Wink. I love this stuff!

Saturday was awesome! Hiking Buzzards Roost was actually one of the best hikes I've done in awhile. This was such a cool place to explore. I was so hoping to reach the summit, however the odds did not seem to be in my favor. This thing is big and nasty from every angle. I will tell you right now that I am veeery persistent when I put my mind to something. I was going to attempt summiting this butte if even the slightest hint of a light to moderate class-3 route presented itself. Within a few minutes of rounding the north side, I saw a promising steep gully route leading to what looked like a high saddle. Hank thought I was crazy. Ha... It looked vertical to him. I scouted out the initial climb and determined it would likely work. It looked like a sheep game-trail led to the top. I hollered back my findings to see if there were any takers. With apprehension they decided to come up. I went back down to help show the trail and keep things safe. We were off! The route was a little sketchy in places, but good overall. Our efforts paid off big! The saddle that we reached was only about 150 vertical feet from the true summit with zero access to the top. It was a beautiful saguaro lined bench with intricate alcoves lining an upper cliff face. Just incredible... The views off the front side were shocking and very scary in places. It is imperative that you choose your battles carefully in places like this. It's an unforgiving setting to say the least. After a quick look around we took a well deserved lunch break overlooking the southern Superstition Wilderness. So cool! After lunch we explored the upper alcoves and headed back down with plans to attempt a loop around the butte.

With the exception of the alcove saddle, much of my planned route ended up following an existing old trail with obvious cairns. People have been coming up here, however the reason for the trail was initially unclear. It appeared to end at an elevated view overlook on the lower south edge. Continuing around the backside revealed that the trail did not end at all and looked to be heading towards a possible summit route. I was getting more and more excited with every turn. The trail could not be denied. This thing is doable! We rounded one more uphill turn following a cliff edge and there it was... Holly cow is that steep! It was a rugged solid rock gully route reaching for the sky. I wanted up there so bad! It looked like a solid class-3 route with possible unknown obstacles near the top. Time and unwilling hiking partners prevented me from a summit attempt on this trip. I will be back very soon and that's a promise. To be continued...

Buzzards Roost is a spectacular destination that is loaded with character. The views are wonderfull and the butte is a playground. The low alcove saddle is just amazing and I can only imagine what awaits me on the true summit route. What really seals this destination for me is how completely void of people it is. It's so unspoiled and pristine. I don't think we heard one ATV or nearby gunshot all day. The Hewitt Canyon area is overrun and yet this place is empty. The difference is the State Trust Land. The access road and everything surrounding Buzzards Roost is State Trust Land. Accessing State Trust Land "legally" requires a permit. You can't play dumb out here. There were obvious signs just outside of Queen Valley and a quick look on area maps reveals the boundaries. Tonto National Forest was just to our east and the Superstition Wilderness was only about one mile to the north. It's a protected island. My kind of place! Thank you Angela for making this hike become a reality. I've found a new off-trail hideout.

Eric (ssk44)
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