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Doyle Peak - 6 members in 20 triplogs have rated this an average 4.3 ( 1 to 5 best )
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Oct 09 2021
chumley
avatar

 Guides 84
 Routes 693
 Photos 16,329
 Triplogs 1,626

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Doyle Schultz, AZ 
Doyle Schultz, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 09 2021
chumley
Hiking13.14 Miles 3,808 AEG
Hiking13.14 Miles   7 Hrs   48 Mns   2.09 mph
3,808 ft AEG   1 Hour   31 Mns Break
 no routes
Partners partners
John9L
I'm low on peaks for the year so I suggested we bag these two. Technically I don't think Schultz counts, but I'm not going to complain. The lower part is a seasonal treat. With big weather changes in the forecast we decided to get out and enjoy this chilly and breezy day on the mountain before the return of winter weather.

We saw 9 others on the day, plus a couple of dogs. I got to hike with Jesse again, and met Jon for the first time. The trail runners were happy to have regular slow hikers along for this one as we are obviously the only ones who would carry the weight of required food, water, and clothing options for this kind of day. Being the nice guy that I am, I was happy to share with the lesser prepared. :sweat:

It was extra cold at the saddle, but we were able to avoid the worst of the wind most of the day, even managing a good break on Doyle. A zoom view over to Hump looked positively miserable for the michelin men up top. The ridgeline down to Schultz is a mystery of saw-cleared trees. Was it part of a potential fireline during the Schultz Fire of 2010? It's tough to imagine another logical scenario.

As always, the crux is the steep descent off Schultz, but ample wildlife trails traverse the slope and provide numerous options before reaching the Weatherford wonderland below.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
_____________________
33s over 45s
1 archive
May 19 2021
LJW
avatar

 Photos 960
 Triplogs 223

27 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz Loop, AZ 
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 19 2021
LJW
Hiking16.04 Miles 4,987 AEG
Hiking16.04 Miles   10 Hrs   11 Mns   2.23 mph
4,987 ft AEG   3 Hrs    Break
 
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
A friend and I grew impatient and decided not to wait until June to head back to the SF Peaks. Figured there'd be too much snow to want to loop around from the west, so we started at Schultz Tank and stuck to the south side of the mountain. Started around 6am and went clockwise.

Nobody at the TH at 6, didn't cross any hikers all day. Started on Weatherford and took that to the last switchback before it crosses around Fremont to Doyle Saddle. About a dozen trees down on Weathford to that point. Left the trail and crossed into the meadow on the SE ridge. Went up that way knowing there'd be no snow. Tend to head down that ridge instead of up because it's so steep, but it's mostly grassy, open terrain with good footing. Enormous bristlecones/conifers and southern views distract. Made it up in about 3.5 hours and hung out at the summit for 2. The skyline shed its haze and pillowy clouds rolled in.

Descended west knowing our path would cross a decent amount of snow. Hoping for just the right amount, pretty much got it. So damn fun. The ridge was clear on top and to the south, but to the north there were 3-8ft drifts. Descending to Fremont Saddle no choice but to slide. Fell more times than I can remember but the weather was perfect for playing in the snow. Weatherford still deep snow most of the way from Doyle Saddle to, well I'd guess Humphreys Saddle. There's still a good amount of snow higher up where the trail crosses Snowslide Canyon. Weatherford to Doyle Saddle was more tiresome than the ridge as the snow was pretty soft, and we couldn't help but kick through 2-3ft every ten steps or so.

Straight up Doyle, no snow, and followed a better course this time. Had a break at the summit and watched the clouds and their shadows roll over the mountain. Could see two people descending Humphreys. I would think that it's currently not too bad with spikes if you start early. East side of Doyle has a good amount of snow still, though it wasn't so bad as Weatherford. Once the snow was gone deadfall took its place. So many downed trees to navigate around on the Schultz ridgeline. Got back down to a few cars at the trailhead. Hung out at Schultz Tank afterward, and it seemed like everyone at the trailhead was headed to Elden.
2 archives
Jul 31 2020
LJW
avatar

 Photos 960
 Triplogs 223

27 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Doyle Peak Loop, AZ 
Doyle Peak Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 31 2020
LJW
Hiking15.13 Miles 3,747 AEG
Hiking15.13 Miles   6 Hrs   17 Mns   2.73 mph
3,747 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Drew up a loop that ran over the few lower summits east of Doyle Peak. Started at Schultz Tank with Doyle first around 5am.

Up Weatherford to the last switchback before Doyle Saddle. Rounded around Doyle's boxy contour to where there's a clearing that runs vertically up the southern ridge. Good trails to follow through the bristlecones to the clearing, which is steep but at least there's no thought to the route finding, just up, up, up. The clearing ends at the cabin.

From Doyle through the spady spruce to 11045. Fun ridgewalk down and up to 11060. Good views down into Inner Basin and toward Sugarloaf Mountain. Started down to 10569. Route passes through burn areas, but it pretty clear to the last peak. Mostly the loose rockfall that has to be slid down slows travel. Descending to waterline, deadfall and new growth make the going difficult.

From the last peak it looked like the ridge down was choked with young aspen trees. Went down the wide drainage of loose scree instead. Pretty tedious and time consuming. Ridge cleared up, so I headed over. Some nice rock outcroppings to scramble up on the way down. More and more deadfall the lower it goes.

Waterline around the mountain with good views back toward the SE peaks. Through the tunnel, which is kind of neat. Saw about a half dozen bikers on waterline, and the trailhead was filled when I got back.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Mostly Weatherford and in the burn areas
5 archives
Jul 16 2020
LJW
avatar

 Photos 960
 Triplogs 223

27 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz, AZ 
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 16 2020
LJW
Hiking16.35 Miles 4,952 AEG
Hiking16.35 Miles   9 Hrs   45 Mns   2.62 mph
4,952 ft AEG   3 Hrs   30 Mns Break
 
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Just did this one a couple weeks ago, but a friend in Flagstaff and I couldn't think of anything better on a day with storms in the forecast. Started real early around 4am in order to give us time for a long break on Fremont before any summer storms could roll in.

Schultz tank a few cars when we got there. They belonged to campers on Doyle Saddle and a guy who got there shortly after us doing some running. We could see distant lightning in the clouds north of Humphreys in the dissipating night's storm. Weatherford had a half dozen trees down, nothing too bad.

Up to Fremont in great time. Key to this one was getting ahead of the weather while we had a trail and going fast as possible up to Fremont Saddle. Everything after that takes time. Fremont Saddle up the ridge to the peak. Gone this way three times since last month, so it didn't take long. Stayed an hour on the summit watching the clouds rearrange the lighting on the peaks. Clouds started to darken and we realized we drank away our head start.

Straight down to Doyle Saddle and up Doyle. Tried to take a smarter route than earlier in the month to no avail. Got to the cabin and had another short break around 10:30am. The ticking of rain started on the corrugated metal roof behind us. Then dull thunder. We got up and went to the summit and watched a storm dump water on the slopes north of Lockett Meadow and Sugarloaf Mountain. Dark, electrical clouds in every direction from Doyle.

Down the ridge to PK11045. A hail storm started, so we hung out under some trees and waited for it to pass. Thunder grew louder and moved overhead. Light rain came and went as clouds gathered. When we started up for Schultz a bolt of lightning flashed and curled in the air a few hundred feet above us. Not sure I've ever heard anything louder.

On Schultz a downpour started, so we stopped again below the trees. Thunder was pretty constant. Eventually the rain ended and we went through the meadows. Windy and cold, and the thunder was done until waterline when a proper downpour started. I usually try pretty hard to avoid summer storms, so by that point it was pretty cool to be caught in one. Only saw a few people, both times we passed Doyle Saddle.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
3 archives
Jul 05 2020
LJW
avatar

 Photos 960
 Triplogs 223

27 male
 Joined Jun 02 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz, AZ 
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Jul 05 2020
LJW
Hiking15.84 Miles 4,932 AEG
Hiking15.84 Miles   6 Hrs   29 Mns   2.76 mph
4,932 ft AEG      45 Mns Break
 
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Came to find out that the route between Schultz and Doyle is pretty well-traveled. A trail exists much of the way. Wanted to add Fremont, and instead of saving the best for last ended up on that summit first. Had a go at a figure 8 earlier in the year and tried another one out. Went to draw up the route and found that @chumley had already posted it. Good looking out.

Started at Schultz Tank around 5:45. Not very cool with the sun up a half hour. Took Weatherford to Fremont Saddle, passing a hiker going up and a group of backpackers coming down. From there up the ridge to Fremont, beginning ~6mi of off-trail travel. Met a guy this year on Agassiz Peak from out of state who remarked the SF Peaks make for some good beginner's mountaineering. Travel's generally easy if the steep slopes don't bother you. Not too hard to avoid bushwhacking.

Views from Fremont summit were pretty hazy. Clouds were starting to coalesce over the peaks. The wind that brought them in had yet to clear the air. Slowest portion of the day was down to Doyle Saddle and then up Doyle. Footing is loose coming down that way from Fremont, and going up Doyle it's just plain steep. Should have made more of an effort to climb farther north to the ridge, but the climb doesn't last long. Most interesting part of the day was the cabin. Views from Doyle are under-hyped. Not bad at all.

Followed ridgelines down to Schultz. A trail exists much of the way between Pk11045 and High Tank. Could pass right over Schultz Peak without noticing. Nice area with beautiful clearings between the trees. Followed the meadows to the end of the line, and went down toward Waterline Trail.
Named place
Named place
Doyle Peak
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Moderate
Good On Weatherford and around Schultz
5 archives
Jun 04 2020
Jim_H
avatar

 Guides 62
 Routes 58
 Photos 8,564
 Triplogs 1,894

42 male
 Joined Sep 08 2006
 Marana, AZ
Doyle PeakFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 04 2020
Jim_H
Hiking10.00 Miles 3,900 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles   7 Hrs      1.74 mph
3,900 ft AEG   1 Hour   15 Mns Break10 LBS Pack
 no routes
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I finally returned to Doyle, both for the scenic beauty and to inspect the cabin. I basically followed Wade's 5-30 descent route both directions, except I went up the first barren ridgeline to the east and accessed it using the Waterline Rd.

The hike overall is a hard one, being off trail and steep, but pretty nice. The forests of bristlecone are something I like. Spotted one large bull elk with a big velvety rack near the summit of Schultz. He ran off.

I haven't been here since 2011. The summit feels about the same. The cabin rebuild is interesting. Doesn't appear that anyone uses it, however. I have no interest, as sleeping that high is akin to torture, but there is a lot of fire wood and it looks cozy if you are into that.

Similar to my 2009 hike up to Fremont Saddle, what seems to be a majority of the bristlecone pines in the forest have multiple fire scars.
Flora
Flora
Bristlecone Pine
_____________________
Let's go Brandon!!!!! Let's go Brandon!!!!
May 30 2020
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 60
 Routes 609
 Photos 8,560
 Triplogs 544

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Doyle Peak - Schultz Peak, AZ 
Doyle Peak - Schultz Peak, AZ
 
Hiking avatar May 30 2020
DixieFlyer
Hiking13.10 Miles 3,701 AEG
Hiking13.10 Miles   7 Hrs   45 Mns   2.11 mph
3,701 ft AEG   1 Hour   33 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
I have previously hiked up to Doyle and Schultz Peaks, but I had done them in separate hikes. This time I took some friends up there who had never done either one, so I decided to do a loop hike that bagged both Doyle and Schultz.

We started at Schultz Tank, and took the Weatherford Trail up to Doyle Saddle. From Doyle Saddle, we went off trail to the east to the Doyle Summit. This time I found the cabin that is up there (I did not see it on my previous trip up to Doyle). We hung out at the cabin for a while, and then went over to the summit and hung out a bit longer. There are really nice views of the other San Francisco Peaks from the north edge of Doyle.

In going from Doyle to Schultz, I mostly followed a track that @chumley has posted. We first descended to the east and then southeast, then south over to Schultz. We were on a ridgeline for a good portion of this section. There was a bit of snow on the east side of Doyle. We are able to avoid the snow for a while, but then we had to traverse a hillside that was covered in snow, and I put my microspikes on to get better traction. The snow disappeared once we got on the south side of Doyle, so the microspikes came off.

Once on Schultz, we made our way to the boneyard at High Tank, and then went southeast for a bit, and then mostly south down to Waterline Road. This was a fairly steep descent, but the terrain was pretty good so it was not bad.

Once on Waterline Road we went over to Schultz Pass Road, and from there we went a very short distance back to the TH.

We did not encounter many hikers on this loop. We started early, and only saw a few hikers on the Weatherford Trail. Not surprisingly, we did not see anyone the rest of the day once we left Doyle Saddle to head up to Doyle Peak.
Meteorology
Meteorology
Snow

dry High Tank Dry Dry
High Tank was bone dry
_____________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
Oct 15 2019
kyleGChiker
avatar

 Guides 1
 Routes 24
 Photos 351
 Triplogs 31

male
 Joined May 28 2019
 Phoenix, AZ
Inner Basin to Doyle PeakFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Oct 15 2019
kyleGChiker
Hiking10.50 Miles 3,050 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   8 Hrs      1.31 mph
3,050 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Went out with my mom to enjoy the fall leaves and hike Doyle. Weather was perfect--in the mid 50s. The Aspen were also perfect!

Rather than following the "official" route up Doyle from Fremont Saddle, we just went straight up the front face from the inner basin. It was about half a mile as the crow flies from the inner basin to the summit. We switch backed our way up due to the steepness of the mountain, so our distance up was probably about 0.8 to 1 mile. It took us 2 hours to ascend the 1,400 feet. I estimate I could've done it in 1:20 by myself.

The descent was much faster, taking only 1:20. I would've gone faster alone (Mom was being careful because of knee problems), and probably could've descended in 40 minutes.

Anyway, just wanted to leave a trip report for the route straight up Doyle. It was a completely reasonable route, and I would recommend it for ascending Doyle. I'm sure others have taken this route as well.

I will try to figure out how to upload the route file from my Garmin GPS.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Extreme
The fall colors in the Aspen groves were some of the best I've ever seen!
Oct 12 2019
The_Eagle
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 Guides 9
 Routes 808
 Photos 10,375
 Triplogs 1,662

65 male
 Joined Jan 20 2009
 Far NE Phoenix,
Weatherford - Doyle - Waterline Loop, AZ 
Weatherford - Doyle - Waterline Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 12 2019
The_Eagle
Hiking19.17 Miles 3,640 AEG
Hiking19.17 Miles   9 Hrs   34 Mns   2.20 mph
3,640 ft AEG      50 Mns Break14 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Partners partners
joebartels
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Up North to chase color.

We had no interest in fighting parking at the Lockett Meadow TH.

I'd never been to the top of Doyle to pay a visit to the cabin, so I cobbled together this loop.

Weatherford Canyon
This was a last second change and should be the "go to" way to get to the top during peeping season. It bypasses a portion of the Weatherford proper trail, but surrounds you in aspens. If you just want to sample the colors, do the short loop that is published on site

Weatherford Trail
This one never disappoints. Not only up close views of the colors, but of the color off in the distance also.

Doyle Peak
It's a steep little climb from the saddle for an old guy like me. The climb is about 500' in .3 of a mile.
The cabin has seen recent renovation. Views from our lunch spot were top notch, albeit a tad chili.

Descending to the east to 11045 was pretty easy through the forest. From 11045 to 11060 was slower going with the rock hopping and stayed that way until we hit the trees again. Plenty of areas of Aspen and seems to be a remote area that holds quite a few elk.

Waterline Trail
This road is popular with the Mountain Bikers for accessing the IB. We saw quite a few. Evidence of the past fire here, places quite the scar on a large area of this part of the hike. I'd been wanting to visit the area on topos marked as "Tunnel". That itch has been scratched. I built it up all day for Joe, he was not disappointed.

I drove in from 89 from the east, instead of coming in from 180 to get to the Shultz Pass TH. This way in is tons smoother and takes a few less minutes.

Temps ranged from perfect, to cool, with the breeze.
Culture
Culture
Ghost? Wooden Dwelling
Meteorology
Meteorology
Autumn - Color Foliage
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
Aspens were on fire. Should be good for another week without a freeze.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
_____________________
There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."
Dave Barry
Oct 12 2019
joebartels
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 Guides 250
 Routes 837
 Photos 12,425
 Triplogs 5,016

52 male
 Joined Nov 20 1996
 Phoenix, AZ
Weatherford - Doyle - Waterline Loop, AZ 
Weatherford - Doyle - Waterline Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 12 2019
joebartels
Hiking18.42 Miles 3,677 AEG
Hiking18.42 Miles   9 Hrs   34 Mns   2.22 mph
3,677 ft AEG   1 Hour   17 Mns Break18 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Route Scout Route Recorded  on Route Scout Popup | MapDEX
Weatherford Canyon Loop
This gem has had dead brush at the beginning for years now. It's not posted closed. Probably to keep the #102 traffic on course. Yet wouldn't surprise me if there was a save the aspen bark beetle group. This dense stand of thin Aspens is best experienced.

#102
We met a couple guys at "a" saddle with a controversial name before heading up to Doyle Peak. They recognized Bruce and mentioned we crossed paths on our Sept 7th Kendrick Loop!

Doyle
Sub peaks are about as exciting as a pudding jerky. Bruce took a stab at this one years ago while I took a nap at the saddle. Heading up is steep. The chance of sliding back is certainly present. It's not horrible. Maybe 20 ft max without a stable rock or tree limb to grab for balance. I was surprised at the presence of a wicked thorn bush. Looked like it would eat cat claw. No trouble avoiding, just seemed odd for 11,000 ft.

Gotta say, this sub peak is pretty sweet. The view of Humphrey's is the fab dark red and black view you get along upper Weatherford. The bonus is an overview of Volcano National Monument. The icing is the peak itself.

Drop to Waterline Road
Complained enough about it on the hike. No need to beat that drum again. Deep crunchy Aspen leaves was a first for myself. Bruce got the Explorer bug trying a new route down from 11060. His motivation to pave paradise fell short of putting up a parking lot. In the end he hit the high note and it worked out.

Waterline Road
Excellent tread. The tunnel was 10.24 billion times more exciting than anticipated. Even after hearing about it every ten minutes for 8.5 hours.

Synopsis
Great hike to Doyle.
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
Substantial through Weatherford Canyon. The Inner Basin looked like last week was prime, likely due to recent freezing.
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Isolated
4-6 isolated specimens
_____________________
- joe
Oct 05 2019
chumley
avatar

 Guides 84
 Routes 693
 Photos 16,329
 Triplogs 1,626

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Snowslide - Fremont - Doyle, AZ 
Snowslide - Fremont - Doyle, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Oct 05 2019
chumley
Hiking12.63 Miles 4,532 AEG
Hiking12.63 Miles   8 Hrs   43 Mns   1.76 mph
4,532 ft AEG   1 Hour   32 Mns Break
1st trip
Got started early to get past the green and into the gold by the time the sun cast the first light into the basin.

I left Joel to photo things and opted to continue up Snowslide Canyon, which I had not previously done. I was pleasantly surprised to hike along a flowing creek above the spring, enjoying the rare treat of listening to cascading water running in the basin.

From the spring I made a beeline to the first Weatherford switchback where I encountered an enormous and majestic elk buck hiking the trail just below treeline. I headed down to Doyle Saddle and then up to Fremont Peak. The old register is gone, and the new one was placed just this year. It was windy on the summit so I sheltered behind the rock wall for a bit and enjoyed the views. I spotted a group of 12 camped 1,100 feet below me at Fremont Saddle but they were gone before I got there. At this point I was pretty tired and it was a slow climb up to Doyle where I took another nice break. Somebody had placed a homemade flag up there which I dismantled and carried down with me.

Doyle is such a scenic peak, and the views along the ridge on the way down were a highlight today. Despite 9 hours of hiking in one of the premier fall hiking locations in the state, I didn't see HAZ members Nightstalker, Kingsnake, or caragruey -- in fact, I encountered exactly zero other hikers until I was back at the parking lot at the end of my hike! :y:
Fauna
Fauna
Elk
foliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observationfoliage observation
Autumn Foliage Observation Substantial
Still early below the waterline road with mostly green aspens. Higher up some patches approaching prime. Virtually no leaves have fallen yet. The next week will provide excellent color and the beginnings of some good litter on the ground.
_____________________
33s over 45s
3 archives
Jun 28 2019
DixieFlyer
avatar

 Guides 60
 Routes 609
 Photos 8,560
 Triplogs 544

male
 Joined Jan 07 2017
 Fountain Hills,
Doyle PeakFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 28 2019
DixieFlyer
Hiking16.50 Miles 3,633 AEG
Hiking16.50 Miles   7 Hrs   29 Mns   2.81 mph
3,633 ft AEG   1 Hour   37 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I have been wanting to hike up to Doyle Peak, and I convinced Tracie, my intrepid hiking partner, to go with me.

I was hoping to take Freidlein Prairie Rd (FR 522) to the Kachina Spur TH to start the hike, but FR 522 is still closed for timber cutting operations. Thus, we wound up taking Elden Springs Rd (FR 556) to Schultz Pass Rd and began the hike there. There is a temporary parking area and TH at the Elden Springs-Schultz Pass Jct. due to the Schultz Pass road closure. I figure that this added 3 miles and 600' of elevation gain to the hike as compared to starting on the Kachina Spur.

This was the first time that I had hiked on this portion of the Weatherford Trail, and it was a nice hike. There are quite a few aspen trees along the trail and I imagine that this would be a nice hike in early October.

We made our way to Doyle Saddle, and then went up the west side of Doyle to the summit. I followed a GPS track that Chumley posted and it was a good route to the summit. We descended back down to Doyle Saddle the same way that we came up.

There was still a bit of snow atop Doyle, but it was easy to walk around.

I thought about also going up to Fremont Peak, but figured that this was a long enough hike for one day.

Once Freidline Prarie Road reopens, I plan to start at the Kachina spur and hike back up to Doyle Saddle and head up to Fremont from there.
Flora
Flora
Lupine
wildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observationwildflower observation
Wildflowers Observation Light
_____________________
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. -- Edward Abbey
Aug 26 2018
chumley
avatar

 Guides 84
 Routes 693
 Photos 16,329
 Triplogs 1,626

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz, AZ 
Fremont - Doyle - Schultz, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Aug 26 2018
chumley
Hiking15.15 Miles 4,653 AEG
Hiking15.15 Miles   6 Hrs   32 Mns   2.42 mph
4,653 ft AEG      17 Mns Break
 
The forecast on Saturday didn't look particularly good for any of the options I had in mind, so I decided to delay my weekend fun for a day. It turned out to be a good decision! I encountered quite a bit of hail that had accumulated Saturday and survived overnight. The models were hanging on with a few storms for Sunday, so I opted for an early start. There were some great clouds making the morning magical, and I topped out at Doyle Saddle just after 8 before heading off-trail toward Fremont. I'd never done these in this direction, so it was a nice change of pace.

I like Fremont, but the geology and trees on Doyle make it a more scenic peak IMO. I missed the cabin again, but this time I made myself go back and find it! Pretty cool structure. It appears to get some regular use. Plenty of firewood, and the hanta seemed to be tamped down to a level that would not be immediately fatal. :o

I took a new route from Doyle down the ridge to Schultz. This was a really scenic part of the day. The bright green grassy meadow and expansive views are a winner! From there I took a terrible route down. I'm not sure if there's a less-steep option, but I would hate to climb up this way, and it absolutely destroyed my knees on the descent.

I had originally planned to start from Weatherford and therefore get to take the canyon back, but I forgot campfires are prohibited on Schultz Pass road, and it was cold and rainy, so I opted for a fire at a campsite on Freidlein Prairie instead. I actually think that saved me a mile on the day!

This was a fun loop. I'd actually do it again. :)
_____________________
33s over 45s
2 archives
Aug 28 2016
chumley
avatar

 Guides 84
 Routes 693
 Photos 16,329
 Triplogs 1,626

48 male
 Joined Sep 18 2002
 Tempe, AZ
Fremont & Doyle PeaksFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 28 2016
chumley
Hiking11.94 Miles 4,446 AEG
Hiking11.94 Miles   7 Hrs   20 Mns   2.20 mph
4,446 ft AEG   1 Hour   54 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Having previously traveled the entire north side of the San Francisco horseshoe from Agassiz, Humphreys, Abineau, and Rees to the Inner Basin, I've had the south half of the horseshoe on my radar.

With several inches of hail accumulating over the peaks on Friday and the season's first snowfall on Saturday morning, I was hoping Sunday would provide better weather. The forecast had called for clearing and drier weather earlier in the week, but the chances for storms on Sunday kept getting higher and higher as the day got closer. We decided not to let it deter us, opting instead to make a very early attempt in hopes of beating any severe weather.

So we set off toward the mountain at oh-denny-thirty with hopes of a pre-sunrise start. The peaks were shrouded in clouds in the early morning light and we didn't manage to start the ascent until a couple minutes past 6. We started at the base of Sugarloaf Peak at the east end of Lockett Meadow and headed up the closed 552B which swings around and parallels the ridge as it climbs steadily over 1.5 miles to the Waterline Road.

The next 4.5 miles of ridge hiking is off-trail until Fremont Saddle. The first half mile above Waterline was a pleasant grade before the slope got considerably steeper. At the 3 mile mark, some of steepest terrain of the day presents a challenge to getting to peak 11,060. There's a short ridge here before the final 400 foot climb to Doyle, but that ridge is a boulder field and travel is very slow. But the boulders provide relief from the pine canopy and amazing views over the Inner Basin and the peaks on the north side of the horseshoe.

The climb up Doyle from the east is pretty straightforward and when you reach the peak there's a cairn with the original (and correct) summit register placed in 1988. We signed in despite the lack of recent entries. As we pressed on toward Fremont, we encountered another cairn about 0.15 miles from the original. This also had a register. This register had recent entries. It also actually said that this register wasn't placed at the peak. Then why the :pk: did you build a cairn and put a register here? ](*,) Seriously. People are dumb. :bdh:

The perfect conical shape of Fremont stood directly before us, a very attainable 500 feet higher up. Unfortunately, to get there requires dropping 700 feet to Doyle Saddle. The descent might be the steepest terrain on the day. The climb in the opposite direction must be a real chore! We took a quick snack break at the saddle before beginning the 1200 foot climb to Fremont. It's only half a mile away! :o It was 9:45, and I made a goal of reaching the peak by 11:00. Yes, I was estimating 1:15 to go the next half mile!

The ascent up Fremont was awesome. The clouds came and went, sometimes leaving us with no view and other times opening dramatic glimpses at the other peaks. The lower part was forested before reaching a bouldery section that leads to a steep scramble with a large crux rock about 600 feet below the summit. We opted to go around to the left, but I think the right would have worked fine too. Left is softer and more forested, right is more bouldery.

The final stretch is steep and a continued combination of soft dirt, dwarfy pine trees, and small boulder fields. Staying just to the south side of the ridge seemed to provide the best route, but some zig-zagging was in order, if for no other reason than the views into the Inner Basin. Once up top, I was surprised I was unable to find a register. There's a nice shelter wall built though it was quite calm and not needed on this day. Another short break and a summit beer were in order before the final off-trail mile across the 11,673 ridge and the final descent to Fremont Saddle. Six miles in 5.5 hours! Off-trail ascents take their toll! : rambo :

From there, we cruised back to the IB, happy to be on trail again. Saw 3 people in the Inner Basin before passing a dozen or two in the lower aspen section of trail. Back to the car for the return to the valley after a very long and rewarding day!

The weather couldn't have been better. It was 42 at the trailhead when we started, and warmed somewhat in the early sun, but winter-like clouds shrouded the peaks from time to time, creating dramatic views and lighting. I don't think it ever got above 55 until we were back at the trailhead at the end of the day. The temperature and awesome clouds really made this hike as good as it could be! :y: (Not bad for August in Arizona!)

Glad to have now hit all the peaks around the Inner Basin horseshoe. The only non-direct section for me is the direct link between Fremont Saddle and Agassiz (I've taken the Weatherford traverse and the ridgeline to Agassiz from the Humphreys saddle). Not sure I'll ever do that line direct unless I decide to skin up Agassiz and ski down into Freidlein Prairie sometime. I'm sure it's been done before... :-k
Flora
Flora
Quaking Aspen
Meteorology
Meteorology
Fire Burn Area & Recovery Hail
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Especially in the lower elevation grassy meadows.

dry Doyle Spring Dry Dry
No surface water

water 1 out of 5water 2 out of 5water 3 out of 5water less than max Locket Meadow Tank 51-75% full 51-75% full
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33s over 45s
Aug 28 2016
LindaAnn
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 Guides 65
 Routes 407
 Photos 4,651
 Triplogs 1,400

41 female
 Joined Dec 24 2007
 Ahwatukee, AZ
Fremont & Doyle PeaksFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 28 2016
LindaAnn
Hiking11.94 Miles 4,446 AEG
Hiking11.94 Miles   7 Hrs   20 Mns   2.20 mph
4,446 ft AEG   1 Hour   54 Mns Break
 no routes
1st trip
Chumley's triplog already covers this entire hike, so I'll avoid rehashing it again, but so far this was probably my favorite AZ hike of the summer. Starting out in the aspens was great, and it was nice to have some easy hiking at the very beginning, before the hard work began. After that, I heard "This part will be steep" at least a half-dozen times throughout the day.

Climbing up Doyle wasn't too bad, and I liked the boulder field. I'm not fast making my way across the rocks, but I enjoy it as much as, if not more so, than hiking on a trail. We stopped at the top for a few minutes to sign the register, and get some pics of the amazing clouds. Hiking down Doyle was very steep, but at least the ground was soft. For every step I took, it seemed like I slid forward another half step or so; I would have hated to climb up that side.

We took a quick break at Doyle Saddle, then my favorite part of the day began. Fremont looked intimidating to me, but I really liked it. Again, climbing up the rocks was my favorite part. And the weather was constantly changing from almost sunny, to being completely enveloped by clouds, which gave plenty of opportunities for some good pictures. It was definitely steep, but the rocks made for slow going, and I thought it felt easier to climb than Doyle. Another break at the top, and even though there was no wind, it felt cool enough for an extra long sleeve shirt since I wasn't working hard anymore.

After that, it was a quick hike down to the saddle, then easy trail all the way back to the car. Finishing out the hike by walking through aspens again was the perfect way to end the day.
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Jun 10 2016
AZHiker456
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 Guides 28
 Routes 199
 Photos 7,422
 Triplogs 186

40 female
 Joined Nov 07 2015
 
Doyle & Fremont Partial Horseshoe, AZ 
Doyle & Fremont Partial Horseshoe, AZ
 
Backpack avatar Jun 10 2016
AZHiker456
Backpack20.44 Miles 5,706 AEG
Backpack20.44 Miles1 Day   23 Hrs   57 Mns   
5,706 ft AEG   8 Hrs   22 Mns Break
 
1st trip
Partners partners
Peter_Medal
Our goal was to complete the full ridgeline and hit up all 6 of the San Francisco Peaks in the process. With inclement weather on the evening of Day 1, along with underestimating other variables, [like the total distance, the insane amount of time it takes to utilize snow as a water source, and in Peter’s case the impact of altitude], we fell a bit short of the mark. Nonetheless, we survived, had an incredible time, learned a ton, and made memories that will last a lifetime.

Day 1 – We woke up earlier than anticipated but a few last minute things, [like suddenly realizing I absolutely NEEDED trekking poles], resulted in us launching just after the time [5 PM] we originally planned for. At launch, and for the first few hours after, we were treated to blue sky, pleasant temps, and beautiful surroundings. However, as daylight dwindled, so did our luck. With both darkness and a storm approaching, we found ourselves rather suddenly going from shorts/short sleeves to multiple layers when we stopped to put on our headlamps. The light drizzle, minor rumbles of thunder, and “heat lightening” [as many back East refer to it] made us think it was just going to be a passing shower. While the thunder and lightening eventually passed, the precipitation only got worse, going from a drizzle to light rain, then to a steady rain, and eventually to a light downpour. Add some moderate wind gusts to the mix and it didn’t take long before our clothes and packs were completely drenched, despite the “protection” of our ponchos.

Peter had fortunately enclosed most of his essentials, [including his sleeping bag], in waterproof vessels within his backpack; but it was definitely a case of “learning the hard way” for me. Peter had emphasized to me a million times over about the importance of putting the essentials in something waterproof, and he even gave me a few extra waterproof vessels for my stuff. However, not wanting to carry extra weight – and never having had the ponchos fail me with a daypack – I opted to leave the waterproof vessels behind. The situation was bad enough that, had I been alone, my only hope of survival would’ve been to haul pumpkin down the mountain and hope to stay warm enough to make it back to my vehicle. While the cold seemed to grow on Peter more gradually, it hit me so suddenly that I went from feeling mildly uncomfortable to frigid in a matter of seconds, or so it seemed. To make matters worse, the steep grade and tons of rocks on the part of the ridgeline we were on when things got bad did not lend itself to many viable options for setting up camp. When we finally found a spot, Peter rose to the occasion and assembled the old tent [that can be a real piece of work to put up in the best of conditions], faster than I’ve ever assembled the new fancy tents that are breeze to put together. All the while, I stood there useless, with not even enough feeling in my hands to put tent rods together. When we finally got inside, nearly everything was drenched, [including the tent floor which had puddles of water]. The only things that stayed dry were the essentials Peter had enclosed in waterproof vessels.

To top things off, I noticed that my sleeping pad had come off my pack and was nowhere to be found… yet another thing Peter had warned me about. But never having had an issue with the way I was taught to secure it, I’d opted not to take extra precautions… another lesson learned the hard way. Peter was super kind to allow me to squeeze onto his Thermarest with him; if not for that, it would’ve been the floor of the tent, which was one giant puddle.

And if all of that were not enough drama, poor Peter was in for a much rougher night, even though I was worse off in terms of not having dry clothes/layers. No sooner did we burry ourselves in layers when one of Peter’s leg muscles cramped so badly that at first I thought he got bite by something through the tent. We’ve been through some hardcore stuff, [and Peter has a super high pain tolerance like me], yet the cramping took things to a whole new level. To make matters worse, no sooner did one cramp finally resolve when another leg muscle would cramp. The process seemed to repeat for half the night. Unable to move about and get into dry clothes for a few hours thanks to the constant cramping, Peter was shivering pretty badly to the point where I was really worried.

Day 2 – The rain dragged on through most of the night, but Peter and I and his dog Tyson, [who was a superstar and seemed to snuggle up to whatever part of my body was hurting for warmth the most] survived and woke up to blue sky and lots of sunshine. Most of our stuff was still drenched but most of it dried off in no time when we moved it out of the tent and into the sun.

Peter got right to work building an awesome fire ring & fire, while we decided that I would head back down the ridgeline a little ways to search for my sleeping pad. It couldn’t have been far since I remembered having seen it during one of our break stops not too far from where we set up camp, about 1/2 mile tops if I had to estimate. Initially I planned to go back about 20 minutes one way and then head back to camp, but a few feet after setting out, I realized I probably wouldn’t be able to make it very far, given how little water we had leftover… lack of water is a huge trigger for making me cramp, and the 1/4 liter I had left at that point was definitely not going to be enough for me to get back up the steep slope without really running the risk of cramping. Furthermore, the only patch of snow we’d seen up to that point was too big of a backtrack; so if we had to pack up our belongings and continue to push upwards in search of snow, then 1/4 liter of water wasn’t gonna cut it for me. If I didn’t come across my sleeping pad in 5 minutes, I’d need to head back to camp.

Losing my sleeping pad proved to be a blessing. Instead of finding it, I found a small patch of snow about 1/10th of a mile from our camp. I collected what I could in some containers I had on hand, left my pack by the snow, and dashed back to camp to deliver the good news to Peter. Next, Peter got to work melting it and setting up the water filter while I went back to collect the rest of it. The snow patch wasn’t big, yielding only about 3-4 of the 8-10 liters we needed to pre-hydrate, get through Day 2, and have a few sips leftover for the morning of Day 3; but it was so nice to have our immediate thirst quenched. After helping Peter filter a few liters, I set off up the ridgeline in search of more snow. This time, about .15-.20 miles up from our camp, I hit the jackpot, finding several huge patches of knee-deep snow. As thankful as we were to have found snow so close to our camp, converting it to drinkable water proved to be almost an all day affair. By the time we obtained our 8-10 liters and were ready to go on our way, it was just after 4 PM. The next time we plan to utilize snow for our water source, we’ll be sure to bring a larger pot to heat it in and a 2nd water filter.

Had we not encountered the rainy weather on the evening of Day 1, our intended camp spot was only about 1/2 mile further up the ridgeline from where we ended up camping; however, even in perfectly good [dry] conditions on Day 2, that last 1/2 mile took almost an hour to traverse. The combination of a very steep grade with deep snowy patches, followed by a section of boulder crags that became almost a full out boulder hop at times, made that section of ridgeline a very slow go. We hit up UN 11,060, followed by UN 11,045, after which the boulder crags all but disappear and there is once again soft dirt / pined covered ridgeline. The next bump on the ridgeline was our first of the six San Francisco Peaks, Doyle. We paused for a 5-10 minute break at the base and then headed on up. Peter gave me the go-ahead to put the jets on. I wasn’t going for time, [nor did I want to push myself too hard given how exhausting backpacking can be relative to day hiking], but I cruised to the top and really enjoyed the ascent. Aside from the altitude and an unrelenting up [two things that don’t faze me], there was no brush to contend with; add some semi-soft, perfectly gripping footing with some rocks here and there, and for me it proved to be the perfect bushwhack, especially while lugging a heavy backpack.

Upon reaching what I thought was the summit, I stopped, took some photos, and read through a summit log that I found under what I thought was the summit cairn while I waited for Peter. Oddly enough, the log goes back to 1988 yet lacks names in recent years. Perhaps lack of a writing implement had something to do with it, but it was still rather strange. When Peter neared the top and we continued along the ridgeline, it soon became clear that we had not yet reached the highpoint. When we finally reached it, there was another cairn, and underneath was the current register, with several writing implements and recent sign-ins.

As we headed off the other side of Doyle, Fremont loomed ahead, [and seem to say, ‘I pumpkin dare you!”]. I was really torn as to whether or not to put the jets on and try to make summit before dark or to skirt it with Peter by taking the trail that leads from the saddle between Doyle & Fremont to the camp area between Fremont & Agassiz, which is where we planned to camp on the evening of Day 2. Peter was cool with me going for it, but I decided that making summit before dark would be a total ballbuster / barely doable with only a daypack, let alone a backpack. I also wanted to enjoy the summit with Peter if he wanted to go for it the next morning. Thus, I joined Peter and skirted Fremont via the trail, which proved to be exceptionally beautiful. By the time we arrived at the camp area, it was pitch dark and we were whipped from a day well spent… but compared to the horrid conditions we faced the previous evening, setting up camp was a breeze.

Day 3 – We woke around 6 AM. Peter needed a few extra winks and encouraged me to bag Fremont without him while he caught up on sleep. As the crow flies, the summit was only .59 miles one-way and I estimated the hiking distance to be around .8 miles. It proved to be just a few steps over 1 mile and I clocked in just a few seconds over 42 minutes, a time that would normally be less than respectable given the easy bushwhack up. All things considered, [a few stops for pics & layer adjustments, some spots of bouldering/traversing rock piles, not having much pep left in my step after the previous few days, and having averaged just under 3 hours of sleep per night over the course of the previous 7 days…], my time was not too terrible.

I thoroughly enjoyed the ascent, which had a nice variety of traversing up steep slopes & bouldering/hiking up rock piles… and the views from the summit were absolutely phenomenal. The combination of such stunning views and a super fun ascent probably puts Fremont in my all-time top 10-20 list of favorite summits. To top things off, someone had constructed a rock wall/shield on top of the peak in the direction of the wind, which proved extremely effectively at blocking the vicious gusts and made the summit experience so much sweeter.

I wanted so badly for Peter to summit as well, and he was very tempted to give it a go; however, lacking the ‘magical’ immunity to altitude that I’ve been gifted with, he was a bit worse for the wear and wanted to conserve energy for some of the more essential things we needed to accomplish, [like harvesting water and making it back to the TH, which I estimated to be around 9-11 miles, even if we aborted the mission of bagging the other peaks and headed straight back, which was what we ended up doing]. The actual distance came to 7.58 miles and probably would’ve been around 9-9.5 had we not cut tons of switchbacks and/or had Peter not perfected some of our lines, resulting in a very direct shot back.
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LET’S GO BRANDON! :y:
Sep 06 2015
GrottoGirl
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 Guides 3
 Routes 314
 Photos 11,581
 Triplogs 1,359

46 female
 Joined Sep 18 2009
 Tucson, AZ
Fremont & Doyle PeaksFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 06 2015
GrottoGirl
Backpack15.22 Miles 4,547 AEG
Backpack15.22 Miles2 Days         
4,547 ft AEG
 
1st trip
A great overnight backpack in the San Francisco mountains outside of Flagstaff.

Having to carry your water for two days keeps all the people away! While there are springs along the way, the city of Flagstaff has capped them and are piping the water to town. We saw several examples of how Flagstaff is getting some of its water. Read more at: azdailysun.com/life ... html

We hiked up the Inner Basin trail with views of the cirque. We headed to the saddle between Doyle and Fremont peaks. And then we summited Doyle our first afternoon and Fremont the next morning! On Doyle we met a man who was extremely interested in the area's history. We learned that the world's highest observatory once sat on its top, built in 1927. Two Bristle cone pines aligned perfectly to be used to support the telescope. At that time the peak was called Schultz Peak and the observatory was called Schultz Peak Station. We hung out on the peak enjoying the views.

Note: The ridge to the west of Fremont peak was called Doyle peak. That area is now Doyle Saddle and it is not next to the peak now called Doyle peak. However the area we stayed at is labeled Doyle Saddle and trail signs also call it Doyle saddle.

https://en.m.wikipe ... Peak

The next morning Nick and I climbed up Fremont Peak which has even better views of the area. Of course we had to hike up 1000 ft in .75 miles from our camp!

After a snack we headed back to Flagstaff using the gently graded Weatherford Trail (used to be a road). We encountered some rain but not nearly as much as the town of Flagstaff did.
Culture
Culture
Summit Register Log
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Sep 06 2015
RedwallNHops
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 Guides 1
 Routes 10
 Photos 566
 Triplogs 1,300

46 male
 Joined Dec 22 2003
 Tucson, AZ
Fremont & Doyle PeaksFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Backpack avatar Sep 06 2015
RedwallNHops
Backpack14.22 Miles 3,547 AEG
Backpack14.22 Miles2 Days         
3,547 ft AEG
 no routesno photosets
1st trip
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Aug 09 2014
ddgrunning
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 Guides 2
 Routes 230
 Photos 4,557
 Triplogs 382

51 male
 Joined Apr 13 2011
 Gilbert, AZ
Fremont & Doyle PeaksFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 09 2014
ddgrunning
Hiking19.87 Miles 5,551 AEG
Hiking19.87 Miles   9 Hrs   26 Mns   2.68 mph
5,551 ft AEG   2 Hrs   1 Min Break
 
1st trip
Partners none no partners
My brother and some friends with whom we do an annual rim-to-rim trip in September wanted to head up to the peaks for a training hike on Weatherford Trail. Since my son and I had done Weatherford to Humphreys and back at the end of June, I decided to mix things up by tackling the summits of Doyle and Fremont instead. My brother ended up joining me on the off trail adventure, while the rest of our group hiked at various paces and to various destinations (some just to Doyle Saddle and back; some to the Agassiz crossover and back; a few to the Humphreys summit saddle and back; and one to 12,633 and back--all great options on this trail).

My brother and I took off at a pretty good clip, logging about 18-19 min. miles up to Doyle Saddle. From there, we veered off trail up the western face of Doyle. It's off-trail hiking, so I don't know that we found a better or worse way up, but it seemed generally that there were fewer obstacles (tree clumps) to contend with and navigate around if we stayed more on the south/west face of the peak, rather than crossing over a ridgeline you meet closer to the summit that would put you more on a north-side approach. (see gps track)

After the steep climb, we topped out on Doyle to beautiful views. It was very satisfying to capture Fremont, Agassiz, Humphreys, Abineau, and Rees in a single panorama.

We explored the old Doyle cabin, which is 60-70 yards SE of the summit rock pile. [Actually, as I now review the topo maps, it looks like the precise summit is a little further east on the rounded peak, though at only 10-15 feet higher, I'm counting our effort as a summit bag :-$ ] Although the roof of the Doyle cabin is mostly collapsed, there is still a little shelter to be found there in a pinch, and the cabin is equipped with a frying pan, spatula, saw, and a dustpan/broom, so you can tidy up after yourself. We also found a few older and newer summit logs in a tupperware container, along with some emergency candles, lighter, matches and a few other odds and ends. We added our name to one of the new registers under another HAZer who was up there Aug. 2013.

After that, we made a quick descent of Doyle back to the saddle, with our eyes on the next goal: Fremont Peak. Ascending from the east, we stayed fairly close to the top of the ridgeline while climbing up. As the north side of the ridge drops off precipitously in a few places (i.e., the rock-slide/avalanche areas that are readily apparent from the inner basin), when in doubt, we navigated a little lower on the southern side of the ridgeline. However, straying too far down from the ridge to the south could also lead to some steep ravines that would end up requiring backtracking or more technical climbing. Bottom line: my general suggestion is to stay as close to the top of the ridgeline as possible. :M2C: There's no way to avoid a little class 2 rock scrambling, but no real exposure.

As we cleared the treeline and made the final push to the summit, we could see a storm beginning to move in. A hundred feet or so from the summit, I heard the first rumble of thunder in the distance. From the summit, we could see rain falling to the south and west of us. I knew we needed to get off the exposed summit, but our plan was to cross over the summit and drop down into Fremont Saddle, so we continued up and over, stopping only briefly at the summit to snap some photos (forgot to look for/sign the summit register ...) :doh: . I had no desire to backtrack down the way we had ascended from Doyle Saddle--other than the final pitch to the summit (which is steep from any angle), the eastern approach is, overall, much more steep and presents a much more challenging descent route.

Off the top of Fremont summit, we had originally intended to follow the long, relatively level ridgeline around to the southwest "mini-summit" and then from there drop into Fremont Saddle. However, with the thunder rumbling, we wanted to get off the exposed ridgeline and quickly dropped off into the trees on the north-facing slope, descending cross-country through the forested mountain face on various game trails, while generally wrapping around the side of the mountain. The rain descended, and we donned our ponchos, though it never let loose with an all-out downpour. I kept an eye on my GPS altimeter, trying to keep us from dropping below 11,400, so that we wouldn't undershoot the saddle. We thoroughly enjoyed the fresh smells and vibrant forest colors that accompanied the rain, as well as the muffling effect of the overcast skies and rainy drizzle (interrupted by an occasional clap of thunder) as we made our final descent into the saddle. Even when I'm "on trail," that northern slope of Fremont is one of my favorite sections of the Weatherford trail.

At the saddle, we hung out for 30 minutes or so, not sure where the rest of our hiking crew was. We saw a number of groups of hikers descending from Agassiz, passing up their summit attempts in light of the stormy conditions. Eventually, most our our crew came down the trail as well. However, they reported that one gal in our group had made it beyond Agassiz to the summit trail junction and was reportedly still set on reaching the Humphreys summit. Not knowing that my brother and I had opted to tackle Doyle and Freemont Peaks, her plan was at least to keep marching forward until she "caught up" to us (presumably, on our descent of Humphreys). Of course, we were behind her, but felt that we should head up the trail to check on her and, at a minimum, provide some companionship for the long descent back to Weatherford trailhead.

By the time we had decided to continue up the Agassiz switchbacks, the storm clouds were breaking up and the storm was pushing off to the east. So, I felt comfortable venturing above the treeline.

We made it to the 12,000 ft. Agassiz crossover, and thankfully saw our companion marching her way back up to the crossover from the summit-trail side. She reported that she had indeed made the Humphreys summit, and had it all to herself, as everyone else apparently had (wisely) abandoned their attempts in light of the weather. She relayed how she and other hikers on the trail were surrounded by static electricity, making their hair stand on end, while hiking through a pretty solid downpour of sleet and hail. I told her she was lucky, after having tempted Mother Nature so. [-X

The descent from Agassiz crossover to the trailhead was unexceptional (other than, of course, the breathtaking vistas that make this hike a gem in the first place). The skies cleared up and we enjoyed a pleasant, rain-free return hike. Coming back across Fremont, we took the "traditional" trail down and around its northern slopes.

On the way down from Doyle Saddle, we decided to take a "short cut," intending to lop off a section of the trail that bleeds over a ridgeline that separates Fremont's south and southeast faces. Well, as the gps track confirms, we dropped off the trail way too soon and ended up doing some extra bushwhacking to get back to the trail. On the bright side, we ran into a couple of grouse and snapped a few photos.

Our second attempted shortcut was more successful, and more significant in lopping off about a .5 section of the trail that bleeds over on Fremont's south face. I was also more familiar with this one, having accessed it on a previous trip. I'm sure that section was necessary when the trail needed to be navigable by Model T's...

As we rounded the horseshoe bend in the trail by the meadow near the trail register (approx. 2.2 miles from the trailhead), we saw a healthy buck in velvet, grazing in the meadow. The final two miles were a slog, as we were pretty beat.

We stopped in Flag for dinner and then headed back to Phoenix, after another satisfying adventure in the high country. Weatherford is definitely one of my top 5 Arizona hikes!
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Aug 09 2008
toddak
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 Guides 8
 Routes 7
 Photos 1,244
 Triplogs 477

56 male
 Joined Nov 15 2005
 Puhoynix, AZ
Fremont & Doyle PeaksFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Aug 09 2008
toddak
Hiking10.00 Miles 4,625 AEG
Hiking10.00 Miles   5 Hrs      2.00 mph
4,625 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Partners none no partners
Lockett Meadow up to Fremont via the north ridge then over and up to Doyle on a lovely day of intermittent rain and sun. Everything's green and gorgeous!
Flora
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Silverstem Lupine
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average hiking speed 2.24 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.

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