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Four Peaks Mother Lode
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mini location map2008-03-22
21 by photographer avatarwallyfrack
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Four Peaks Mother LodePhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Mar 22 2008
Hiking8.00 Miles 4,060 AEG
Hiking8.00 Miles   12 Hrs      0.67 mph
4,060 ft AEG
 no routes
The Mother Lode - a tale of peril.
We started out early on a Saturday morning. The meeting time was set at 4:30am but because of some confusion we ended up waiting until 5:00am. We started out shortly after 5:00am to see if we could access FR143 from route 87. As we approached the route 87 and Bush Highway intersection we saw a DPS blockade. We asked if we could access Fr143 but we're told no. We decided to try the back way in and headed down Bush Highway to the marina. The Parks Ranger at the marina told us the 4wd road to Fr143 was at the end of Butcher Jones road through a green gate. So, we went off to Butcher Jones and through the green gate to the dirt road. At some point we ended up off the main trail and on some quad trails but I have a Jeep with not 1 but 2 HAZ bumper stickers so I know I can drive anywhere. We plow through and make it to FR143. It's easy going for now and a bobcat crosses in front of us and runs up the road and off to the right. That was cool to see. We (11) arrive at the trailhead around 7:00am and begin the journey with na've optimism. The hike up to Brown's Peak is a breeze. We all completed Brown's Peak around 8:30am in good spirits and pick up 2 additional hikers (John & Aaron) on the way. There's no summit log hear so we press on toward peak 2. We started down a crevasse toward peak 2. There are a few loose rocks, a little sliding and some bushwhacking but no problem. Now we start up toward the peak. There's some rock climbing, a few scrambles and a little more bushwhacking. The terrain is a little more intense than peak 1 but 2hours later at about 10:30am we all summit peak 2. Everyone signs the summit register and we discuss the route and off we go. Dana & Mike are in the lead. They route find a way down the back of peak 2. The crease has some very loose rock so we take turns going down to avoid flying debris. The group gets spread out and we loose the leaders. Ken reaches for a branch and it breaks. He slides down a 45-degree grade about 20 feet. A few bumps, bruises and a dose of fear but overall he's ok. After a few terse moments we find the lead group. We notice a lone hiker going along the route below us. It's Dan from our group. He got a late and start at caught us in route. We find a trail marked with Cairns and follow it for a while. It's seems easy but don't get comfortable. We scramble up some rocks and start across another false peak. John and Aaron decide we have mental issues and choose to be smart and head down. We fail to comprehend their advanced insight and continue on. We scramble down and up again toward peak 3. This climb seems a little steeper than the one going to peak 2. The drop offs seems longer. I grab a large block shaped rock and start to pull. It shifts and so I let go. It's strange but you can smell the odor of burnt rock. The same odor when striking to rocks together. I steer clear of the loose block and continue up a slope that's beyond my comfort zone. I see the top of the climb. Holy smokes! The top is a knife blade ridge. The drop looks to be about 1,000 feet down. Where did everyone go? Ok, I look to the right. There's a ridge about 10 feet wide. I see a bush with an 8-inch ledge. I get two good handholds, grip tight, don't look down plant my right foot and step onto the ledge with my left foot. Dan comes back and offers support for those behind me. He's standing next to the knife blade ridge like it's nothing. I got my freak on now and got away from the edge. It's now about 2:00pm and 12 of our group summit peak 3. We rest a little and sign the summit register. We've heard the scramble from peak 3 to peak 4 isn't too bad. They lie just to mess with you. We start down toward peak 4. The group breaks up into two trying to find the best route. There is no best route but is does seem easy compared to peak 3. We end up scrambling and bushwhacking up toward peak 4. We wait on a false summit before peak 4 for group 2. Two hikers decide to skip peak 4 and wait near the crease between peaks 3&4. 10 not-so-intelligent hikers summit peak 4 around 4:30pm and sign the summit register. We regroup and start down the crevasse between peaks 3&4. The scramble down seems easy. There's relatively no exposure and no fear of certain death. The group cruises the amethyst trail and meets near the intersection of Brown's Trail. There are 3 hikers that are late. The sun is setting and 3 other hikers head back to find them. Tim is dehydrated so they give him a quart of PowerAde and some vitamin I. It's dark and the gang hikes out with headlamps glowing. We all meet back at the trailhead at 9:00pm. Amy loses her keys but after 15 minutes they are found and we're on our way. We decided not to try the quad trail in the dark and head out El Oso road and around through Miami. On the way out John and Aaron have a flat so we stop and make sure there spare holds air and off we go again. Finally at about 12:30am Sunday we're back to the meeting place in Fountain Hills. The Sheriff meets us and he's looking for Tim from our group. His roommate reported that he hadn't returned from the hike. We let them know we're alive and we all head home exhausted. Thanks to Dana and Mike for route finding and keeping us moving. Thanks to Dan, Amy, Tanja, Lori, Beth Scott, Tim, Ken, Betsy, John and Aaron for assisting, enduring and surviving.
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