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North Peak - Mazatzals, AZ
mini location map2020-12-20
11 by photographer avatarLindaAnn
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North Peak - Mazatzals, AZ 
North Peak - Mazatzals, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Dec 20 2020
LindaAnn
Hiking7.46 Miles 3,418 AEG
Hiking7.46 Miles   6 Hrs   31 Mns   1.35 mph
3,418 ft AEG      59 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Drove to the Mineral Creek Trailhead via FS-414 starting from Rye. The road looks to have been recently graded, and is in excellent shape. If dry, any medium clearance 2wd can easily make the drive. In fact, other than the last turn to the trailhead, which has a little bit of a rocky dip, most sedans would probably be okay on the road.

Got started from the trailhead around 0800 to cool temps in the 20s, but no breeze. No jacket needed, and I quickly warmed up as North Peak Trail headed steeply uphill. Some water in the creek, which was nice to see. Parts of the trail are steep, with loose gravel type rock--not a big deal going uphill, but slippery on the descent later.

At exactly 3 miles, we turned left, leaving the established trail and headed off trail up towards North Peak. We headed up the ridge to the southeast, encountering plenty of manzanita as we made our way up the steep slope. Pushing through the brush while trying to get uphill was difficult at times. Once past the worst of the manzanita, it was still steep, but easier travel. The ridge curved to the south for a while, then southeast again as we scrambled uphill. The rocky scramble was quite enjoyable, and was my favorite part of the off trail. At one point, there was a 12-15' rock wall, which seemed intimidating at first, but there were two good class 2 routes through it. Going uphill, I took the route to the right (south), which was like climbing up some large 2-3' steps, but had good handholds. Descending later, I took the route to the north which was some slanted boulders, easy to slide down and had a little less exposure. Once past that spot, it was more easy scrambling. Nearing the summit, the rocks gave way to a more gentle slope, and it was easy to head south to the highpoint.

Took a snack break on the rocks at the top. There are great views in almost all directions, and the air was very clear today. It was easy to identify peaks and ranges in all directions, and you can see a pretty good chunk of the state. Nice breeze at the summit too.

Descending was easier than I thought it would be, although very steep, and I strongly recommend poles for this one. We generally followed the same route down, finding some better lines in places, and even seeing five or six cairns. For the final off trail descent through the manzanita, I stayed a little more to the right and managed to avoid the worst of the brush. My descent route is definitely a better one to follow than my ascent. Once back on trail, it was a pleasant three miles all downhill back to the trailhead.

Nice peak to get done, and great weather for it today. Didn't see anyone else, and no other vehicles at the trailhead.
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LindaAnn's
594 Photosets

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