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Ascent of Harquahala Mountain on 2021-01-01

Climber: Daniel Coulter

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Friday, January 1, 2021
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Harquahala Mountain
    Location:USA-Arizona
    Elevation:5681 ft / 1731 m

Ascent Trip Report

Access: Harquahala Mountain can be summitted in two ways: a moderate length hike from the west or a tough drive-up from the east along the Harquahala Mountain Byway. Since I already did a hike in the morning, I opted for the drive-up option. The staging area for the Harquahala Mountain Byway is accessed by paved Eagle Eye Road, but soon after becomes a rough Jeep road that gets worse as you go. A high clearance vehicle will get you a good chunk of the way up, but eventually 4WD is required for the very steep and loose slopes. I drive a stock 2006 4Runner (V6 engine, no lift) and didn't have any issues on this road, although I have some pretty beefy tires which helped on the sharp rocks. I stayed in 4Hi but often shifted into lower gears on the way up and used 4Lo and lower gears on the way down to save my brakes. Any 4WD vehicle with decent clearance should be able to make the drive to the summit. Chris Kerr has a GPS track of the drive if you want one.

The Climb: From the parking area at the summit, it is a very short walk over to the highest rock. I found a reference marker, but not the benchmark. Views were great in all directions.

My Thoughts: After reading about this road in previous trip reports, I was a little worried about what I might encounter, but in the end the road wasn't too terrible. It certainly requires a capable vehicle, but there is no single obstacle which presents a serious challenge. Since it was New Years Day, the road was buzzing with all kinds of traffic and it was a fun atmosphere with everyone testing their 4WD vehicles. I suspect there is much less traffic on a normal day.

I am always looking for climbing partners, so feel free to contact me if you want to team up.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:8 ft / 2 m
    Round-Trip Distance:0.2 mi / 0.3 km
    Route:Drive-up
    Trailhead:5673 ft / 1729 m
    Grade/Class:Class 1
    Quality:1 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Weather:Pleasant, Breezy, Clear



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