Went up the standard way until just above the plane crash site. Traversed north across the large East-West Gully that comes off the last false summit and climbed the well packed snow on the side of the gully. The snow coverage is pretty poor up there considering its March in a strong El Nino year. The dutchman remains climbable but was nasty soft coming down and lots of rocks above the tree line. Crampons were helpful...I left the snow shoes in the car and didn't regret it. Snow in the forecast this week! fingers crossed...
We went up basically the way the route description says...on the way down one of the group and I took a detour to the peak just west of the high point. The climb up there was way more thrilling and rewarding than the actual high point.
We started at 9am...it was too hot for me by 1pm when we started down. We each carried at least a gallon of water and found it was not quite enough...starting to be concerned about snakes too...I may be retiring from desert hikes for the next 10 months or so. We'll see...
Went out to four peaks this weekend with my girlfriend and one of my best friends. We couldn't get out low clearance 2wd all the way up el oso rd so we stopped about 3.5 miles from the TH, loaded all our gear and head up the road around 10am on saturday. There were plenty of people at the TH...only a few people on the trail. There was snow pretty much the entire way, although the boot path was relatively easy to follow. We found a relatively flat and wind sheltered area to pitch our 2 tents at around 3pm. I went ahead to "scout" the rest of the route.
Once I reached the chute and saw it filled with snow and ice I couldn't resist going up (see pics). It was the warmest part of the day so I used the chance to kick solid steps into the snow. The section just to the left and out of view of the main chute was very icy and required some pretty gnarly moves to reach the summit. I did the Saturday ascent using just trekking poles (crampons and ice axe would be recommended although I don't feel any protection was really needed if comfortable dry tooling in the mixed ice/rock section above). I descended a gully to the slight NE of the summit through powder varying from knee to chest deep. One of my gaiters broke and my sock got soaked.
I returned to camp with the beta, ate dinner and survived a windy but overall pleasant 12 hours in the tent. At sunrise we awoke, ate, packed and discussed belay options for the other 2 party members. Once we reached the chute one of the other 2 opted to turn back for safety reasons. I continued on with the other. This time we both used microspikes for tractions and trekking poles for support. In quick time we reached the climbing sections above. With a few more heart stopping moves we reached the summit and enjoyed really great conditions for photos and gratuitous high 5s.
We again descended the NNE gully (swimming down the mountain really). Clouds started to build around noon so we made good time back to camp, packed up and trekked out to the car with a little rain and a little hail along the way.
All around a great weekend and a real treat to do some ice climbing in maricopa county
Started off on the humphreys trail from snowbowl to the first switchback past the registry. From there pretty much headed straight uphill (east) to the summit ridge around 12200. The ridge had a huge cornice that was overhanging in spots...reports are that it slid later that day. The summit was cold and windy. The sign was buried...I dug for 10 minutes but couldn't find it and was too cold to stay longer. Descended straight through the forest back to snowbowl ...great snow conditions below the tree line
Hiked up the Quartz peak trail starting at sunset Saturday. We followed the trail til near the top and then veered left (north) to the nearest saddle. From there we circled around the back side of quartz peak and found an excellent campsite. We had food and coffee and went to sleep. We awoke to rain on and off but thankfully it stopped by around 8am. By 9 we were off to head north to a prominent, but unnamed (to the best of my knowledge) peak somewhere about halfway between quartz and hayes. After a mile or so of going up and down rugged peaks (4 peaks mother lode-esque) that looked like well rounded paths on google earth my hiking partner realized he had dropped an expensive piece of gear somewhere along the way. He opted to head back and look for it. I offered to head back with him but he insisted I continued. He even offered to pack up camp so I could take a more direct descent (I know, what a guy!)
The rest of the climb was fairly arduous but pretty straight forward (maybe like superstition ridgeline but no trail). Nice views to each side, small climbs, small descents. The final climb to the peak was awesome and just challenging and exposed enough to be interesting. From the top I considered whether I could make it to Hayes/4512 and back to the road before dark...with dark clouds starting to form on one of the peaks south of Hayes I opted to descend directly down the gully/drainage just NW of the peak. It took about 3 hours to get back to the road but wasn't a terrible climb.
All around a good day of hiking, cloudy enough that I didn't burn through my water. We found a large water cache at an undisclosed location on the ridge (if its yours don't worry- not only did we not use your water we left an additional half gallon with your stash). I look forward to completing the whole ridge in a single hike soon.
Lastly, I noticed there was no GPS tracks for this segment on hikeaz so I brought mine along and barring any technical difficulty will have attached it and photos to this triplog
In what is becoming an annual tradition, a group of 9 and I set out to hike the ridgeline trail new years day. There was a huge diversity of hiking speeds in this group so I knew we would have a long-ish day. So to make interesting an otherwise leisurely walk in the hills, a buddy and I opted to climb to flatiron without use of our hands on any section. We agreed elbows for balance on the wall near the top would be acceptable. We both completed this portion of the challenge then I decided to try the entire hike hands free. The wall near 5057 required an elbow and shoulder for balance but otherwise, complete success
Otherwise just another ridgeline/5057 hike...there was a little bit of frozen water but you could say it was ice-o-lated and never impacted hiking...enough to save the day if someone was really really thirsty and had some iodine tabs, though. We started from mining camp around 8am and the last member of the group finished at 530pm.
All in all a good day. Maybe next time a unicycle...or superstition ridge "dos veces". hahaha
Great way to start the new year...hopefully lots of time in the mountains in 2016. Blessings!
I've lived in phoenix for 30 years and never got around to climbing to the top of the Estrellas. Usually some combination heat, lack of 4x4 or other excuse. Christmas afternoon I said no more! I packed my overnight bag, 2 gallons of water, called an uber and got dropped off way south on 51st avenue at about 4pm.
The approach hike across the desert was about 7 miles with very little elevation gain. I camped in the the basin to ESE of the peak.
After a night of strong winds and nightmares about javelinas, I woke with the sunrise to begin assessing ascent options. Over coffee I chose what looked to be the safest, the least terrible and relatively direct route. I chose the 2nd gully south of the most gradual east slope. I packed up all my overnight gear and headed up the peak. By now the pack was down to about 35 lbs with less food and water.
The climb up the gully was pretty terrible but nothing unsafe. Once atop I traversed across the main crest, gaining and dropping elevation a few times. At this point I joined the ridge that is described in the usual west side approach. The summit was nice...a break in the wind...and I got cell service (verizon). I had enough food, water and gear to spend another night so i looked at what it would take to continue the main crest south to some other stunning peaks. With limited cell phone battery to arrange a pick up the next day I opted to return the way I came.
Down climbing was way harder that up-climbing, for me. I made it back to the desert floor by about 330pm. I followed a big sandy wash for a few miles then a dirt road across Gila River, where I saw 2 coyotes and a bobcat. I made it back to the paved road at 545pm.
No GPS route this time but I've got some great pictures. Currently I'm unsure of how to post them on this triplog....
I look forward to contributing more to this awesome community that has helped me so much over the years!
Autumn Foliage ObservationIsolated while crossing the (dry) Gila River
WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.