Weaver Peak, Arizona, November 2018

On Thursday, November 29, I joined four peakbaggers I had previously climbed with and climbed Weaver Peak, the highpoint of the Weaver Mountains near Yarnell, Arizona. This climb was part of an ambitious peakbagging trip organized by Laura, Greg, and Keith who were visiting Arizona from southern California. Rich from Las Vegas and I joined the others Wednesday evening and the Thursday climb. Laura had obtained advanced permission to hike on the Sorrells Ranch from its very friendly and helpful owners.

Weaver Peak from our hiking starting point at the end of the Jeep road.
Weaver Peak from our hiking starting point at the end of the Jeep road.

We drove our vehicles to a pond up a rough Jeep road, saving us a few miles of extra hiking.

Looking up the east face towards the summit of Weaver Peak.
Looking up the east face towards the summit of Weaver Peak.

From the pond the climb was a short one, only about 4 miles round trip and about 1900 feet of cumulative elevation gain, but Weaver Peak has a reputation for being one of the most brushy peaks in Arizona. We all wore long sleeves and pants and thick gloves.

Getting closer, we traversed to the right to reach the north ridge and hopefully more open country.
Getting closer, we traversed to the right to reach the north ridge and hopefully more open country.

At first the brush was easy to walk around and our good progress made the climb efficient and fun. But soon the route steepened and the brush grew denser. Fortunately the brush could be partly avoided by scrambling over rocks and slabs which we did wherever we could. The ascent was slow and routefinding was a challenge but it was still fun in some sense.

Rich spotted this Easter Island Moai watching us as we worked our way up brushy slopes.
Rich spotted this Easter Island Moai watching us as we worked our way up brushy slopes.

The clouds became thicker and darker and the cool breeze became apparent as we gained the north ridge crest.

The rounded peaks of Harquahala Mountain and Smith Peak to the southwest.
The rounded peaks of Harquahala Mountain and Smith Peak to the southwest.

We finally reached the summit rock blocks. We added our names to the summit registry, had something to eat. I quickly took some summit photos to document the event. To the southwest I saw the rounded peaks of Harquahala Mountain and Smith Peak, both peaks I hope to visit this winter.

East towards the Bradshaw Mountains with our pond meadow below right of center.
East towards the Bradshaw Mountains with our pond meadow below right of center.

Far below to the east I recognized the pond meadow where our vehicles were parked. It was going to be a slow descent.

Laura and Keith descending from the summit pinnacle
Laura and Keith descending from the summit pinnacle

We soon began our descent hoping to avoid the predicted rain. We tried a more northernly descent and at first this worked quite well with more open ground below small trees. Eventually we again found ourselves surrounded in thick brush as we descended lower across rocks whereever we could find them. At various times our group split up into smaller groups with different opinions on how best to avoid brush, violating one of the prime directives of every climbing/hiking club I know. I was one of the guilty, sometimes not sure of my choice and reluctant to commit others to my errors. But we eventually all arrived back at our vehicles and celebrated our success.

I am glad to have summitted Weaver Peak. Maybe some day I will return, but for now I have many other Arizona peaks to explore.

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Paul McClellan

About Paul McClellan

I had the good fortune to have spent most of my life in the Pacific Northwest, where I discovered the joys and addiction of hiking and climbing in the Cascades Range and other ranges in the Western United States.
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