A prickly and occasionally precarious bushwhack through great, craggy ravines. Every bit as cool (and nasty) as it looks.
I was worried we might have trouble getting in on the dirt roads, but they were in decent shape, and we were able to drive right up to the mountain in my buddy's little Toyota. From there we just aimed for the saddles, and didn't have any trouble finding the route.
Actually hiking it however was not so easy. It's steep, scrappy, and mined with chollas, and the last leg, between the third saddle and the summit, is an exposed scramble, littered with all sorts of loose rock
. I only made it halfway up that part - no shame, I hope, in playing it safe up there. My buddy was more comfortable, so I encouraged him to summit without me, and he banged out the that last 50 yards or so with what appeared to be little trouble.
The route down the Northern Gully was steep and brushy, but straightforward and relatively firm underfoot. There were a good number of dry waterfalls that required the old buttscoot. On the whole, I'd say it was my toughest bushwhack to date (and made tougher by some overzealous hanging out the night before
). But even without reaching the top there were great views along the way in all directions, and the jagged, almost violent topography was unlike anything I've hiked in the region.