Ascent of Thimble Peak on 2019-12-30

Climber: Evan Battaglia

Date:Monday, December 30, 2019
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Thimble Peak
    Elevation:5323 ft / 1622 m

Ascent Trip Report

I had intended to climb this the day before, but when I headed up Catalina Highway, there was a cop at the base of the highway ensuring people had 4wd before going further. I didn't see any s ow on Thimble from that angle, so I told him I only wanted to go to Sycamore Reservoir, but he apparently didn't know the area, for he simply rudely waved me to turn around saying that the road was icy starting at mile marker 9 (or 9.7? Can't remember). Only later did I look at the route description and see that the Sycamore Reservoir road is at mile 8, with another route possible starting from around mile 7. (Or they could have just blocked the road where it actually got problematic instead of all the way at the bottom...) At this point, given the restricted schedule of the tram in Sabino Canyon, it was too late to try that route. So I resolved to relax that day and get up early the next. I found a campspot up the Redington Road, which was fine after the target shooters headed back home for the night.

I arrived at the Sabino Canyon visitor center at shortly after 9 the next morning, where I was informed that the tram runs every hour, not once every half hour as it says online. The route information I found online was pretty vague and I didn't really know if I'd be able to identify the ascent gully. Since I had time until the next tram I asked in the visitor center if they knew anything about the route. I didn't expect them to know, but to my surprise, the lady said "It's not allowed. You can't tell us!", thereby proving that no matter how little competence I expect, it's always possible to have less.

The route itself was easier than expected, especially on the descent. I took the obvious gully shortly after getting on the Phoneline Trail. There was.some fun scrambling for a while until I met a cairn. After this I had to leave the gully and there was some minor bushwhacking and a couple slightly sketchy scrambles. (I was able to avoid most on my way back.) Eventually I came to some towers and looked to my right and saw nice mellow terrain sloping towards the summit. I contoured over to it, and once I got there, the going was easier and faster. About 1:45 after leaving the tram stop I reached the base of the summit block.

The summit block was much easier than I expected. Class 4 max. I didn't use the chain ladder but took a crack over to the right. I think the chain ladder requires more strength so is probably harder. I'm not sure why someone put it there.

On the way back I was able to take a shortcut across the contour bit that was mostly easier going than what I had come up. I made it from the top to the tram stop in about 1:40, just missing the 2:30 tram.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1794 ft / 546 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Open Country, Bushwhack, Scramble
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1794 ft / 546 m
    Distance:3.8 mi / 6.1 km
    Start Trailhead:3529 ft / 1075 m
Descent Statistics
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Evan Battaglia
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Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

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