Maricopa County Highpoint Trip Report

Browns Peak

Date: December 15, 2006
Author: Andy Martin

The view from the top seemed to cover about half the state, including CoHPs Graham, Lemmon/Pinal, Humphreys, Baldy, Union, Gila points, and possibly Harquahala and Greenlee. I think Browns Peak is in the running for "finest" viewpoint in AZ, with criteria:

We wanted to locate an "all brush" route that avoided any rock climbing or exposure. When here you get a great view of the two most popular routes on Browns. They both look pretty exciting.

The "couloir" route follows the huge gully just west of the summit here, but we opted for the brush route, which follows a clearly visible line of vegetation in the bottom of a drainage.

This route starts at about 6,960 feet elevation, on a flat section of the ridge, at a large rock fire circle. At this point you leave the main "herd path" and contour east to a brush-filled gully.

The slope you contour on has seen a big fire, and several large tree trunks are crossed while making the traverse. Using hand clippers, I was able to clear some small brush along the use route. These clip marks can be used to identify the approximate route all the way to the top.

After making the traverse, you ascend the brushy gully to about here. The primary difficulty is the steep and loose ground, which is bothersome on the ascent, and slippery on the descent.

After reaching the landmark shown above we drifted too far north and got cliffed-out about here.

We dropped down a bit, contoured southeast, and then ascended a fairly open 30 foot wide sloping "ledge" to here.

At this point we were perhaps 30 feet vertical under the summit, with a class 2+ slightly exposed ridge climb to the summit, which everyone managed to ascend.

On our descent from the tip-top, a couple of us explored a steep brushy gully that descends due east from the HP. It merges with the main use route after about a 200-foot descent. This route could be used by those uncomfortable with the class 2+ ridge climb.

Future parties are encouraged to continue improvements on the "brush" route - cairns marking the optimal path would be handy, as would more work with hand clippers.