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Pajarito Peak
2 Photosets

mini location map2016-10-09
59 by photographer avatarAZHiker456
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Pajarito PeakTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2016
Hiking6.68 Miles 2,682 AEG
Hiking6.68 Miles   4 Hrs   27 Mns   1.66 mph
2,682 ft AEG      25 Mns Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My return from the peak was very ‘clean’, making it a good out-and-back type of ‘official route’, as detailed in the Description I wrote. My approach on the other hand left much to desired, [at least as far as a ‘model’ route is concerned]:

First I missed the turn for FR 4197 which resulted in a somewhat steep, catclaw filled bushwhack from FR 4195 over to FR 4197.

Next, [at the saddle area after the Morning Mine], I inadvertently started heading up the ridge to the SE instead of dropping down into Walker Canyon from the saddle area as I had intended, adding 0.20 miles. Ironically, [had I continued on up the ridge and then dropped into Walker Canyon], I probably would’ve been better off, given my less-than-average skills when it comes to negotiating loose footing. Although my natural athleticism [and trekking poles!] typically keep me on one/two feet, the terrain put me in my place today, sending me straight to my ass. Luckily, [just like the last “fall” I took back in August while descending Red Boy Peak in the Sierritas], it was more of a small spill vs a full out, ‘head over heels’ type of fall; [and once again the slope was steep enough that my ass wasn’t very far from the ground when I started to fall].

Finally and best of all was when ‘summit fever’ told hold about 0.15 miles after I’d entered Walker Canyon. Instead of staying in the canyon and waiting for the much more gradual ridge that I detailed in the Description, I decided to bank up a little early… talk about an ascent from hell. :lol: With somewhat loose footing in combination with a very steep slope, this was the type of uphill where you couldn’t stop without literally going into a downward slide. There were a few routes that helped with the brutal climb up but they definitely didn’t look human. My guess was they were created by water run-off and/or the resident animals; several sightings of mountain lion prints soon after was definitely confirmation of the latter. The brush was on the moderate end of the brush-factor spectrum, with some light areas and other areas on the heavier side; and luckily most of it was of the non-thorny variety. For the most part, any type of brush that did not have thorns was extremely welcome in terms of something to grab on to… although with that being said, I had an allergic reaction to one of the shrubs that definitely didn’t make the ascent any easier. While it wasn’t anything serious, my eyes suddenly started watering to the point where I literally could not see; and I had to resort to blotting them with one hand while pulling myself upward with the other. While I don’t have allergy problems per say, I’m guessing that contact of certain flowers/plants/shrubs directly in the eyes/month/nose was a bit much. Luckily it didn’t last for very long.

After finally making it up onto the ridgeline, [to the NE of UN 4998], the rest of the way to Pajarito Peak was as smooth sailing as it gets. Despite some tall grass, the ridgeline is very well routed, and part of the ridgeline, [starting near UN 4998 and down to saddle area just to the West of CCC Tank] even has a faint jeep road not shown on the topos. The views from Pajarito were just spectacular… definitely as awesome as those from Atascosa, possibly even better.

The return trip was much more pleasant. The relatively gradual descent off Pajarito’s immediate NW ridge, followed by angling West onto a minor ridge that leads back down into Walker Canyon, was very smooth sailing. Walker Canyon was awesome, and I’ll definitely be going back at some point to explore it and grab some of the other fun-looking peaks nearby. And, while the climb out of Walker Canyon was on the steep side, [there were a few places where is was impossible to stop or slow up without sliding backwards…], it was a breeze relative to the torturous slope I’d selected to exit the canyon on the way to the peak.
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