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Southeast Arizona in October

I am in the initial stages of planning a trip to southeastern Arizona at the end of October and beginning of November. If all goes according to plan, this will be a car camping and peakbagging trip with plenty of activations thrown in. I’m looking for advice on peaks to add to my list. I’m primarily looking for ultra-prominent peaks, county high points, and short hikes or drive ups. At the moment, I am somewhat limited in how much hiking I can do so I’ll probably do just one real hike and then try to load up on shorter things and drive ups.

These peaks are all for sure:

  • W7A/AW-001 - Mount Lemmon
  • W7A/AW-003 - Mount Bigelow
  • W7A/AE-051 - Sugarloaf Mountain
  • W7A/GR-001 - Greenlee County HP

And then I am hoping to hit some, but not all of these:

  • W7A/AE-007 - Mount Graham - I understand this might still be off limits? Peakbaggers don’t seem to care, but SOTA people do.
  • W7A/AE-011 - Heliograph Peak
  • W7A/AE-012 - Chiricahua Peak
  • W7A/CO-001 - Carr Peak and W7A/AE-013 - Miller Peak

I am basically looking for anything interesting east and south of Phoenix, though I may possibly continue up US 191 towards Petrified Forest NP, and then back to Phoenix. Enough stuff along that route would make me more inclined to go that way.

Chris,

Mount Graham is most definitely off limits. But you might look at W7A/AE-010 Webb Peak as an alternative, it can be a good double with AE-011.

I’ll take a look at my list and see if I can come up with any other ideas. Might be fun to meet up while you are in this area!

73,
Keith KR7RK

Webb Peak is a perfect example of the kind of thing I am looking for. I’ve put it on my map. Thanks! I just read your trip report about it.

Do you think I will have any problems with road closures at the end of October and into the beginning of November? On the one hand, this is much further south than the other trips I’ve taken out west, all of which are at their end of season by the end of September. On the other hand, it’s all still pretty high up.

Chris, As Keith points out, Webb and Heliograph are a good pair. There is a campground at the trailhead (and road, for road walk) at the base of Heliograph. (and more nearby, if that is full.
Very near the trailhead for Webb, is a visitor’s center, with an old-time very helpful volunteer.
Chiricahua is a long drive, but a nice hike, with not too much elevation gain, and also a campground near the short, (high clearance required) road that goes to the trailhead. Suggest you stay at he camp and get an early start for Chiricahua, because afternoon weather can get extreme quickly. Carr is beautiful, but an honest hike. Miller is a righteous hike; (see my description.)
All Best, and welcome to Southern Arizona. Ken

Chris,

Here is a link to a PDF file called AZ SOTA Summit Difficulty Scores 2019-0726.pdf which you may find useful in planning your activations in Southeastern AZ. The file is a record of my SOTA activations to date and includes the following information (with some data omissions):

  • Activation date
  • Summit Reference
  • Summit Name
  • Geographic area (Tucson, Sierra Vista, etc.)
  • Terrain (drive-up, trail, road, bushwhack, etc.)
  • Summit Score
  • Hike Difficulty Score (my proprietary score on a scale of 0-10, 0 is the easiest, 10 is the hardest)
  • Hike Difficulty per Point (my proprietary score on a scale of 0-10, 0 is the easiest per point scored)
  • Hike Distance (miles)
  • Ascent Time (my personal time)
  • Total Ascent (gross feet)
  • Measured Elevation - Low (ft)
  • Measured Elevation - High (ft)
  • Starting Latitude & Longitude (My starting GPS coordinates)

I hope that you (and others) will find this information useful. The link to this file will expire on 25-JUL-2020.

Have fun!

Paul K9PM

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Paul -

This is fantastic information. I am slowly going through it and comparing my proposed route to anything you’ve marked as a drive up or short hike. It’s definitely going to take me a couple more days to get through it all. Having the geographic area in particular is a big help. I’ve already added several things I didn’t already know about. I might have to do something like this for my own activations.

It’s been a while, but I’ve finally bought airplane tickets for this trip. I’ll be flying into Phoenix on October 26 and flying back on November 2. I’ll be renting a car and keeping it cheap by staying at national forest and state park campgrounds as much as possible. For SOTA, I’ll going to keep it simple with 2m FM and my arrow antenna for locals, and 20/30/40m CW with my MTR3b. I expect to stay on each summit for about an hour.

My extremely rough schedule is as follows. I should be able to spot myself either via cell phone or APRS. I’m hoping to be able to do alerts about a day in advance. This is all very much subject to change.

  • October 27 - Mount Union (W7A/AW-006); Hutch Mountain (W7A/AE-028 ); Buck Mountain (W7A/AE-044)
  • October 28 - Myrtle Point (W7A/CS-020); Porter Mountain (W7A/AE-043)
  • October 29 - Greens Peak (W7A/AE-009); Noble Mountain (W7A/AP-007); South Mountain (W7A/AP-010); Greenlee County HP (W7A/GR-001); Rose Peak (W7A/AE-025)

Things start to get a little fuzzy after that and I don’t want to make definite plans until I know what the weather’s going to be and how I’m feeling. In general, I will either be heading towards Chiricahua (W7A/AE-012) or turning around and heading towards Humphreys. Weather, snow, or acclimatization would all be reasons I’d decide to not do Humphreys. I’ll leave the option open, but be smart about it.

So I don’t really know which days these will fall on, but I expect to hit some or all of the following. I will definitely hit Lemmon, at least:

  • Webb (W7A/AE-010); Heliograph (W7A/AE-011)
  • Lemmon (W7A/AW-001); Bigelow (W7A/AW-003); maybe Green (W7A/PE-002)
  • Pinal (W7A/AW-009); Carol Spring (W7A/AW-031)

If anyone wants to plan some S2S activities with me, or come along to hike on some of these, or anything else just let me know. I should be able to make mountain goat somewhere around Porter or Greens Peak, depending on what else I do at home in the next couple weeks. I’m really looking forward to this trip.

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