|Peak 5128 - Superior Quad, AZ|
|Peaks 5128 & 4971 - Superior Quad, AZ|| |
Peaks 5128 & 4971 - Superior Quad, AZ
|Hiking||4.10 Miles|| 4 Hrs 46 Mns ||0.92 mph|
|2,516 ft AEG|| 20 Mns Break||20 LBS Pack|
||no linked trail guides|
|The three peak bagging hikes in the area over the last month and I still had these two left to do, so rain or not, with plan in hand I was raring to go.
Driving north on Forest Road 229 from US 60 just before Superior it was obvious it had rained pretty hard but the surface was still pretty solid so I wasn't too worried about driving back out later... as long as there wasn't a gully washer when I returned.
From FR 229 I drove up the power line maintenance road until its very end which would be my trailhead. It wasn't raining at this point but I knew more was coming so I made sure to bring my rain-gear along. Rain gear that is, if you mean a so-called a waterproof hooded wind-breaker is rain-gear.
Less than 15 minutes into the climb and the rain was upon me... giving me just enough time to put my windbreaker on before the downpour hit. Ok, let's get on with it.
I chose a route following one long ridge up to the saddle where I would turn north toward Peak 5128. Most of the route was quite steep but with quite a bit of dirt/grass cover it wasn't too bad... just watch out for the hidden rocks that roll over on you.
When I reached an area of white rock, which I figured would be reasonably easy going when I mapped the route (and on earlier climbs had zoomed photos of the area) it was quite a different thing in the rain... after slipping numerous times before finally getting up one section, I was now into seriously-slow mode, taking plenty of time to check for traction between each step. But there was a point when I realized I have to find a better way than up and over this part of the ridge. So I chose the lesser of the two steep slopes on either side, bypassed the worst of it and pretty soon I was at the saddle. Yes!
Ok, which peak do I climb first, north to 5128 or south to 4971? Although slightly farther, 5128 had a nice grassy ramp the last few hundred yards to the summit so that made for an easy choice. (With more rain to come I figured I'd only bag one today, so might as well make it the easier of the two.)
Up and down along the grassy yet rocky ridge I made it up to Peak 5128 pretty easily,but the rain was coming down so hard at the summit I had to do real quick video and photo pans before the camera lens was covered with drops. Oh yeah, and guess what, I had nothing still dry to wipe it off with... I'm used to carrying a thoroughly wet washcloth in a zip-lock bag to wash my face of salt-sweat off, but of course having that in my pack was of no help when I needed something dry!
One peak done, will I do the next one today? By time I left the summit of Peak 5128 I was drenched through-and-through so I couldn't get any wetter if I continued, but being as Peak 4971 was steeper with a lot of large (slippery) boulders I wasn't sure if I wanted to take it on. So I decided to check out the Horse Pasture Tank (by now a small lake) to contemplate my next move.
Within just a quarter-mile of the summit of Peak 4971 (along with 500+ feet of elevation gain) I figured I'm this close I might as well git'er done! The only thing swaying me the other way was that if I returned on a clear day, obviously the views and photos would be better. Oh well, I may return again anyway.
Only 1/4 mile to the summit? Well trying the bee-line route didn't work too well so I was reduced to long detours around the largest boulders but eventually I looped around to approach it from the easier side.
Slightly better conditions on the summit of 4971 compared to 5218, but being more exposed on top of a boulder, the wind was still a factor. So another quick video and photo pan and I headed back. Learning from the ascent, I descended the first part from the summit on the easier side, then looped around for the descent back to the saddle.
Back at the saddle I contemplated two routes:
1. Back down the same as my ascent route... including passing over the slippery rocks
2. Down the drainage
I chose door #2. Even with the thick brush I could already see, the possibility of pour-offs/impassable terrain AND the possibility of a gully-washing rain...
No matter, it's a different route and I always like making loops instead of out-and-backs so onward and downward.
Somewhat like my descent from Kings Crown Peak a few weeks ago, in many places I simply dropped down into brush and waited for my feet to hit solid ground, or at least stop my downward motion. Finding a few tall cairns I figured there had been a trail here at some time, but after a fire it was pretty much overgrown and almost every time I tried following it I ended up having to backtrack.
But eventually I reached what I can only guess was an ancient mining road and followed what was left of it as much as possible back to the trailhead. Back to the Cherokee I noticed someone with an ATV had been there and made a mess turning around.
On the drive back out I could see the result of half a day of steady rain and the road was quite greasy, made more so by the ATV rider who seemed to really enjoy making a real mess in the mud. So by time I was almost back to the 60 there was mud all over the Cherokee, even on top. I should have taken a photo of it like that but after driving through a few large puddles on solid ground (old pavement?) being still so wet, much of the mud came off.
Still, by time I got home what mud was still there had now solidified, making for an hour-long wash to remove it all before Tracey would let me park it in the car-port.
Although my lens was wet for many of them, with 90-plus photos I posted them in two sets on my website so will do the same here on HAZ.
Peak 5128 photoset:
Peak 4971 photoset:
Peak 5128 summit panorama video is here:
Peak 4971 summit panorama video is here: