Sunday, June 5, 2016

Raintree via Trail Canyon - 6/5/16

Charleston Peak from North Loop Trail

Raintree (foreground) & Mummy's Toe (background)

Charleston Peak from Trail Canyon

Climbing on the Upper Half of Trail Canyon
 Today, the next Charleston Peak training hike was held. Eighteen club members of the moderate to strenuous levels arrived at the Trail Canyon trailhead in the Spring Mountains NRA before the parking lot filled up on this beautiful and warm Sunday morning. Most of the hikers were training for a climb up to the summit of Charleston Peak during this summer season. In fact, many of the hikers are aiming for a summit later this month before the monsoons hit the mountains. There will likely be several opportunities to climb old Charlie in 2016!

Hiking Toward Raintree on the North Loop Trail
 Using the same strategy as the previous training hikes, the coordinator hiked Trail Canyon at a moderate pace. A few hikers stuck with her but most pushed their limits and went on ahead to wait at the saddle.

Cockscomb Ridge (above) & Top of Fletcher Canyon Wash (below)
 This week, we managed to only stop for a break one time, at the halfway point. Progress!

After Magnification: Charleston Switchbacks still partially in Snow Today

Climbing the North Loop to Raintree
 When training for a peak hike such as Charleston Peak, it is important to strengthen the muscles around the joints with several steep ascents and descents. The summit climb totals 8.5 miles each way with 4800 feet of elevation gain. Strong hikers can accomplish this in between 7 and 9 hours. The coordinator will aim for a 10 hour day during late August. With all of this in mind, those that are training for their first summit should:
1) Carry as much water as you can for the training hikes.
2) Realize that the most difficult part of the summit hike will likely be the descent. Strong feet and knees are recommended!
3) And, it is important to learn the trail so that you know how to pace yourself throughout the 17 miles.

We all arrived at the Trail Canyon / North Loop saddle between 45 minutes to 1 hour/5 minutes from the start. This is similar to our times in years past. Improvement on your Trail Canyon time is improvement on your overall strength.

Trail Climbs into the Bristlecones
 With a count of eighteen at the saddle, we dropped over the other side onto the North Loop Trail heading toward Raintree.

Fletcher Peak as seen from North Loop Trail
 As the trail circles around the top of the Fletcher Canyon bowl, the views of Charleston Peak and Cockscomb Ridge are very photogenic. After that, the trail begins climbing again.

Relaxing at Raintree
A Windy Day at the Raintree Saddle
 The word is that the front group of hikers reached Raintree in record time! We all took our break there in a fresh wind. Someone has recently removed the log structure that was so good as a windbreak. Not sure why. The last hikers were not at Raintree very long when the front hikers decided it was time to leave. After gathering again at the Trail Canyon saddle, we finished the descent. A beautiful day in the mountains.

7.5 miles; 2200 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Descending the North Loop Trail to Trail Canyon

Cockscomb Ridge peeks out in front of the South Loop Ridge

Griffith Peak rises above Fletcher Canyon below North Loop

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