Pinal Peak and Picacho Peak Trip Report

Pinal Peak (7,848 ft) and Picacho Peak (3,370 ft)

Dates: November 9-10, 2003

Part of a larger trip that involved guiding Edward Earl and Ken Jones to the summit of "Forbidden Peak".

The following day we attempted Big Hatchet Peak but were thwarted on the approach road by multiple gullies that transected the dirt road. An appropriately high-clearance vehicle such as my Tacoma would have made it.

We caravaned in our rentals back to Arizona and, out of Globe, took the fourteen mile road up Pinal Peak - number eleven on the Arizona Fifty Finest list of prominent mountains. At an estimated one thousand vertical feet below the summit, Ken dropped off Edward and myself for earlization purposes, and drove onwards.

Several minutes passed by when Ken returned with news that the summit was off-limits owing to fire restrictions. We decided to continue our hiking anyways to observe for ourselves. Just prior to reaching the locked gate and warning signs, about one mile before the summit, a green Forest Service truck arrived and removed the sign.

We were in! Had we come just twenty minutes earlier all would have been different. We continued as a threesome to the summit on foot. Great views. The highest natural point is atop a ten foot boulder behind one of the several summit electronics buildings.

After Ken and Edward departed for Tucson, I took a $22 / night motel, Willows, in Globe. The following day, Monday the tenth, I toured Biosphere II and found it interesting but not particularly fun or enjoyable.

I decided to drive quickly west to I-10, taking exit 219 for the Picacho Peak State Park. After purchasing a six dollar entry pass, I began my ascent of Picacho Peak at 1:27 p.m. despite the recommendation that four hours should be allowed - which would take me past sunset.

I passed over the saddle after just 21 minutes and, after a two minute pause, downclimbed using the cables provided to the other, western side prior to reascending to the summit after a total of 50 minutes from my auto. The net gain is about 1,400 feet while the total gain is about 2,000 feet owing to the downhill portion encountered after gaining the main saddle.

Views of Interstate 10 and of the desert floor were appealing. Newman Peak, a thousand feet higher still, lay to the northeast.

I left the summit after just a minute owing to approaching storm clouds in the west - I wanted to be off the rocks and onto the trail before rain made them slick and dangerous to climb upon - even with the cables for good hand grip.

I took a deserved break once back at the saddle, ate some snack food and was back at my rental in 1 hour 50 minutes elapsed time from having left it. I was pleased with my time.

I slept at the Park for an additional six dollars. It rained after sundown but soon cleared. My flight home from Phoenix was uneventful the next morning.