Ascent of Mount Lemmon on 2017-10-27

Climber: Tom Lopez

Date:Friday, October 27, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Mount Lemmon
    Elevation:9157 ft / 2791 m

Ascent Trip Report

Mount Lemmon

The high point and register are located outside of the closed to the public astronomical observatory grounds. Inexplicably there is no official trail that leads to the summit around this forbidden zone. I may have missed a good trip report that describes how to get to the summit without crossing the the forbidden compound but when I arrived I found no clear route to the summit. So, here is my best attempt to clear up the situation.

Forest Service signs confusingly announce summit trail parking but there is no trail to the summit. Nevertheless, follow the signs and the paved road past the ski area until you reach a large, tubular steel gate. There is a parking lot at this point on the left. Park and then walk past the gate and followed the paved road up to the next gate at the entrance to closed observatory compound which is enclosed by a large chain link fence. Look to the right where you can find a faint path dropping down from the road. Follow the path crossing under a low branch and past a solitary fence post. The path now follows the chain link fence north toward the summit. The trail tread varies in quality and eventually drops down the hillside about 50 feet to avoid a rocky step. (I dropped off the step and found that the path then lead into the forbidden zone albeit through a spot where the fence has collapsed.)

I marked the path dropping down the hillside (which is not apparent) as it drops down the hillside with a couple of cairns. The route crosses under a pine tree and then climbs up the grassy hillside to the summit without any additional difficulty.

It would take one or two people equipped with a polaski, a shovel and a saw about two hours to make this route a stellar trail. I would do it but it's just too far away from my home in Idaho to return.
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