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Cave Trail #233
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mini location map2017-02-26
7 by photographer avatarKBKB
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Cave Trail #233Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Feb 26 2017
KBKB
Hiking8.74 Miles 2,526 AEG
Hiking8.74 Miles   7 Hrs   17 Mns   1.20 mph
2,526 ft AEG22 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
I plan on leading a hike of the Robber's Roost Loop in a few weeks and decided that I had better take a look at the descent from West Boulder Saddle to Fremont Saddle in addition to the Cave Trail, neither of which I've done before.

We hiked Peralta to Fremont Saddle and then hiked the trail leading to West Boulder Saddle. We continued on to the "roost" on the Robber's Roost route. The only issue we encountered on this section was a line of cairns leading up too early. This may have been a shortcut, but we didn't pursue it.

Having done this section, our return to Fremont Saddle was uneventful. Route finding was considerably easier than I expected it to be from reading the Dacite Super Loop description. (Having a good GPS track helps immensely with navigation.)

Upon our return to Fremont Saddle, we started on the Cave Trail, deviating to the NNW to enjoy the view of Weaver's Needle. Route finding on the Cave Trail was surprisingly easy and there weren't any technical challenges until we reached the top of Devil's Slide. Neither Bob nor I found this section to be difficult or even scary, but there's a convex slab ("Bald Man's Forehead") which has enough exposure to (perhaps) be terrifying for one of the hikers that will accompany us on the Robber's Roost hike in a few weeks. Now, to be perfectly clear, this section is not hard. Despite seeming to be steep (which it really isn't), there are some really good footholds nicely spaced all the way down. That said, despite the good footholds, it may seem next to impossible to somehow who is terrified of moderate exposure.

Once we got to the bottom of this section, the trail continues in a southerly direction. However, we noticed a trail w/ cairns leading north. We followed this trail and found that it went back up some lower angled slabs a little further north and then west. The trail then continued south leading us back to the top of Devil's Slide.

So...

For those who don't like the steepness or exposure of Devil's Slide and Bald Man's Head / Forehead, there is a less steep, less exposed way down. From the top of Devil's Slide (which, if you take the slide leads downwards towards ESE), climb upwards perhaps six feet or so to gain some ledges which will lead you north. As you hike along these ledges watch for a low angle slab leading downward. When we where there, there was a prominent cairn in the middle of the slab. Then, make your way down the slickrock slab using whatever path you like the best. (There are several good options here.) At the bottom of the slab, you'll find a bush lined trail leading east. Continue over broken terrain w/ some slick rock in a southerly direction (following the cairns) until you reach the bottom of the Devil's Slide / Bald Man's Forehead area. From there, you'll be able to continue on the Cave Trail.

The rest of the Cave Trail leading down to Bluff Springs Trail was largely uneventful - we did get off track a couple of times, but managed to figure it out without much difficulty.
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218 Photosets

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