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Peak 5325- Picture Mountain Quad, AZ
mini location map2014-10-21
45 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Peak 5325- Picture Mountain Quad, AZ 
Peak 5325- Picture Mountain Quad, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 21 2014
Hiking2.50 Miles 1,002 AEG
Hiking2.50 Miles   2 Hrs   38 Mns   1.01 mph
1,002 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Picking up from where I left off on the Peak 5356 triplog, I continued north along the saddle. From there I had mapped a GPS track to loop around to the back (north) of Peak 5325 before climbing to avoid the rocky southern side. But when I realized I'd drop well down into the drainage near Del Shay Spring before climbing a longer slope, I decided to stay along the same topo line as long as I could before turning toward the summit.

Although thick with vegetation, by following elk-trails and cow-paths I was able to avoid the worst as I traversed the slope. Along the way I spotted a brilliantly-colored kingsnake sunning itself on a boulder. Realizing it would probably take off before I could get my Olympus camera (the quickest to access) out, pruned on and zoomed in with a very slow zoom, I opted to use my Canon with a very fast zoom. Unfortunately I couldn't get the zipper open before the snake began to move into the brush. The instant the camera was on I was zooming and shooting photos but only the last photo had any focus... of the last few inches of tail. OK, nothing to see here... move along.

By now I'm scanning the slope for a good route but I don't like what I'm seeing... similar to the chute on Browns Peak only no chute. When I noticed old fence heading up the slope I figured I'd try to follow along and see where it took me. Since it only lead up the steep slope and very little wildlife (or cows) had walked along the fence, I couldn't stay close to it for all the buckhorn, prickly-pear, cat's-claw, agave, century plants, but I tried.

I got so focused on the immediate terrain to avoid the dangers that before I knew it I was into the rocky slope. Ok, I'm here, let's see if I can find a route up. The first part was quite scary because all it took was to bump the wrong rock and the whole slope may break loose. Twice I had to avoid rocks that broke loose as I used them to pull myself up, and one time abut a dozen rocks broke loose as I pushed off with my foot.

So by now I was being VERY careful wherever I placed a hand or foot. Only after the rocks broke loose below me did I look down... and I wished I hadn't!
No more looking down, just take it one step at-a-time. When I checked my GPS to see if I was heading directly toward the summit or off to the side, I found I had barely 25 feet horizontally to go along with 150 feet of elevation. But I was stopped by a sheer wall so I was forced to drop back down a bit, then climb through one of the few trees on the slope to bypass the wall. Once past the tree I saw the route straight up was now quite doable, setting my mind at ease.

The summit itself was a large rock just above the rest with a somewhat flat top. Before climbing up on it I made sure it was stable to allow me to do a 360 pan when shooting video. It was stable, but as I was shooting the video a quick gust of wind hit and for a moment I thought I was going to get blown off but realistically that wasn't going to happen. But after the scary climb it took me a while to feel somewhat comfortable. And now I'm kicking myself for not taking a photo of the summit rock itself.
For the descent, having had issues on the rocky ascent route and not wanting to look down as I descended, I chose to follow the route I had originally mapped out. While it felt safer (from falling, not from sharp vegetation) it was no easier and of course was much longer.

I dropped down all the way to take a look at Del Shay Spring (just a trickle) then followed the drainage all the way up, which was the easiest part of the hike because there had been so much cow traffic the path was quite wide.

For the final descent back to the Cherokee I chose the large drainage that passed Rattlesnake Spring and fed into Horse Canyon to the west. I chose it because by then I was following a well-used elk trail heading down, only to find it veer off horizontally at the first big pour-off, after which route-finding became of prime importance. For each successive pour-off the detours seemed to get thicker with thorny brush and eventually I was back to the loose pea-gravel... only to slide down into a prickly-pear cactus. I spent about 5 minutes pulling out each individual furry spine out of my pant leg as well as the tongue of my boot. Thankfully I had just bought a new Gerber Crucial multi-tool and it performed admirably.

After that mishap I seemed to find the best route and made very close to a bee-line back to the Jeep. But for all that ease, now comes the drive back out on FR 649. :-({|=

To document the drive, I stuck my GoPro 3+ on the front bumper mount and shot close to an hour of video. I managed to aim the camera perfectly so the video turned out good but it will take a while before I get it edited into a 5 minute highlights YouTube video. I also plan on a making a full 1080P HD DVD.

I split this one with Peak 5356 triplog so I'm posting all the photos here on HAZ.

Peak 5325 summit panorama video is here:
Named place
Named place
Del Shay Basin Del Shay Spring
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