Silver Peak, Southeast Arizona, April 2017

On Saturday morning, April 23, I left my dispersed campsite along Pinery Creek and drove over Onion Saddle to the east side of the Chiricahua Mountains to hike Silver Peak. As I crested Onion Saddle and began my descent I observed the steep peaks and ridges and deep valleys below me in the morning light. This view curiously reminded me strongly of the North Cascades of Washington State. I descended into Cave Creek Canyon near Portal, Arizona, and parked at the Silver Peak Trailhead.

The east face of Silver Peak from low on the Silver Peak Trail

The east face of Silver Peak from low on the Silver Peak Trail

The Silver Peak Trail leads from the floor of Cave Creek Canyon to the summit of Silver Peak, the site of a former lookout. Silver Peak is the 72nd most prominent peak in Arizona with 2008 feet of prominence and 8008 feet of elevation.

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Cochise Head, Arizona, April 2017

On Saturday morning, April 22, I met Michael Berry at the entrance to the Chiricahua National Monument. From there we drove into the Monument and spent the rest of the day hiking and climbing Cochise Head in the northern Chiricahua Mountains.

Cochise Head from Massai Point, Chiricahua National Monument

Cochise Head from Massai Point, Chiricahua National Monument

Cochise Head is the 83rd most prominent peak in Arizona with 1913 feet of prominence and 8113 feet of elevation. It is located just north of the Chiricahua National Monument. I visited the monument the previous afternoon and observed Cochise Head from Massai Point.

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Apache Peaks, Arizona, March 2017

On Sunday, March 26, I joined Eric Kassan, Michael Berry, and Adam Humphreys in a quite pleasant climb of Apache Peaks in the Tonto National Forest north of Globe, Arizona. Apache Peaks is the highest point of the Blackjack Mountains. It is the 36th most prominent peak in Arizona with 2580 feet of prominence and 6940 feet of elevation. Last April I hiked Aztec Peak and on the drive home I explored the driving access to Apache Peaks. I found the access roads to be in good condition and looked forward to returning again for a summit attempt.

A white gate provides access to the roads leading into Apache Peaks. Eric, Adam, and I camped Saturday night just inside public land beyond the gate. Eric had a quick dinner and we visited in the darkness under the stars as I made dinner for myself. We felt celebratory after climbing Pinnacle Ridge earlier that day. We had a new peak to climb the next morning.

Apache Peaks from FR 220 (April 2016)

Apache Peaks from FR 220 (April 2016)

After breakfast on Sunday Michael joined us at the gate. We drove in and parked off Forest Road 220 where our climbing route began. The Apache Peaks summit appears as a the forested ridge above the cliff band on the right in the above photo. We climbed up the prominent ridge in front of us and through the cliff band on the left.

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Pinnacle Ridge, Arizona, March 2017

On Saturday morning, March 25, Eric Kassan, Adam Humphreys, and I met at a dispersed campsite just south of Pinnacle Ridge in the Santa Teresa Mountains. Eric and Adam had arrived late Friday and I only noticed they were parked nearby when I got up in the dark to start my breakfast. After breakfast we drove north to Trail 66 near Sand Tank. The goal was to climb the high point of Pinnacle Ridge.

Pinnacle Ridge from the road leading to Sand Tank/Trail 66

Pinnacle Ridge from the road leading to Sand Tank/Trail 66

Pinnacle Ridge is the 40th most prominent peak in Arizona, with 2470 feet of prominence and 7550 feet of elevation. Eric and I attempted Pinnacle Ridge last April. The climb statistics are quite modest, but the mixed forest surrounding rock pinnacles reduces visibility and the thick brush on steep slopes obstructs progress. On the previous occasion we ran out of time but this time we started soon after sunrise and had the entire day if necessary to complete the climb. We knew we had a long day ahead of us.

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