On Tuesday, December 22, I joined Matthias Stender on a climb of Growler Peak, within the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge. Growler Peak has 1541 feet of topographic prominence and 12.1 miles of isolation. It lies west of the city of Ajo near the northern end of the Growler Mountains and overlooks the Growler Valley and the Granite Mountains to the west.
Matthias and I met in the town of Ajo and convoyed west on the Charlie Bell Road into the Cabeza Prieta NWR. We stopped short of Charlie Bell Pass where the road became rockier, narrower, and would be slower driving. This was close enough to Growler Peak for us to hike the rest of the way.
On Saturday, February 20, Adam Humphreys and I climbed Prieta Peak, the highpoint of the Slate Mountains. Prieta Peak lies about 25 miles southwest of Casa Grande, Arizona. It has 1617 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 121st most prominent peak in Arizona.
Prieta Peak first caught my attention when I climbed in the West Silver Bell Mountains late in 2017. I noted it again while climbing in the Sawtooth Mountains early in 2018. I have been hoping to visit it since, and was pleased to hear that Adam was available and interested in joining me this February.
On Friday, February 12, I climbed Safford Peak in the Tucson Mountains west of Marana. Safford Peak has 1063 feet of topographic prominence; many times I have noted its distinctive profile as I bicycled the bike paths in Marana and Oro Valley.
Friday morning I parked at the Sanctuary Cove located below the northeast face of Safford Peak. Sanctuary Cove is a private property open to the public and intended as “a place of quiet prayer, meditation and self reflection in the undisturbed environment”. Several trails wind through the property.
On Friday, February 5, I finally climbed Cat Mountain in the Tucson Mountains, just north of Arizona Highway 86 west of Tucson. Many times I have traveled beneath it on my way to or from mountains to the west and noted its steep south face. I’ve often recognized its distinctive profile from our bicycling routes in Tucson.
Friday morning I parked at the Sarasota Trailhead close by to the northwest of Cat Mountain. This is a very popular trailhead for day hikers, but I had no trouble finding a parking spot. I followed the Sarasota Trail towards the peak.