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7559 - 7571 - 6768 Loop, AZ
mini location map2021-12-07
21 by photographer avatarLJW
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7559 - 7571 - 6768 Loop, AZ 
7559 - 7571 - 6768 Loop, AZ
Hiking23.25 Miles 5,860 AEG
Hiking23.25 Miles   9 Hrs   42 Mns   2.75 mph
5,860 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
This was a trip four years in the making. Four years ago I first went up Barnhardt, and in my amazement I wondered among other things if it were possible to climb the mountain that looms over the canyon on its north side, Peak 6768. That one as well as the higher mountain 7571 that's connected to it and only comes into view higher up the trail. I couldn't find any reference to anyone summiting 6768, so I came up with this route. Looping around from Barnhardt on Half Moon and Rock Creek, I climbed the crest of the Mazatzals from more or less Rock Creek Falls to Sandy Saddle, topping the two summits on the way and out-and-backing 6768, before returning via Sandy Saddle, MDT, and Barnhardt.

Don't have much to report on Half Moon and Rock Creek other than to say the former is lost to the grass for some short distances at the moment that might be confusing, and latter is in absolutely perfect shape. I left Rock Creek where the trail switchbacks out of the creek a short distance above the falls. The way I came there was a little scrambling, and overall it was only a light bushwhack. It felt steep as anything. Following the eastern edge of the crest rewards with huge views down Rock Creek and up close views of the giant white cliff wall above. Once the terrain flattened out the route entered a cliffside forest of juniper and ponderosa pine. If i hadn't been looking at it off in the distance I'd have sworn I was on The Rim. 7559 is a forested summit but an interesting, untouched spot in the Mazzies.

The ridge walk to 7571 is open and awesome. Big views in every direction, leading to a jaw-dropping panorama from the summit. Really interesting angle on Mazatzal Peak, and much like from that summit most of the state is visible. It was the best peak of the day. Mine was the fourth entry in the register since it was placed 11 years ago.

Dropped 900ft and climbed back up 200 to gain 6768. No register, no benchmarks. It was as good as I had hoped. If you drop 200ft to the east like I didn't you can get a look down at lower Barnhardt. It was a really interesting view of the upper Barnhardt Trail and felt surprisingly close to the lookout/campsite across the canyon 3.5mi up Barnhardt Trail.

I climbed back up to 7571 for one last look and then down to Sandy Saddle. There are strips of grass between the manzanita and brush, so the climb down was pretty clear. It is prohibitively steep, however. Sandy Saddle Trail was around for a second or two at the saddle, and then I was in the creek most of the way. After trying the section from saddle to MDT, when I do this again I'd drop from 6768 to Sandy Saddle Trail around Casterson Seep. The conditions are even worse that way, but it's a lot shorter and is probably worth it despite the bushwhacking and rock hopping, and it looked like from the summit the last mile or so of Sandy Saddle by Barnhardt is still around.

Raced up MDT and down Barnhardt trying to beat the sunset. The Barnhardt washout is still there, though the rest of the trail is in tip-top shape. Didn't see anyone all day, but there was a car at the TH at the end. The road to the TH keeps getting rockier.
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Mazatzal Peak  Mazatzal Wilderness
 Meteorology [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Sunrise
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Isolated
Mostly all gone but it felt more like fall than winter. Lower Barnhardt only place still finishing up.

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water less than maxwater less than max Barnhardt Creek at Half Moon Trail Light flow Light flow

dry Big Kahuna Falls - Mazatzal Wilderness Dry Dry
Pools in creek below

dry Rock Creek Falls @ 6,100 Ft Dry Dry
Pools below and above
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