Our group of nine, park at the scenic overlook at the top of Gates Pass Road on this beautiful, sunny morning. We'll hike clockwise around the formidable Bushmaster ridge before ascending to the peak. Thereafter, some ridge hopping, prior to a nasty, bushwhacking descent to complete our loop.
The initial ascent, following a faint trail, winds through many patches of the dreaded Jumping Cholla. Most of us collected at least one cone on our clothing with a few of us having to remove spines that had penetrated.
The route has a few steep but short descents that require some care while navigating. Above, top right, members of our group have stacked up a little but quickly clear through and we continue.
There are multiple peaks in the vicinity, each beckoning to be visited.
Matt emerges from a fairly steep climb with lots of loose footing. I always hike this route clockwise as the reverse direction would require a treacherous descent. In the distance, Gates Pass Road and branching from it, the Yetman Trail.
Working our way behind the ridge, we ascend a very steep, brushy section and reach.....
.....the ridge that we viewed while in the parking lot. There is some easy hiking along this until.....
....the ridge narrows. A hiking pole or two is very handy through this section.
Gloves too come in handy as we pick our way up and down several peaks until we break at the high point. We find the summit registry and sign in before some additional ridge hopping and then....
....descend steeply off the ridge, reach a saddle and then descend a ravine. Once the descent eases, we make our way through one last obstacle.....
....a thicket of a variety of nasty cactus. I managed to lead us on a serpentine route until we reached Gates Pass Road and followed it a short distance to the parking lot, finishing our 3.4 mile, 1800' adventure.