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Peak 2881 2460 Loop, AZ
mini location map2016-12-04
31 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Peak 2881 2460 Loop, AZ 
Peak 2881 2460 Loop, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 04 2016
Hiking6.20 Miles 1,913 AEG
Hiking6.20 Miles
1,913 ft AEG      5 Mns Break15 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
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I started from Apache Trail a short distance south of the Apache Gap pull-out and followed old Forest Road 1817 all the way up to the ridge southeast of Peak 2881. While following the road all the way makes for easy route-following, with the loose rock and slightly longer distance I don't recommend continuing on it from the saddle up to the ridge as the loose rock. Instead I'd recommend a beeline from the saddle to the end of the ridge at the SE base of Peak 2881, by steadily climbing while traversing the slope it goes pretty smoothly... if you're careful through the cholla fields.

Arriving at the end of the ridge SE of 2881 just keep an eye out for the rock cairns leading around to the right (north). Unfortunately with cairns scattered widely side-to-side there isn't one preferred route, so I'd recommend looking as far as you can see for the most prominent cairn and pick your own route toward it and repeat as required. Whether you want to take a trip up to the summit or not, it's a good idea to seek a higher route to avoid the drainages.

Although I generally followed the route in Ted Tenny's Goldfield Mountain Hikes book, I turned up toward the summit a bit sooner. At the summit I took a few photos and a panorama video before checking out the summit log. With a few entries over 10 years old, I was surprised my June 2013 entry was missing so I included it with my newest entry.
(It appears someone took the small notebook, tearing out and leaving only six pages.)
From the summit I headed out along the ridge to the north. I didn't recall it being quite so rocky when I was here in 2013 so it was a bit slower going than I expected. I almost began my descent at the largest Saguaro along the ridge but not able to see far enough down, I kept going. (Looking at it from below later in the hike, it appeared to be a good alternate.)

Where the ridge made a jog to the right I turned left, following a series of game trails down to a saddle, where I stopped for a lunch break. Afterward, realizing I was well behind schedule I decided to skip Bagley Tank and cut directly SW over to FR 12 and continue on my original plan from there.

While following FR 12 I scanned the terrain of the ridge to Peak 2220 where I had planned next, I realized I'd be better off to skip it and return when wearing boots with a little tread anyway... I've been milking the last miles out of three pairs of boots, all with between 300 & 400 miles. I'd already had a few occasions on this hike where I lost grip due to the almost smooth tread so it's time for this pair to be relegated to trail hikes.

So... instead of turning west, I turned east along my planned to be the return route. I followed a relatively unused trail I had traced out using Route Manager's satellite view until it turned south. I probably bailed out on it a bit soon as I tried to take a more direct route up to the flat area just east of Peak 2460.

What first looked like a nice shortcut traversing the southeastern slope of Peak 2460 led me to a deep drainage which didn't look that bad until I dropped into it and began to climb the other side. The slope was not only not very inviting, it was downright nasty! It was very steep, with loose pea-gravel and/or powdery silt along with cholla plants just waiting grab on. It was like an ever-changing labyrinth, requiring anticipation as much as anything... planning a nice route between cholla plants didn't mean I could follow it. Whenever the ground gave way any plan was thrown out the window and it sometimes took contortions to avoid sliding into a cholla. I must have been limber today as I managed to avoid thorny encounters the whole hike.
Once out of the drainage, the rest of the return trip was easy enough as I just followed my track from 2013, with just a few adjustments due to vegetation growth over 3 years.

It turned out to be a fun hike with plenty of great views a few challenges along the way, the worst of which I would avoid next time.
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