username
X
password
register
for free!
help
GuidesRoutes
 
Photosets
 
 Comments
triplogs   photosets   labels comments more
8 triplogs
Sep 19 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
The Big Drop 2, AZ 
The Big Drop 2, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Sep 19 2020
seanpeters
Hiking31.00 Miles
Hiking31.00 Miles   21 Hrs   10 Mns   1.46 mph
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Most of my adventures begin on the couch. The one described below began in the Grand Canyon five years ago on my 40th birthday. My friend, Andy, and I were sitting on the summit of Clement Powell Butte that frosty December morning and visualized an audacious plan of attempting to climb/scramble five Canyon summits in a single, 24 hour period. We are no strangers to harebrained itineraries having summited over 110 peaks, spires, buttes, castles, named/unnamed places in the Grand Canyon. We have a few first ascents around the Big Ditch and have spent too many miles wandering to care. Andy has also romped the ranges of Alaska and the Himalayas so he definitely has the resume and attitude for some suffering. I'm fairly stubborn and tired of carrying heavy packs so the thought of a "day-hike" with a "day-pack" was pleasing.

Five years ago from that perch on Clement Powell we could see the obvious lineup of summits: Widforss Point, Manu Temple, Buddha Temple, Clement Powell Butte and Hiller's Butte. The starting and ending point would be the Widforss Trailhead. The entire trip would consist of hiking the Widforss Trail, climb the five summits, descend off of Johnson's Point, weave our way down to Bright Angel Creek and hike back to our vehicle via the North Kaibab Trail. On a map, things appear straightforward and simple, in reality the landscape and lack of water reveals a different story.

We named our adventure "The Big Drop". Due to the number of rappels, elevation that is lost, elevation that is regained and then lost even quicker the named seemed appropriate.

And as with all good plans, time and life can get in the way. Five years ago, Andy did not have kids and was a free spirit. I had/have three kids and was just a bandit. Andy got a big job and had big responsibilities. I was just a bandit. Andy and I both got older.

Pandemic crazed, house bound with youngsters, world-ending droughts and fires, an adventure seemed like a nice escape. Andy and I met in Flagstaff and the fun began.

Our alarms sounded at 0300 and we were hiking by 0330 out to the Widforss viewpoint. Five miles of trail in the dark was easy, descending down the locust filled gulley to climb Widforss Point was difficult. Widforss Point is a beautiful Kaibab summit with great limestone features. We opted for the direct but more dangerous spine to reach the summit. Airy drops and some loose blocks kept us on alert. From the summit we thrashed our way through the oak/locust/deadfall to the first of many rappels.

One 150 foot rappel through the Coconino formation placed us on track for an almost "direct" hike to Manu Temple. Manu is a wonderful scramble with many options to reach the summit. Some folks use a rope to safely protect their line-of-attack but we felt confident going rope-less. The hike over to Buddha may be one of my favorites. A giant, red Hermit (formation) hill leads directly to the northern point of Buddha. A hot and tedious traverse south along the eastern base of the formation took us to a shady tree.

Buddha Temple has a 3 to 4 pitch climbing (5.6) route that guards the summit. We had both climbed the formation years ago and sort-of felt confident to almost go without a rope on the ascent. Wisdom prevailed (not really) and we soloed the route and trailed the ropes for a quick descent. Three rappels later and we were back at our shady tree. Back to the grind, we trekked over to the saddle between Buddha Temple and Clement Powell Butte. One long rappel through the Supai (formation) and we were off towards Clement Powell.

Clement Powell has many summit-reaching options. We climbed through a large natural window and bouldered our way to its highpoint. In the right season, this butte holds lots of water due to the numerous Supai pockets that act as catchments. We were able to down climb our route and made speedy progress towards yet another section of rappelling necessary to reach Hiller's Butte.

Hiller's Butte had been baking in the sun all day and the notoriously difficult chimney we climbed was toasty. A series of precariously perched rocks allows entry into the constriction and after some chicken-winging, leg pressing and fist jamming we flopped onto the final summit of the day. We half-heartedly celebrated our accomplishment with a fist bump since hugs are outlawed due to Covid-19. What followed was two more rappels and a long descent off the snake-like Johnson's Point Redwall route.

Johnson's Point is a must-do for any Canyon fanatic that enjoys Redwall scrambles. Insanely sharp and secure limestone that climbs like a ladder will lead to spectacular views.
Drop, drop, drop down to Bright Angle Creek and reaching the chilled water was rewarding, valuable and maybe life-saving (at least life-altering). We had limited ourselves to one gallon of water each and those drops had long been drunk. We pumped water and rehydrated, laughed and cried, moaned and groaned and finally faced the reality of the over-crowded, mule-stained, dusty North Kaibab Trail. Much to our disbelief, we only encountered three people on the trail and that was in the first ten minutes.

After six hours of drudgery on the North Kaibab Trail, five of those in the dark, we quietly smiled at one another in the dim of our headlamps knowing the Big Drop had been completed.

Tidbits of information for those wanting to experience a Big Drop:

I had climbed all the summits prior to our attempt and even attempted the Big Drop (hence, The Big Drop 2) two years prior with another experienced Grand Canyon maniac. I was aware of the rappel locations and route details of each formation and was acutely aware of the lack of water. We brought two ice-climbing ropes (skinny and lightweight), a set of four cams, five quickdraws, one gallon of water/person, GPS unit, food and filtration system. The entire trip was 21 hours and 10 minutes, involved 10 rappels, several pitches of climbing up to 5.6, lots of exposed scrambling and 28-31 miles of hiking.
_____________________
May 25 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
Alamo Canyon, AZ 
Alamo Canyon, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 25 2020
seanpeters
Hiking8.00 Miles
Hiking8.00 Miles   6 Hrs   30 Mns   1.23 mph
3 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Leviathan, Wilderness and Solitude Domes are massive. Having climbed two of the three, we opted to investigate the third, Solitude Dome. We followed a nice path to a series of pools and bushwhacked the remaining miles to the toe of the largest dome, Leviathan. At times it is hard to imagine we were hiking in Arizona due to the dense foliage, large canopies, strange vines and chorus of toads. The base of Leviathan is impressive and we quickly located the start of the intimidating route, The North Face 5.10R. We opted to contour the western base to avoid the ever increasing wall of oak, madrone, pine, cacti and grapevines. The western flank must be home to a huge population of bats because we found ourselves in awe of the mounds of guano we ended up walking through. The squeaks of the flying mammals serenading from above reminded us we were only visitors to this unique area.

The grapevines were equally impressive as the guano mounds. Tarzan would be at home swinging from the trees that had been engulfed by the almost rope-like branches the vines use to grow. Near neck deep, the hiking began to feel constricting at times but also comforting since they offer a hand-line on the increasing steepness of the slope. With some fancy footwork and careful down climbing we were able to access the base of Solitude Dome. Hopefully another day will yield a trip up the 700 foot granite face to its lofty summit.

Time has a unique way of clouding memory. Having been out here many years prior, I had forgotten the difficulty of moving through steep, tangled terrain. The potential for some disastrous tumbles are high near the base of Solitude.

Birds observed included: Rufous-winged Sparrow, Western Wood Pewee, Lucy's Warbler, Mexican Jay, Scott's Oriole, Western Tanager, Bell's Vireo, White-winged Dove, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Cardinal, Lesser Goldfinch and as a bonus a Crested Caracara along the Tom Mix Highway!! We also saw one Gila Monster and thousands of tadpoles.
_____________________
Apr 30 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
Mount Ord Birding Loop, AZ 
Mount Ord Birding Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 30 2020
seanpeters
Hiking7.20 Miles
Hiking7.20 Miles   5 Hrs   16 Mns   1.37 mph
1 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Thankfully my passion for birding is as strong as it is for climbing. When my original climbing plans were aborted at 3:30am I simply exchanged the ropes and rack with binoculars and a notebook. I arrived at the lower parking lot before the sunrise and warmed up my "birding" ears with a variety of pre-recorded warbler songs and calls that I was hoping to hear and see. Sunrise never disappoints and it was not long before I was greeted with the chirps, buzzes, trills and other melodic noises the songsters begin their day with. Several of the expected birds were observed quickly; Ash-throated Flycatcher, Scott's Oriole, Northern Mockingbird, Raven, Gambel's Quail and Black-chinned Sparrow. The more secretive Crissal Thrasher was discovered further away from the road and in thick shrub cover. A Gray Vireo was heard and then finally seen after some juniper and acacia dodging. I wandered back to the truck and drove a mile and half up the road for some mixed forest adventure and warbler sleuthing.

Immediately after parking I saw the nonstop movement of the Bushtit and Black-throated Gray Warblers in an oak tree. Calls of the Bewick's Wren and Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher were fairly constant throughout the hike. Along the drainages where there tends to be taller pines, oak, sycamores and more understory I could hear the Grace's Warbler high in the pines. With a little patience one of them finally flitted into view and sang loud and close enough to capture a nice sound recording. Four Black-headed Grosbeaks was a nice surprise, quickly followed by a Virginia Warbler. A Plumbeous Vireo sang loud and clear and was quite cooperative as I observed and attempted to record. My off trail bushwhack to the summit of Mt. Ord was highlighted by a sprinting deer that nearly knocked me over.

The thickets of oak and snags hosted an Acorn Woodpecker, Violet-green Swallows, a single Steller's Jay, several Western Bluebirds and a Spotted Towhee. When I reached the road below the fire tower I could see it was occupied. We watched one another through binoculars. At least now I know what a bird must feel like as I observe their lives. On the walk back down the road a White-breasted Nuthatch, Chipping Sparrows, a Northern Flicker, Orange-Crowned Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco and a Zone-Tailed Hawk were sighted.

After today's wanderings I have the distinction of walking, riding a bike, taking a motorcycle, driving a truck and even pushing my son's bike up the roads to the summit.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Deer, rabbit, rock squirrel, whiptail lizard, horned lizard, Gray Flycatcher (probable)
_____________________
Apr 25 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
Crabtree Direct, AZ 
Crabtree Direct, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 25 2020
seanpeters
Hiking3.40 Miles
Hiking3.40 Miles   4 Hrs   40 Mns   0.73 mph
1 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I convinced my retired climbing partner to join me on a supposed quick jaunt up Crabtree Butte. I had explored the area a few times prior so I knew there quite a few easy options to reach the summit. I had always wanted to hike the most direct line up the western slope because it looks steep and has some decent sized rock faces and house-sized boulders. Wow, it is steep and near the top we ended up climbing up to 5.4 on some loose and exposed rock. Between the bands of rock, dense shrub, endless variety of cacti, and an occasional rattlesnake our upward progress was fairly slow. I doubt we would of been able to descend the same way we came up, it is too steep, loose and thorny. For those that dislike the idea of being pummeled by rock fall or impaled on an agave should probably steer clear of this option to reach the highpoint.

The summit offered panoramic views. We hiked down the much friendlier north side of Crabtree and investigated the rock climbing area near the creek. Water was flowing, fish were swimming, frogs were jumping and birds were singing. This is an unbelievable area that has been carved by water and thankfully forgotten by most. There is almost no litter or signs of H. Sapiens as one wanders.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Rattlesnake, Turkey Vulture, Bell's Vireo, Gila Woodpecker
_____________________
Apr 22 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
Bushnell Bird Bonanza, AZ 
Bushnell Bird Bonanza, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 22 2020
seanpeters
Hiking5.30 Miles
Hiking5.30 Miles   3 Hrs   48 Mns   1.39 mph
1 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Always on the lookout for birds and rocks to climb, my original plan of the day was quickly altered when I realized the amount of avian friends in the area. Within a half mile of my truck a stand of sycamores came alive with birdlife that would keep me occupied for over an hour trying sort out the different species. Sunrise is really wonderful time to observe birds!

Binoculars in hand I continued down stream steering clear of some extremely large and vocal cows. The sing-song chatter of bird news continued overhead and I picked up several new species to my bird list. I soon entered a narrower canyon and followed the stream over slick boulders and deep, clear pools of water. The riparian habitat is amazing. Insects and tadpoles were everywhere and unlike further upstream, all the tree's in this area were completely leafed out.

I continued downstream until the highway came into view. It was disappointing to leave the shadows and coolness of the tree-lined canyon to the roar of vehicles racing down the road. I walked the highway enjoying the kaleidoscope of litter that lined the roadway. The roadway walk was not that bad and eventually I hopped the barricade and got back onto the Arizona Trail and back to my truck.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
Summer Tanager, Western Tanager, Woodhouse Scrub Jay, Cardinal, Bewick's Wren, Zone-tailed Hawk, Violet-green Swallow, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellow Warbler, White-crowned Sparrow, Lucy's Warbler, Hooded Oriole, Crissal Thrasher, Common Raven, Gambel's Quail, Bell's Vireo, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Gila Woodpecker
_____________________
Apr 18 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
Stewart MountainPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Apr 18 2020
seanpeters
Hiking3.70 Miles
Hiking3.70 Miles   2 Hrs   56 Mns   1.26 mph
1 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Nestled in-between SR 87 and Bush Highway sits Stewart Mountain. I have driven by it countless times but until yesterday did not even know it had a name. In fact, it was not until I looked at the summit registrar did I realize it was even called something. With my motorcycle somewhat hidden alongside the Bush Highway I maneuvered my way over a couple of barbed wire fences and was quickly engulfed in a sea of foxtails.

The desert is beautiful this time of year but the foxtails and thistles on this hike were fairly annoying. The drone of off-road vehicles, blaring music from cars and some really loud motorcycles were my companions for a bit of the hike until I got far enough and high enough away from the road the cacophonies became less noticeable.

The first of the three summits came fairly quickly and offered commanding views of Saguaro Lake and Weaver's Needle. A short descent into a neat valley and back up to the actual highpoint was nice. The final peak has what appears to be the most useless and oddly placed billboard in Arizona. I was told it has something to do with the Sheriff's Department, either way it is out of place and ugly.

I came down the obvious granite, boulder field gulley and eventually to the road. A 3/4 mile jaunt back to the motorcycle was perhaps the most dangerous part of the adventure.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Turkey Vulture, Black Vulture, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black-throated Sparrow, Redtail Hawk, Cactus Wren, Curve-billed Thrasher
_____________________
Apr 15 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
Brushy Basin Area, AZ 
Brushy Basin Area, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 15 2020
seanpeters
Hiking3.14 Miles
Hiking3.14 Miles   3 Hrs   9 Mns   1.00 mph
1 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After climbing in the area a few days prior we discovered a new granite wall that should host several climbing routes. This morning we followed a flowing creek around Peak 4746 to get an up close view of this hidden dome. Unlike other treks to reach some of the crags in the area (completely covered in acacia and oak), this hike was pretty tame. The sycamores are beginning to leaf out and the wildflowers are dazzling. We were able to reach the wall and were treated with cracks that split the featureless granite slabs. A return trip should yield several new climbing routes. From the top of the climbing area we headed up and over the peak and back to the vehicle.

The fire that blasted this area over a decade ago has made some of the hiking fairly miserable. There are several areas where the brush is so thick and thorny it is close to impenetrable. A little stubbornness and long pants will get you through most of these sections.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Bull snake, Black-chinned Sparrows, Woodhouse Scrub Jays, Sugar Bush, Acacia, Juniper, Oak.
_____________________
Apr 08 2020
seanpeters
avatar

 Photos 80
 Triplogs 8

46 male
 Joined Jun 22 2015
 scottsdale, az
Cactus Ridge, AZ 
Cactus Ridge, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 08 2020
seanpeters
Hiking9.00 Miles 2,983 AEG
Hiking9.00 Miles   6 Hrs   18 Mns   1.43 mph
2,983 ft AEG4 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
After a decade of hiking elsewhere I finally returned back to the Mazatzals. I was not disappointed and was quickly reminded of the rugged beauty of this range. On my first hike I wandered up Mazatzal Peak via the Y-Bar Trail and back down Suicide Ridge. On that hike, Y-Bar was a flowing stream from the trailhead to the saddle. From the saddle to the summit it was mostly snow covered. Between the snow, spines and slush the hike to the summit was fairly slow-going but enjoyable. The ridge back to the trailhead was easy to follow and seems inappropriately named Suicide Ridge. The most difficult part was the final downhill slip and slide since the ground was saturated and every rock rolled when stepped on.

On that trip I noticed the striking ridge south of Mazatzal Peak, named on the maps, Cactus Ridge. On April 8, I returned with my friend and we hiked Cactus Ridge. What a great and potentially disastrous hike if one is not prepared for some exposure and scrambling. Most of the scrambling can be avoided if desired. Approach the ridge as you would Mazatzal Peak but turn south at the saddle off Y-Bar. Some decent but bearable bushwhacking is immediately encountered but becomes easier as you gain the highpoint.

From this point onward, downward, upward expect some stunning views, loose rock, big cliffs, spires and fins of rock. I often wondered if there was technical rock climbing potential in the Mazatzals, after this hike I do believe that there is. We attempted to stay as true to the ridge proper as possible and were rewarded with delicate down climbs, neat caves and brush filled gullies. This hike is much more difficult than Suicide Ridge and more like the trek one deals with when crossing all the peaks and valleys of Four Peaks.

Near the bottom of the ridge a decision must be made whether to continue down a deep canyon that eventually empties into Deer Creek or break down the North side cliff bands. Choose wisely. At the right time of year hikers may be rewarded with even more adventure once they reach the valley floor. Either continue down into an abyss or find your back to the Barnhardt parking lot.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Substantial
Big pines, burnt pines, birds, snakes, mammals, heavy brush
_____________________
average hiking speed 1.23 mph

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.

helpcommentissue

end of page marker