Searching for Warmer Climes (and Climbs)

Charlie recently returned from one of his frequent “peak-bagging” trips. These outings often last a week or more and involve making his way up an assortment of mountains, hills, pinnacles, and other formations from mysterious lists of his own making or ones he has discovered from other sources.

This trip focused mainly on a region around Phoenix, and included a large number of other hikers with some members leaving early, others taking their place … and a dog. Here’s more of Charlie’s story:

Some of the group decided to head down a few days early and bag a few summits and then meet the rest of us at Timber Camp campground just north of Globe, AZ. They had perfect weather until a couple of days prior to the group arriving. Then, the rains came — several inches in fact — to be followed by about six inches of wet snow. The road became nearly impassable and one vehicle had to be pulled out using another couple’s newly-purchased truck/camper. What a way to start a trip. Well, cowards that they are, they all broke camp and headed south to the Lost Dutchman State Park campground east of Mesa, AZ where more seasonable weather awaited them.

I drove to Holbrook, AZ where (coward that I am) I checked into the local Travelodge for a warm and pleasant night away from those nasty storms. Sunday dawned very frosty and bright with the promise of the type of weather we went to AZ to experience. I drove down to Lost Dutchman to meet the group and discovered that they weren’t allowing any grass (or was it cactus) to grow under their feet. They had departed to climb some local peak, so I made the best of the remainder of the day by hiking up toward the rock formations behind the Park. Diane and I had climbed the Razor’s Edge rock climb on the Praying Hands formation a few years back. A fun 5.6 climb that ascends the edge of the rock which is only a couple of feet wide in spots. Great exposure and a double rope rappel.Razor's Edge climb.jpg

The group gathered all participants together that evening. After a few beers were consumed and enough lies were told, tomorrow’s hiking plan was discussed. We decided to do Picketpost Mountain — not too far a drive up US 60.

Picketpost is an easy but enjoyable hike followed by easy scrambling up through some cliffs to a knoll and the highpoint. It’s part of the Arizona Trail and obviously sees a lot of traffic on the weekends. The mailbox which held the registers was jammed full and the all appeared to be within the last 6 months. Everyone made the summit, including the Roach’s dog, Izzy, who managed to collect a few cholla on his feet and belly. Thankfully, one of our hikers was a veterinarian, so the offenders were skillfully removed and Izzy only tried to bite his rescuers a few times. Ouch!

Golden Poppies .jpg

The outstanding feature of this hike was the fields of Golden Poppies which were in full bloom.

Charlie goes on to describe hikes up Salt River Peak, Two Bar Mountain, Pinyon Mountain, Richmond Mountain, and Chrome Butte — the last two solo as he headed back home toward Colorado.

What? He only climbed 6 peaks in 6 days? He must have been taking it easy so as not to wear out the others.

Charlie’s full trip report can be read here.

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