Monday, June 29, 2015

Angel Peak - 6/28/15

Instrument Array Apparatus on Angel Peak

A Particularly Messy Scramble in AtBF Canyon

Descending a Ridge on Wooden Pole Powerline Road

Starting Out on Telephone Canyon Road
 Brutal! The heat! The shadeless road! The mean loose-rocked steep hills on the descent! The very brushy bushwhacking! Otherwise, it was a great day in the mountains! ... And, we found a great canyon!

Nine adventurous hikers started out at the bottom of Telephone Canyon Road in the Spring Mountains NRA for an exploratory hike. We were out to find another route to Angel Peak; that little peak set behind the Spring Mountain Youth Camp that has all that technical apparatus on top.

Bushwhacking over to AtBF Canyon
 After hiking up the Telephone Canyon Road around half a mile, we turned to the right into the bushes and trees heading for the next canyon over.

Enjoying the Narrows of AtBF Canyon
 We climbed a bit then dropped into the wash beyond. At first, the canyon was wide and shallow.

One of the Scrambles in AtBF Canyon

AtBF Canyon Narrows
 However, very quickly, the canyon narrowed down and we found ourselves in a new place. We liked it so much that we decided to call it AtBF Canyon! We will definitely revisit this canyon in the future. Limestone walls narrowed and created four or five seven foot scrambles. Some of the climbs were water polished but we enjoyed the challenges. There was very little evidence of this canyon being popular with other hikers but we did see one small fire ring and a few aluminum cans.

Another Scramble
 We helped each other when we needed to as there really weren't any options other than to conquer the walls.

Helping Scramblers

Excellent Hideout for a Mountain Lion
In one section, above the canyon wash on the right side, there was a long cave-like overhang. This is where the small fire ring was found. It also looked like a great place for a mountain lion to be hiding! The wash, itself, was mostly clear of brush and trees along the narrows section of AtBF Canyon. And, some of the trees were fantastical material for a Lord of the Rings movie!

The last scramble, the messy scramble, was the most difficult but not impossible.

Janet Hikes up the AtBF Canyon
 Brush covered the wall and an old log needs to be used to surmount the first level of the wall. The log seemed sturdy for us but it is always good to test such things before putting your weight on them.

Approaching the Messy Scramble
 Some of us found that a step up on the log, then sitting on the ledge was a working technique. Standing up on your feet afterwards is probably the hardest part.

Top View of Messy Scramble

The Canyon Wash Widens
 When the hike exits the canyon narrows, the wash widens and becomes more brushy. We stayed in the main wash for a little further.  We were following compass directions, GPS directions and our nose. The writer felt secure that we would end up on the peak! She just wished that the peak wasn't so far up there!

Our Target Peak
 Eventually, after we spied the bubble-topped peak up to our right, we had to exit the brush of the now-shrunken wash and enter the brush of the steep hill to the right.

Bushwhacking from the Wash to the Steep Climb
 We exited the small wash when brush and a rock wall prevented us from going further.

View from Bushwhacking Climb

Approaching the Paved Road on Angel Peak
This was a miserable bushwhacking section with thick dry wood. Still heading in the direction of the peak, we finally broke through the brush and headed up the very steep hill below the peak. The BLM has cleaned this hill of thick brush but it was of little consolation. The front hikers waited on the guard rail of the paved road above while the last hikers climbed up. We still had almost a mile of paved road to climb that circled up to the top. Views from the road were massive.

The last part of the climb is very steep.
 We were past the Spring Mountain Youth Camp on the road so we didn't run into any signs telling us to Keep Out! Two work trucks passed us with a wave.

Waiting for Everyone to Arrive

Finishing the Climb on the Paved Road
 As we circled around, we saw all the various instruments and antennas. We could see the SMYC down over the hill. At the top, we got our close up view of the large white bubble dome and took our break in a large enough sliver of shade next to a building. Discussions had already been made about the descent but it was decided to take the Wooden Pole Powerline Road back down to the lower elevations. This is a rocky dirt road that hugs a ridge undulating steeply. The footing was absolutely treacherous.

Things to See on Angel Peak
 After the break, we went back down the paved road then turned to our left ... DOWN.

Tired and Hot on the Peak
 Little did we know that this dirt road would be our undoing. There was extremely little shade along the road and the steep loose rocky slopes seemed never-ending. And, oh, did I mention that it was probably around 90 degrees in our present elevation?

Route Down as Seen from the Paved Road

Wooden Poles along the Powerline Road
 Yep. We were hot. We were tired. And, we were all barely making it with our water supplies. Long story short, we descended the endless road until we saw our way to bushwhack across to the BLM fire station which was about a quarter mile down Kyle Canyon Road from our cars. A few of the hikers went ahead to retrieve the cars while the rest of us struggled to make it to the fire station. Dehydration is a terrible thing. Be careful out there!

11 miles; 3000 feet elevation gain; 6.5 hours

The Road Goes and Goes

Finally, the Descent off of the Road and Ridge

Getting a Little Help from a BLM Officer, Zack

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