Peaking Picacho on Christmas Eve

Peak Summited2021 Picacho Peak
Type of HikeDay hike
TrailheadHunter Trail
Road ConditionsRoad suitable for all vehicles
Bug StatusNo bugs
Snow ConditionsSnow free
Trail ConditionsTrail in good condition
Additional Informationhttps://www.instagram.com/p/CJPO3a-h89i/

My 6th and final hike in the 6-POP challenge.  Picacho Peak is a big chunk of volcanic rock sticking out of the desert floor.  As such, there isn’t or shouldn’t be any clear path to the summit.  That’s why the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) put in a series of cables to help guide you along narrow and steep parts of the trail.  The cable system was built to service a 40-ft beacon put on the summit back in the 1930’s (and dismantled in 1965).  Now it’s there for our pure adventurous enjoyment!

I arrived at 3 PM and was a bit concerned it might be crowded, especially on the upper part of the trail that has seen long waits at the 20-ft cable climb near the top.  Fortunately, many people had other Christmas Eve Plans, and I encountered only a few people along the way, mostly coming back.  After the saddle, there is a steep descent along the rock face that requires a firm grip on the cables (and note that you have to ascend this section on the way back down!).  A few twists and turns, and more steep rock ascents with cables that require good grip strength and sturdy hiking shoes with good traction.  I wore my Salomon Speedcross V’s on every hike this trip; they’re actually trail running shoes but the traction is better than any hiking boots I own.

After the last cable-assisted section, there is another quarter-mile or so footpath to the peak.  The views were spectacular; I had the entire summit to myself and thought I would be the last one up there before Christmas.  However, on the way back down I saw another couple and an intrepid lady coming up.  I finished my hike just as it started getting dark, so I hope they had brought headlamps and made it back down safely.

Another phenomenal hike where trekking poles would be useless, and of course, bring gloves!

Arizona Winter 6POP Challenge 2021 is now in the bag!


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