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Mount Elliott 6980
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mini location map2016-03-06
65 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Mount Elliott 6980Prescott, AZ
Prescott, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 06 2016
Hiking5.20 Miles 1,997 AEG
Hiking5.20 Miles   3 Hrs   53 Mns   1.50 mph
1,997 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After recently completing a different route up Mt. Elliot, [which proved to be A LOT more bushwhack than he bargained for…], Peter drafted up a different route for me, which was sure to be easier, [at least according to satellite imagery]…

Things started off very well. From the parking area, it was an easy and beautiful stroll of about 1.4 miles along a jeep road to the area of the Eugene Mine. The road runs alongside a beautiful drainage that one can stay in for added off-trail fun. After logging just over 30 miles and just under 20 hours over the previous three days, I was very thankful for the 1.4 miles of jeep road and had no desire to jump into the drainage.

The Eugene Mine site was really neat. Although it wasn’t the type of mine that one could potentially enter, [at least not from what I saw], part of the mine was literally built right in a drainage. Old pieces of metal pipes and other artifacts were scattered about the area of the mine/mine tailings.

The planned route involved continuing up the drainage with the mine, which would eventually curve to the NE and lead to the summit of Mt. Elliot. Just after passing this dam-like structure with pipes, there was a very short segment of beautiful drainage with large boulders and almost no brush… initially I was reminded of the awesome Babad Do’ag drainage in the Catalinas… however, no sooner did I think I’d be in for a pleasant and easy drainage ride up to the summit when things got really brushy, really quickly. Initially I blasted through the thick spots of brush, and occasionally my efforts were rewarded with a few steps that were free of brush; however, as I continued up the drainage, the brush-free / less brushy spots became fewer and farther in between. If things didn’t improve, the remaining 9/10ths of a mile to the summit would’ve literally taken another 1.5 to 2 hours at least, provided I didn’t get brushed out entirely.

Needless to say, when I spotted a faint animal route leading East out of the drainage, I was on it! Initially I was aiming for the ridge to the SE, relative to the one I ended up taking. From a distance, it appeared to have many brush-free spots, but reaching it would’ve been a brushy battle. As I started to ascend from the drainage toward the ridge to my SE, I noticed a fairly well-defined animal route leading up the ridge to the NW of me. From what I could see of it, there were a few brushy spots in the beginning, but after that it appeared to get much better. I decided to change course and go for it.

Once on the animal route, it was definitely more of a mental challenge than a physical one… it wasn’t like I was following someone’s successful GPS ascent tracks from this approach; and I wasn’t exactly sure what more was in store for me between my current location and the summit. Having to turn back/not make summit would’ve been disappointing… but the thought of having to come back down the pumpkin I went up was not particularly pleasant…

Luckily, aside from a few spots in the beginning and some occasional patches of brush thereafter, the animal route up the ridge proved to be a pretty straight shoot to the summit. Towards the end, there were even some boulder crags that I’d normally consider ‘super fun’ to scramble up… however, after 30 miles and 20 hours over the previous three days – and rather strong wind gusts to boot – I was thankful that the the boulder hopping segment wasn’t too long… even prior to the boulders, my hiking pole had saved me from facing planting more times than I can count; and I’m typically extremely agile and surefooted.

Like the other peaks I’ve bagged in this area, the summit of Mt. Elliot did not disappoint. The views were beautiful in all directions. I found the register that Peter had placed by the highpoint and had fun looking at all of the goodies he loaded it with. No one else had signed in since Peter on 2/24/16. The bottle of Vodka he left for Chumley was still there… as was the XXXXX with BobP’s name on it. If BobP wishes for me to publicly disclose what the XXXXX is, I will do so… otherwise, you’ll have to bag Mt. Elliot to find out!

The return trip would’ve been a blast, had I not been solo, [or even solo but with more zap in my legs]. Like with much of the ascent, the descent also proved to be more of a mental grind than a physical one… the bushwhack portion of the route off Mt. Elliot that Peter had drafted for me was slightly different than the one he took; in other words, I wasn’t exactly following the GPS tracks of a successful descent from this approach… add some cliffy sections and THICK brushy spots to the mix and it was a bit unnerving to say the least. I also wasn’t entirely sure when I’d pick up trail again… I thought Peter had mentioned something about hopping on another trail for part of the way back but I couldn’t remember for certain, [and Cal Topo was not showing any trails near the area in question].

As I continued to descend, I thought I made out what appeared to be a trail a short ways below, but the brush was too thick for me to be certain of it. Ironically, I found myself battling through one of the thickest patches of brush I encountered that day, and possibly that weekend, just before stumbling upon what proved to be trail. I can’t remember the last time I was this thankful to see trail!

On the way back, I saw more mine tailings… in fact, the trail literally goes up and over one of the tailings. While crossing over, I happened to glance up at the hillside to the East and noticed what appeared to be a stone wall [or remains of a stone structure]. I took a photo of it but did not have the energy to go investigate.
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