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Little Harquahala Trifecta, AZ
mini location map2014-10-22
27 by photographer avatardesert_boonie
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Little Harquahala Trifecta, AZ 
Little Harquahala Trifecta, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 22 2014
Hiking5.72 Miles 2,468 AEG
Hiking5.72 Miles   4 Hrs   28 Mns   1.83 mph
2,468 ft AEG   1 Hour   20 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
With cool mornings a constant now, it is a perfect time to hit up desert areas with the intention of being done before noon. Well today was one of those perfect days to hit up a new area and try and get up and down three peaks successfully.

The Harquar Benchmark, Martin Peak, and The Needle had my interest for the day so off I went. With another classic Stern interview to brighten the morning, I was fully motivated for this adventure. I arrived in the area just after 6am and hoped for the best driving in. Like her sister range to the north, (Granite Wash Mts.) the area is cholla filled which had me shaking my head because I did not want to take a barb hit today. Plenty of prospecting in that area so side roads are faint, but there. I found one that would take me to a good starting point on the eastern side of Harquar. The sunrise was hitting the top of the peak which gave some great light to the area. I gathered my things, picked my route and up I went. Along with plenty of cholla to dodge, this area has some of the most jagged rock I've been on. A fall in this area will easily give anyone some nasty gashes, so note to self, do not fall. (Luckily I remembered that note in my old age today) A nice steep, loose, and jagged ridge got me up to the summit in under an hour where the views were incredible. This area just seems to get better with each visit and as usual, I find myself finding a future area to hit up. Up on top I scout my approach for Martin Peak and head on down virtually the same way at a speedy scree surfing speed.

At the base of Martin Peak there are old mining ruins which give the area a nice vintage feel and something to see before heading up. The approach I took was pretty straight forward going up one of the old mining roads, seeing some old filled in shafts and then simply heading up. I went up both summits as they are listed as the same height. Apparently the eastern summit is the official one which means going up both offers a nice scramble in between peaks. Once on top of Martin, I again was in scouting mode for an attempt up The Needle. I noticed a faint road that led towards the base which meant less of a hike and certainly less road walking for the day.

Well the drive in towards The Needle is an adventure itself, if anyone wants to do it, make sure you have high clearance and 4 wheel drive if you want to make it in far. I got to the end of the road which was just over a half mile away and with The Needle right in front of me my stomach started to turn at the sight of her. Up top there was certainly going to be some spice so naturally I couldn't wait. Again there is much cholla to dodge, loose scree to slow your progress uphill, but every time I kept looking up I was getting anxious for this summit attempt. On the map it said there was a natural arch on the NE side which I wanted to see, if it is on the map it has to be something to see right?
Finally at the saddle and approaching the 2400' mark I was on the northern side of her and in an area where looking up gave me both chills and the thought it was going to be done. Where's this arch at? I traverse more to the NE section where it should be, I hit a portion of the ridge sticking up and look up. There it is, probably ten feet or so wide? With the arch sighting checked off the list I look at the final approach for the summit. The first 100ft were doable, the last 50ft I don't know. There is going to be a move or two to make it happen but I felt it would be okay. Up I went, the rock is extremely jagged but the holds are there, I get up the first steep part to the part I thought would be the toughest but there was a line which would offer a good route without opening myself up to some of the exposure you want no part of. Boy this is going to be a terrible down climb though. I make a move, see the sunlight as the top is right above me now. WTF!!! I knew right away when I look to my right that the high point is the opposite summit and I just climbed up the wrong one. Luckily, the opening between them was generous and offered an easy route to get down one and up the other. YES! The true summit is mine. Some of the drop offs on this peak are ridiculous and this summit was worth the adrenaline rush I got. I check the summit log, and what do you know, I am the ninth person to sign it, in its fifteen year history. I gather myself and decided to try a different route down. Something caught my eye in between the Needles, a nest up in a spot that only something that can fly can reach. I think it was an old vulture nest, I didn't notice any movement in it, and it just looked old. What do you know, on the way down I was able to find a better less exposed path and was off the top portion without any hassle which was a relief. The temps were now in the low 90's in the sun and I was glad the traverse back down wasn't a long one. Back to the Jeep, back to the fun drive out, back to reality. Another good one in the books.
"Never Satisfied"
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