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Big Horn Peak
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mini location map2012-02-04
16 by photographer avatarsbkelley
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Big Horn PeakSouthwest, AZ
Southwest, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 04 2012
Hiking6.00 Miles 2,100 AEG
Hiking6.00 Miles   7 Hrs   30 Mns   0.80 mph
2,100 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
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Well it was worth the wait. After staring longingly at Big Horn time after time traversing I-10, an opportunity opened up with Ken and Justin to visit this mountain. Having hiked it before from its "standard" south slopes and face, Ken wanted to see what was on the north. From where we started, it sure looked steeper. We headed across the flat desert, wrapping around first the west side of the peak, and then climbed a broad gully on the northwest side, reaching the 2800' level in short order. Nothing sketchy yet, but we could see the cliffs and sheer faces above would prove tougher to negotiate. We found a good ledge system directly beneath its north face and traversed out onto the dramatic east face. Wow, what a view!

Time to contemplate our future. Sharp cliffs were all around us and we could tell we'd have to piece this puzzle together with patience. Ken and I first tried a face climb (maybe low 5th class), but without ropes - and more importantly, without being able to see what lay above - we nixed this plan. I spied a steep, but climbable, ramp off two gullies over from us that looked promising. It looked as if it could and should reach Big Horn's main ridge line. Horizontally, the top of the ridgeline was a few hundred yards away, but about 500' above. time for some fun :)

We downclimbed a short bit and found a narrow ledge that led to the ramp, scurrying up that with ease. A sharp drop off to the east of the ramp's edge kept our attention. After surmounting a short knife ridge, we came across our crux. Two options: a short face-climb or a chimney, which had a few hundred feet of exposure off to its right side. The face climb was technically harder, and Ken took that way while I stemmed up the chimney, feeling the rush of the void as I worked up. Justin and my friend Bo followed after we made our way up. Good stuff...

From there, the going was steep but nothing technical, allowing us to gain the main ridgeline just a short ways below Big Horn's summit. Incredible views in all directions and the air was clear today - what a sight! We topped out and watched Ken and Justin practice setting up a rappel anchor, and Bo soaked in the view of his first Western AZ summit. I broke down the anchor for them after they descended, and we all made our way down the east face route, completing a nice Tour de Big Horn.

We got cliffed out once on the descent, and once again Justin and Ken rappelled while I found a route around for Bo and myself. Back on the desert floor, we enjoyed the easy terrain back to the car.

What an adventure! Big Horn will not disappoint...
Canal - Aqueduct

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