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Ascent of Browns Peak on 2015-05-19

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Others in Party:Katrina
Date:Tuesday, May 19, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Browns Peak
    Location:USA-Arizona
    Elevation:7657 ft / 2333 m

Ascent Trip Report

We borrowed a Honda Ridgeline because we heard that the road to the trailhead was long and unpaved. On Highway 87 there was a light-up sign that said, "Wrong way driver ahead". We didn't know what to do, but luckily we never saw any problems before we turned off the pavement. The road to Four Peaks is easy to follow as it's much more improved than the roads that spur off of it. We realized we would have been fine in a Corolla on this road because it was smoother than even the two mile road to the Harquahala Pack Trail that I drove with that car a few days ago. The one turn we did have to make was well signed and leads to the Lone Pine Trailhead where it dead-ends. This road follows a ridgeline and while I was driving I heard a loud sound and I thought we were going to be hit by some truck/motorcycle/ATV coming up from behind at high speed, but it turned out it was an airplane that buzzed the ridge about 50ft overhead at a 90 degree angle. Wowza!

At the trailhead the sign to start the path is not well positioned, but someone with a sharpie helped out by drawing the arrows that the sign should have had. We went on the trail on the right side which was initially wide and dirt. The path narrowed down as it climbed the ridge, going through a variety of vegitation. There were sections of trees, large rock gardens, and even big flowering bushes that tightly walled the trail. We saw a number of lizards and the bugs and bees were going crazy around the flowers. We then made it to the small saddle with the great views to the west. The Phoenix valley was hazy party due to smog and also due to humidity in this unusually rainy month. We eyed up the couloir route and the brush route, but we decided on the rocky couloir because we both enjoy a good scramble. The trail continued on and was easy to follow all the way to the bottom of the chute. The rock was loose, but the pitch wasn't too steep to make it perilous hiking near one another. About half way up we got to the base of what seemed like the crux of the route where searching for hand a footholds was mandatory. There was a group of four coming down and we wanted to let them pass so that we didn't pressure them and so that they didn't send rocks down at us. This ended up being a 12-15 minute wait because of the size and speed of their group. Once the group got below us, one of them said he was kicking a rock, and without any hesitation he kicked a half football sized rock down the couloir. We thought that was fairly scary since there might have been others climbing up that he couldn't see and we couldn't have stopped him if we knew there were... We kept climbing and had a good time, able to move decently with 60L packs up the rocky drainage. On one hand hold I threw my hand up and was stabbed by a cactus in one finger. I was watching out on most holds, but this was a blind one and I couldn't have avoided it. My finger hurt, but I was ok. We kept on it and made it to the person-wide saddle and turned left to go to the top. At the top we found the top rock without much trouble and enjoyed the great views all around. Katrina got her foot on top first because she had to beat me on her home county's highpoint.

On the way down we passed two guys going up near the bottom of the couloir. When we had just gotten past the main overlook of the valley they passed us going down. They asked us if we went to the top. They apparently turned around at the tough section because they couldn't find a good route. It was strange to us because they seemed like the typical go-getter college-aged jocks. The rest of our hike back and drive back went smoothly. We also saw a few butterflies.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:2012 ft / 613 m
    Total Elevation Loss:2012 ft / 612 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.1 mi / 8.2 km
    Grade/Class:Class 3
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Scramble, Exposed Scramble
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1992 ft / 607 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 1967 ft / 599 m; Extra: 25 ft / 7m
    Loss on way in:25 ft / 7 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4.1 km
    Route:133/Couloir
    Start Trailhead:Lone Pine Trailhead  5690 ft / 1734 m
    Time:2 Hours 30 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1987 ft / 605 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 1967 ft / 599 m; Extra: 20 ft / 6m
    Gain on way out:20 ft / 6 m
    Distance:2.5 mi / 4.1 km
    Route:133/Couloir
    End Trailhead:Lone Pine Trailhead  5690 ft / 1734 m
    Time:2 Hours 



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