Ascent of Hayford Peak on 2013-06-04

Climber: Craig Willis

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Hi-Clearance Vehicle
Peak:Hayford Peak
    Elevation:9912 ft / 3021 m

Ascent Trip Report

First thing is first. Despite notions by some people to the contrary, DO NOT attempt to take a regular passenger vehicle on either Alamo Road or Hidden Forest Road; both roads are in very poor condition. Follow Alamo Road for 14.8 miles and then Hidden Forest Road for 3.7 miles to its road-end/parking area. Despite only being 18.6 miles from Corn Creek Field Station, expect the drives along Alamo Road and Hidden Forest Road to take an hour.

Another thing worth noting: Hidden Forest Cabin is on the National Register of Historical Places. According to my contact person at DNWR (Rob), people are not encouraged to stay there (but they still do, anyway, and DNWR is not going to prevent access to anyone who wants to visit). One of my concerns is/was actually one of DNWR's concerns: that eventually somebody staying there might get Hantavirus because of the little mice running around the area. Rob told me it had never been reported at that elevation, but you never know if it will in the future.

As for the peak, itself, I had neglected to print-out the route instructions except for the route map and driving directions. I like exploring and the route map seemed easy enough to follow: Hike along a trail to Hidden Forest Cabin and then go up the WSW ridgelines of Hayford Peak. I was hoping my presumptions would be correct, especially considering I needed to get back to Las Vegas in the afternoon with enough time to catch my flight back to Seattle. I had spoken via telephone with one of the main people at DNWR (Rob), who had given me a brief description of the route and roads. With my GPS handy, I figured the summit route would be straightforward... and fortunately it was.

Actually, the route is even more straightforward than people have implied. Hidden Forest Cabin is reached via an ancient rocky wash/trail, and is slightly more than five miles from the parking area with *very* gradual elevation gain. There are several locations where the rocky wash splits, but it always joins back up again. After I reached the cabin, an obvious path leads up the intended ridge to the leftside. The path basically peeters-out, but then it is just a matter of continually ascending the slope to the ridgeline above. There is little-to-no brush to walk through.

Soon after reaching the ridge crest, I started seeing occasional small rock cairns as well as a defined dirt path of some sort. The path disappeared a few times, but more or less it followed the ridge lines and led to the summit. There was one brief section where I went up a narrow Class 2 scramble (no exposure) through a rocky pinnacle rather than dropping down and around its leftside, while there was another rocky pinnacle where I did just the opposite. The summit register is located right next to the USGS Benchmark. This was the fifth of five peaks (including four Ultras) I would summit in 3-1/2 days.

The highlight of the ascent, and the entire peakbagging trip, was seeing DOZENS of hummingbirds buzzing around the springwater coming out of the small pipe near the cabin at nearly 6:00 AM. I never expected to see hummingbirds on a desert peakbagging trip.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4562 ft / 1390 m
    Extra Gain:250 ft / 76 m
    Round-Trip Distance:16 mi / 25.7 km
    Route:Deadman Canyon & WSW Ridge
    Trailhead:End of Hidden Forest Road  5850 ft / 1783 m
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Unmaintained Trail, Open Country
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Time:0 Days 4 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:0 Days 3 Hours 50 Minutes

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