Ascent of Chiricahua Peak on 2012-03-17

Climber: Lee Newton

Others in Party:Roger Drake
Date:Saturday, March 17, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Chiricahua Peak
    Elevation:9759 ft / 2974 m

Ascent Trip Report

After an ascent of Mount Graham on Friday afternoon, I spent the night in Willcox, AZ. Early the next morning I drove an hour southeast to Turkey Creek Road, 9 miles of dirt but in very good condition, no need to have rented a Jeep but certainly faster that way...

I parked just beyond Sycamore campground at a small pull out by a sign which read Mormon Creek, Chiricahua Peak 5 miles. The trail was nice underfoot and well graded and I gained height quickly. The morning was cool and the air fresh. After half an hour I caught up with a gentleman named Roger Drake, who was also in AZ climbing ultra-prominent peaks. We agreed to hike together and he made an excellent hiking companion. As we chatted we continued to gain height, and very soon we came to the junction of trails where the Mormon ridge trail meets the Mormon Creek trail. We considered the best route to head for Chiricahua Saddle, but after about a quarter mile we found progress difficult due to hard, icy snow covering the trail. Looking to the peak we picked out a line that seemed snow free, basically on the southern side of the faint WNW ridge. The ground was steep and loose, but thankfully still frozen, allowing for steady, albeit strenous progress. In what seemed like no time, we were on top enjoying the sunshine (the whole route was in the shade until the very top). Walking a short distance north of the benchmark, there were limited views to the north and nothwest.

Descent by the same route was easily accomplished, and a near perfect hike was made perfect by the gift of a cold beer and a friendly chat with Roger and his wife Laura at their campsite in the valley. Somewhat reluctantly I headed off to squeeze in an afternoon ascent of Mount Lemmon, before the forecast storm hit on Sunday.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3399 ft / 1036 m
    Distance:9 mi / 14.5 km
    Route:Mormon Creek Trail
    Trailhead:Sycamore campground  6360 ft / 1938 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:2 Hours 50 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 

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