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Mazatzal Peak Summit
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mini location map2022-03-02
26 by photographer avatarLJW
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Mazatzal Peak SummitPayson, AZ
Payson, AZ
Hiking20.10 Miles 7,232 AEG
Hiking20.10 Miles   12 Hrs   18 Mns   1.95 mph
7,232 ft AEG   2 Hrs    Break
 
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Had a few goals for the day:
- Get back on Mazatzal Peak
- Check out the snow melt in the drainage to the north
- Use the same drainage to get down to Barnhardt Canyon
- Ascend Peak 6768 from the south
Started at the Barnhardt TH at sunrise with one car already there. Went clockwise to keep most of the climbing out of the snow.

Followed basically the same track up Suicide Ridge as in 2020. It was much less of a bushwhack this time around, and I managed to avoid the worst of it. It is still as steep as ever to make the ridge. More and more snow climbing up, toward the bottom a few inches with drifts toward the top up to a foot deep. It started to get slippery as the sun got going overhead. Fifth summit and first time ever meeting folks on the mountain above the trail. Talked the mountains for a little and didn't see each other again until 9 hours later for a fireside beer back at the trailhead.

Visibility on top was great, the weather perfect. Sauntered over to Mazzy Peak's twin 7832. Had never made the effort before and now it's unskippable for me. Descended from that peak to the drainage through the forest which had a solid foot of snow nearly the whole way down. There's rocks and boulders hidden underneath and I got to sliding and falling a few times. Strongest flow of water there I've seen, but it was frankly dangerous descending through the steepest parts of the chute. It was covered in deep snow and very slippery to down climb through, especially not knowing what was underneath. The consolation prize was all the cascades and the big water fall up top.

Went straight past the trail and down, and along the way I passed Sandy Saddle Trail's old track, which is now non-existent around Casterson Seep. The drainage is the easiest way down there. After a couple more waterfalls, the canyon cliffs out, so I climbed to the east through bands on 5923. It pretty clear of brush, though tough climbing in the heat of the day. Got down to Barnhardt Canyon where only two massive pines remain.

Climbed through the grass up 6768. Easy to avoid bushwhacking, only a little scrambling, but it is super steep from that direction, short as it may be. Better on a weekend when there's an audience for the effort. Clear blue skies and a top tier view of Suicide Ridge. It's all so much closer together than it seems. Climbed up to 7571, which is a similar story for the terrain. Grassy, though not as steep. Nearing 7559 the snow deepened until it was six inches to a foot descending. Sliding on the snowy jasper is a hell of a workout.

Rock Creek had snow until after the falls. As good of a flow as I've seen there. Started to hustle, being back on trail. Ran out of water on Half Moon and it made for a long 4 miles. Got back with only ten minutes by headlamp.
 Named place
 Named place [ checklist ]
[ checklist ]  Mazatzal Wilderness  Rock Creek
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