Back to Apacke Junction and the Lost Dutchman State Park for another attempt at the Flat Iron summit via the Siphon Draw trail. It begins with the typical stroll through the Sonoran landscape. The first mile is rolling but then....
....the trail begins climbing and my first look at the Flat Iron, in the middle of the above image. The 3 mile route climbs about 2600' but the last mile, geesh.
Again I reach the slick rock area. Above it is where I turned right instead of left and damn, I did it again but at least I knew I was on the wrong trail this time and back tracked.
Here we go, the correct ravine, a boulder strewn more climb then hike, just the way I like it. This was a lot of fun.
Ahhh, the Flat Iron comes closer.
The final 8/10 of a mile gains 1800'. It is not hiking but boulder hopping and pulling yourself always upward until you reach this feature, a 12' wall that is beyond vertical. This stops a lot of people but I found some hand and foot holds on the right and clambered over it. Looking back, I wondered if I'd have any issues getting back down but that was for later. Now was the reward....
.....the flatish final few hundred yards to the rim.
I stayed up here for half an hour just wandering around the perimeter and taking images and video. Spectacular and that word doesn't do justice to the 360 degree views. For future reference, it took me 1:45 to get to the top but there was also several minutes spent trying to figure out the route through the boulder field.
Standing on the edge, well, 2' from it, the views down are neat too. I'm not afraid of heights but I can't make myself stand at the very edge either. I usually think, what if the rock suddenly gave way or a gust of wind hit and that keeps me about 2' from the edge. The rock outcropping in the middle is where I ended up on my previous attempt. I passed 10 people coming up, each of whom said they were headed to the Flat Iron but none made it so I wondered how many got off the trail as had I or got to the wall and turned around. Well, time to head back down.
I arrived at the 12' wall and waited but no one was coming up who could, you know, give me a hand down so I swung out into space, trusting my foot would find a ledge and it did on the first try. I was kind of skeered during this maneuver. Made it down through the boulder filled gorge and arrived at the head of the slick rock. Began going down and realized I was in the wrong channel so climbed out, found the correct channel and half way down looked back and saw the first channel ended with a 40' drop, see above. It took 1 minute less to get down as it did to ascend the trail. Six miles total in 3.5 hours. This is my new favorite hike. too bad it's 90 minutes from home. Well, the Mount Graham failure on my bike is gnawing at me so I'm probably going there this weekend. There's also the Shootout ride, a GABA Tour de Tucson training ride, what to do, what to do.
Mark is a long-time cyclist who enjoys poking fun at himself but most especially at his friends. No nicknames or comments are intended to offend, accept them in the humor they are intended.