Ascent of Harquahala Mountain on 2015-01-03

Climber: Mihai Giurgiulescu

Others in Party:Jeff Webb
Mayukh Banik
Liz Romeu
----Only Party on Mountain
Date:Saturday, January 3, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Harquahala Mountain
    Elevation:5681 ft / 1731 m

Ascent Trip Report

Access notes: The turnoff for the trailhead is on the south side of US-60 between mileposts 70 and 71, but is not marked at all. As indicated on, when traveling northbound, look for a small palm tree on the left (north) side of the highway; almost directly across the way on the south side is a closed gate with a metal sign next to it. In typical BLM fashion, the sign has 'TRAIL' and an arrow vaguely pointing towards the mountain, but no other information. The gate is closed but not locked, so parties entering and existing should ensure they leave it as found. The dirt road on the other side follows the fence southward for a bit, then begins to climb towards the base of Harquahala Mountain. The road is generally in good shape for passenger cars traveling slowly, however there are a few spots where high clearance is a must. There is a narrow section where the vegetation closes in from both sides, with a few 'desert pinstripes' being inevitable on the vehicle's paint job. A marked side road splits off at one point - it should be ignored and the main track followed to the left. A parking area for horse trailers appears on the right; from here, there remain 0.4 miles to the end according to another sign. The trailhead parking area, complete with a toilet and an information board, presents itself about 2 miles from the highway.

Climbing notes: From 2300 ft, the well-traveled trail heads up the broad wash on the northwest side of the mountain, generally staying to its south. The wash narrows into a canyon, which the trail traverses close to its head and where it begins a steady climb up the steep northwest face. This section is overgrown in spots, with plants snagging pants and shirts more viciously than anticipated at first look. As elevation is gained, the trail switchbacks up increasingly exposed slopes; at the time of this ascent, up to 2 inches of snow covered the trail in shaded spots, making attention to foot placement very important. The trail tops out at a saddle at about 5100 ft, from where the radio antennas and the hut on the summit are clearly visible to the east. The remaining gain is achieved via a combination of trail and fire road, the latter at the very top where the trail terminates. The highest point on Harquahala Mountain is the pile of rocks on the south side of the radio antennas; the USGS marker is found here. The summit register is about 50 ft down, in a fancy binder maintained by the Smithsonian and the BLM. Views in all directions are stupendous, making the effort required to get here well worth it. The return requires attention in the snow covered sections, which can get slippery, avoidance of the snagging vegetation, and a good pair of knees.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:3401 ft / 1036 m
    Total Elevation Loss:3401 ft / 1036 m
    Round-Trip Distance:10 mi / 16.1 km
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Snow on Ground
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:3401 ft / 1036 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 3371 ft / 1027 m; Extra: 30 ft / 9m
    Loss on way in:30 ft / 9 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8.1 km
    Route:Harquahala Mountain Pack Trail
    Start Trailhead:Harquahala Mountain Trailhead  2310 ft / 704 m
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:3371 ft / 1027 m
    Distance:5 mi / 8 km
    Route:Harquahala Mountain Pack Trail
    End Trailhead:Harquahala Mountain Trailhead  2310 ft / 704 m
Ascent Part of Trip: AZ Sonoran Ranges 01-15

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Mount Ajo2015-01-012988 ft / 911 m
2Table Top Mountain2015-01-022723 ft / 830 m
3Harquahala Mountain2015-01-033401 ft / 1037 m
4Harquahala Wilderness High Point2015-01-03 
Total Trip Gain: 9112 ft / 2778 m    Total Trip Loss: 9112 ft / 2778 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Mihai Giurgiulescu
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
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.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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