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Buzzards Roost - SW Superstitions
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mini location map2012-01-14
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Buzzards Roost - SW SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 14 2012
Hiking2.50 Miles 1,485 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles   4 Hrs      0.63 mph
1,485 ft AEG
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Buzzards Roost Summit Route (Warning)

I can only imagine what awaits me on the true summit route...

That sentence is from my prior triplog. Ha! I'll tell you what awaited me on the summit route... A near death experience! This sucker is BAD. The Buzzards Roost summit route is a dangerous and demanding class-3 scramble with a short mild class-4 section near the top. The short class-4 section is primarily due to exposure with risk of death. If you plan to tackle this route, expect very steep scrambling, very loose rubble/silt, and a short cabled exposed section that demands a cool head. The cable section is the summit gate keeper. Be warned that if you shoot up that cabled line, you are fully committed to this hike. Going up is easy. Coming down is another story. The cable section almost stopped me. About half way up, I realized the exposure situation. The cable section is a 25 foot +/- crowned rolling bolder climb with very small holds for your hands and feet. It closely hugs the far east edge of the butte and angles towards the outside. The high exposure is not obvious at first. The left side of the climb rolls down to a skyline edge. That skyline is hiding the initial edge of a 300 foot death drop. The realization of this situation hit me like a freight train. My spook threshold is fairly high. I glanced down and to my left and was immediately overcome with fear. My heart rate shot through the roof and my legs turned into rubber. The realization sunk in that this spot was capable of killing me. This was my fist taste of exposure. I had to quickly shake it off as best as possible. I was too messed up to back down and going higher would fully commit me. With great reluctance I chose door number 2. The cable section finishes with a narrow and tight switchback that exits onto a pleasant flat bench below the summit. This nice grassy bench is a good spot to calm down and clean out your pants.

The final segment leading to the summit is smooth sailing. The summit is surprisingly intimidating. Its just hard to stop thinking about heading down. Standing on this towering summit is humbling to say the least. I had a hard time enjoying the grand epic views. All I could think about was "getting off this rock". I signed the registry, took a few pics, had a fairly long conversation with God (serious prayer), and began heading down. The only thing that was going to get me down that cable was a calm and cool head. Freezing on that cable could have serious consequences and I knew it. With focused tunnel vision I began down. I would not allow myself to look over to the east skyline edge. The mostly moderate incline allowed me to head down facing forward with my right hand on the cable for balance and piece of mind. The iffy traction on the bolder was very unsettling. This spot is just so #$% spooky. Without incident, I nailed the cable downclimb. THANK YOU JESUS! This Arizona country boy has lived to fight another day. The remaining steep gully scramble is no picnic, but after the cable it's a welcome sight.

This hike really humbled me. Buzzards Roost taught me a lesson I wont soon forget. I don't care to ever see another high risk exposure scenario. I don't have the balls for it and I don't care to put my life at risk. The lower alcove saddle from my prior visit is right up my alley. I absolutely loved that hike. The true summit route is for select experienced individuals. That upper cable segment is probably a non-event for people that frequent this type of terrain. If your cool under fire and are looking for a challenging new summit fix, this destination will not disappoint. If your like me... Stick to the alcove saddle. It wont kill you.

Class-2: More difficult hiking that may be off-trail. You may also have to put your hands down occasionally to keep your balance. May include easy snow climbs or hiking on talus/scree.

Class-3: Scrambling or un-roped climbing. You must use your hands most of the time to hold the terrain or find your route. This may be caused by a combination of steepness and extreme terrain. Some class-3 route are better done with rope.

Class-4: Climbing... Rope is often used on class-4 routes because falls can be fatal. The terrain is often steep and dangerous. Some routes can be done without rope because the terrain is stable.

Class-5: Technical climbing... The climbing involves the use of rope and belaying. Rock climbing is class-5.

ISAIAH 6:2-3 / MATTHEW 11:28-30
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