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Tortilla Peak 4918
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mini location map2017-01-08
21 by photographer avatarjacobemerick
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Tortilla Peak 4918Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 08 2017
Hiking8.60 Miles 2,776 AEG
Hiking8.60 Miles   6 Hrs   45 Mns   1.50 mph
2,776 ft AEG   1 Hour    Break
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Kicked off 2016 by climbing up Malapais, only makes sense to start this year by hiking it's brother from a different mother.

Started at TH the same time as some hunters and they offered a ride down 213, which was most awesome. The driver mentioned that he did some trail maintenance on Peter's Trail over the last few months, and sure enough, Peter's Trail was in great shape. Seemed chilly out, though I didn't see a lot of frost. Creeks were running good. Found Kane Spring. Now, on to the exciting stuff.

Cutting off Peter's Saddle toward the peak was tough. The ground is pretty crumbly and, since I chose to circle around a little hill, I wasn't able to plan more than a few dozen yards in front of me at a time. Lots and lots of brush to deal with. Seemed to take forever to reach the first saddle past Peter's. Along the way I thought I saw a hint of a trail and two cairns, wasn't able to pick out anything else from here though, so I'm going with tricksy bighorns. Following the ridge wasn't that bad, soft ground but relatively clear. Saw two good routes up the ridge, chose the second one which turned out to be Joe's route (at least I think so, there was a tree assist). Once I got on top of the ridge I took my time, avoiding the tippy-top, and thus avoided the inevitable cliff-outs. Past the ridge there was a solid brushy climb, then some harder rock and sporadic brush, then the final (and surprisingly difficult) last few yards to the very peak. I like it when a peak is a real peak. Malapais just felt like rolling hills up there, and no one knows what Bluff Springs is up to.

Peak log was pretty empty. After the searches for Jesse in 2012 there were a few groups in 2013, 2014, no one in 2015, and a sizeable group in Jan 2016. And that's it. I signed it, thought about looking around for plane parts (totally forgot about them on the way up, peak log reminded me), decided to lounge and eat some crackers instead, and then headed down for a northern exit.

Northern route was peaches and cream compared to the south. For a while, anyways. It was flat and easy sailing for a time, and then there was a twenty foot drop and things got all boulder-y and overgrown. Spent most of the time dancing along the eastern slope below the ridge, might have been easier to top off. Super slow going until reached the saddle between 4622 and 4484. Climbing out of the saddle was easy, skipping on them flat red boulders, and made semi-good time to 4581. Not much to see here, just awesome views back at Tortilla Peak. The drop down 4581 to the north was easy at first, then got harder and harder as I got closer to the creek that would (mostly) take me out. So much bloody cat claw. Once I reached the base of that creek the cat claw went from knee-high to over-my-head, so that was neat. Eventually it was worth it. Found what I was looking for, an old dam on the little creek, though there wasn't any clues as to it's use. Something something ranching, probably. Or maybe LDM. Let's go with LDM. Followed tanks for a bit, and when creek got bush I pulled up the northern bank, rounded a saddle, and then had a fun 500' descent with a few cliff-outs and even more thick vegetation before finally finding the road. Got back to PHX shortly after three, perfect timing to get some final weekend stuff before it's not-weekend again.
Named place
Named place
Kane Spring

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Kane Spring Quart per minute Quart per minute
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