Ascent of Mount Graham on 2012-03-16

Climber: Lee Newton

Date:Friday, March 16, 2012
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Mount Graham
    Elevation:10720 ft / 3267 m

Ascent Trip Report

I drove down from Phoenix to Safford, observing reasonable quantities of snow on Mount Graham as I approached. Fortunately the Swift Trail Parkway was open all the way to the end of the pavement, just beyond Shannon Campground. I parked and started by going slightly downhill into the campground. Tackling the slope opposite head on I crossed an overgrown jeep road before coming to the maintained forest road 507. It was possible to follow this for the first part but deep soft snow patches made things awkward. Dry ground alternated with snow up to 3 feet deep leaving a choice of continually putting snowshoes on and off, or postholing thigh deep for short sections. There seemed a big difference in the amount of snow between the west (less) and east (more) sides of the ridge so I left the road and followed the ridgeline just on it's west side. This worked ok and I was able to get near the summit without snowshoes. The final stretch of the road was deeply buried in snow so I set off directly for the summit through a purgatory of deadfall. A few scratches and much tree-wrestling later I had made it.

On the way down I decided to take the trail marked on the topo map down to Hospital Flat. This was very overgrown but ok to follow. Some sections were really in the shade and I was back to the same alternating snow problem, but eventually I got back to the Parkway. From there it was mostly gently uphill to the road closure and then briefly downhill to the car. Views were sporadic and hazy, overall not the most enjoyable day in the hills. I hoped for better on Chiricahua the next day.

Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2020 ft / 614 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2020 ft / 614 m
    Round-Trip Distance:6.5 mi / 10.5 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Snow on Ground
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1860 ft / 566 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1660 ft / 506 m; Extra: 200 ft / 60m
    Loss on way in:200 ft / 60 m
    Distance:3 mi / 4.8 km
    Route:Forest Road 507
    Start Trailhead:Shannon Campground  9060 ft / 2761 m
    Time:2 Hours 40 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1820 ft / 554 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1660 ft / 506 m; Extra: 160 ft / 48m
    Gain on way out:160 ft / 48 m
    Distance:3.5 mi / 5.6 km
    Route:Trail via Hospital Flat
    End Trailhead:Shannon Campground  9060 ft / 2761 m
    Time:2 Hours 0 Minutes

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