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Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson Summit
211 Photosets

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mini location map2017-01-16
13 by photographer avatarchumley
photographer avatar
 
Old Baldy Trail #372 to Wrightson SummitTucson, AZ
Tucson, AZ
Hiking avatar Jan 16 2017
chumley
Hiking10.96 Miles 4,085 AEG
Hiking10.96 Miles   5 Hrs   24 Mns   2.36 mph
4,085 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 no routes
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was looking to experience some Arizona winter firsthand, and the forecast over the weekend had called for up to a foot of snow over the sky islands so I set a plan to do Wrightson on Monday. Radar estimates showed that the Catalinas and Rincons had received ample precipitation, but the Ritas not so much. I decided to head up anyway.

Not knowing what to expect at the higher elevations, I loaded up my pack with snowshoes, microspikes and all kinds of layers of clothing.

It was sunny in Tucson but the surrounding mountains were all in low clouds. The top of Wrightson was visible and I was hoping for visibility and dramatic cloud views from the top. That never panned out as most of my climb was in thick clouds with just some occasional breaks. It snowed most of the time above 8500 feet or so, but didn't really rain at lower elevations.

Snow first started appearing around the 7000 foot elevation and there were a few inches on the ground by 8000 feet. The 7000-7500 foot stretch required full rain gear as the snow in the trees was melting and it might as well have been a steady downpour. Higher up it was still frozen and I was able to take the rain layers off again!

When I reached the saddle I knew I wouldn't need the snowshoes. I was surprised there wasn't more snow up top from previous winter storms, but it was clear that the exposed areas were bare before this weekend. Some of the sheltered areas had evidence of older snow drifts and the switchbacks up were the most treacherous part of the day.

The trail up here is so good though that it's really an awesome trail for winter travel. I would absolutely do this one again! It was a holiday and I wasn't alone in my thinking, and I encountered 6 others on the day, four of whom summited ahead of me. Those eight sets of tracks made my trip down absolutely ideal for microspikes and I was able to cruise back to the trailhead in 1:40, after arduously taking 3:05 to get to the top!

Fantastic day. This is absolutely on my winter radar for future trips.
Named place
Named place
Mount Wrightson
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33s over 45s
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chumley's
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