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Elephant Head North Face, AZ
mini location map2014-03-09
31 by photographer avatarGrottoGirl
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Elephant Head North Face, AZ 
Elephant Head North Face, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 09 2014
Hiking5.87 Miles 2,567 AEG
Hiking5.87 Miles
2,567 ft AEG
 no routes
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Baja Arizona Hiking
This past summer I ran into one of the old timers of the Southern Arizona Hiking club and he put up a challenge...ELEPHANT HEAD - NORTH FACE via the Staley-Peterson Route. I kept in touch with him via email and sorted out a few details such as where to park, what ridge to take, and then a picture with few lines drawn on it. Excited to try something new, we scheduled the hike and invited our mentor, John.

We worked out that John and his friend would start about an hour before us due to the 20-30 year age gap. We headed up the ridge and found them right where they said they'd be. From there the route finding and difficulty of the hike would be an equalizer. John let us go in front so we could have the adventure of finding the route ourselves.

The ramp we traveled up got narrow in a few spots. In one spot we had to crawl under a small tree. Someone knocked down a rock in that section and we heard it falling for several seconds without stopping. Then we had to traverse a section with dead and alive bear grass that made for a slippery chute down hundreds of feet. It was breath taking to say the least.

Finally, we hit the notch in which we would turn and travel towards the peak in an upward fashion. The others scurried ahead but I stuck with John since he was our guest. He mentioned that they had missed the route. We climbed around this tree and then ended up at a dead end just a predicted. We had to back track looking for the correct route that would take us up. John had a smile on his face as he watched us looking. He knew exactly where we should go but he wanted us to remember the moment and the route. I know I will!

The next section was probably a true class 4 climb. I might let someone convince me it was even class 5! It went straight up and there was a lot of exposure below. John's friend said it was the toughest climbing he had ever done. He had to leave his hiking stick behind and we shuttled it up the climb to him.

We had one other spot that was really difficult. It was a slabby section that had very few hand or foot holds. Joel scrambled up and set up a handline which a few of us used.

At the top we rejoiced in feeling alive!!! Nothing like some adrenaline coursing through the veins to make you live in the moment and really enjoy the sense of accomplishment. We had just gone up a route that very few had traveled and may have been lost in time if John hadn't shared it with us.

We replaced a lost elephant that some animal had likely carried off from the shrine. During lunch, John giving us a couple more challenges for the future!

What an awesome day! I can't explain how much gratitude I feel that John would take the time to pass on some of his vast knowledge of hiking in Southeastern Arizona!
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Poppies on the flats.
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