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Kitt Peak
7 Photosets

mini location map2016-07-09
24 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Kitt PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jul 09 2016
Hiking12.35 Miles 3,000 AEG
Hiking12.35 Miles   4 Hrs   41 Mns   3.19 mph
3,000 ft AEG      49 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
With some small but definite improvements in my equilibrium over the past week, I decided to give Kitt Peak a go and hope for the best… [cuz after a one-way drive of nearly 2 hours followed by a one-way ascent of 5-6 miles, failing to make the official summit was NOT going to be an option]. While over 95% of the hike is on a dirt road with excellent footing, my one concern was the final ascent to the official summit, which is noted as being a “short scramble” in the HAZ hike description, [but from the looks of satellite imagery appeared to be more of a full out, hand-over-foot type of boulder hop]. When all is well, boulder hopping is normally a top strength, but since the acute onset of the equilibrium issues, it’s been a number one weakness. In fact, just one week earlier, I thought for a split second that I was going to crack my head open while attempting to get past just two boulders behind the Kendrick Lookout Tower en route to the helipad…

…fortunately, [despite satellite imagery being right on the money], this week was a lot less eventful. I parked right at the start of the dirt road, about a mile further down from the “official” HAZ start. My Forester could’ve easily gotten me to the closer start, but my objective for the day was 12-15 miles, and the gradual up-slope of the first mile looked all too enticing.

Out for a little blood [after having failed miserably to give my legs/lungs even a slight burn on my previous two summit hikes], I busted out a first mile of just under 15 minutes, [which included a brief stop to throw some crap in my hiking pack]. After that, the grade increases considerably; and, [not wanting things to feel too much like a race], I decided that I’d be content with averaging just under 20 min mile pace, including stops. I split 6 miles in 1 hr 56 min 34 sec – exactly at the point on the summit where you’d either continue around the final turn along the paved road to the right, toward the 4m telescope building OR head left to bag the official highpoint of Kitt.

The funny thing was, [not thinking I’d need to spot check the GPS on a dirt road hike], I’d been focusing on the telescope building and not paying attention to exactly where the official summit was located… so, [after barreling around the final turn to the right toward the telescope building], I proceeded to “boulder” up what I thought was the summit. Given that my climbing/bouldering ability is still extremely impaired, I didn’t think I was going to make it and really lucked out with some tree branches nestled in between the boulders to grab on to. Even taking an extra 2-3 minutes when I would’ve taken just seconds under normal circumstances, I was still going to make it in under 2 hours… only to find that once on top, the effort was for naught… the paved road I had just barreled up /around separated me from the true summit. Amazing how I had overlooked this. :roll:

Before heading over to bag the official summit, I went inside the telescope building, which was really neat. Luckily Route Scout managed to stay sane, but MayMyHike went totally bananas during mile #7, which was the mile I was inside the building. Regardless of GPS app, I subtracted a few hundred feet of AEG… cuz that is literally one h#ll of an elevator ride to the top of that telescope building!

Next up was the official summit. There were a few very well defined routes leading toward it, but as I got closer, all appeared to involve some amount of hand-over-foot type bouldering. What would’ve been a graceful hop, skip, and jump to the top under normal circumstances probably looked liked I was competing for world’s most klutzy / unathletic ascent… but ‘succeeding despite feeling challenged’ [how I felt during the final scramble up Kitt] is certainly a step up from ‘succeeding despite severely compromising safety’ [how I felt 90+% of the time during my Elden & Kendrick hikes the previous weekend].
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