Ascent of Maricopa Peak on 2015-11-27

Climber: Scott Surgent

Date:Friday, November 27, 2015
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Maricopa Peak
    Elevation:2557 ft / 779 m

Ascent Trip Report

I parked at the junction where the Summit Road bends left to the towers, while the main road, San Juan Road, goes straight. Mile-marker 2 is located nearby. The road is gated, and apparently open to vehicles on the first weekend of each month, but I wouldn't assume too much. The sign was old, so it's best to come here expecting to park at this junction.

I walked along San Juan Road a half mile to the Alta Trail on the right, then followed the Alta Trail uphill toward the range. The trail is well built and features many switchbacks, which means longer distance but not as severe gradients. Once on the range crest, I continued west, up and down, eventually losing about 100 vertical feet, then following the trail as it contoured across Maricopa Peak's north slopes. I stayed on the trail as it gained to a highpoint, due north of the summit. The trail then dropped about 50 feet, but I bailed here and started directly up the rock and grass slopes.

This segment was a little loose and sloppy, but sloped back enough so that it didn't feel too precarious. I inched higher, the summit's north-facing cliffs ahead. I found very scant paths, and was able to thread the needle up the rocks, using hands in places, but with very little actual scrambling. The top is narrow and about 40 feet long. A sloping rock near an edge is the highest point. There is a cleft about 10 feet deep that separates the north summit from the south. The south knob is about a foot or two lower.

Moving at a fast pace, I made the top in about 90 minutes, spent 10 minutes on top, then hiked out in a little over an hour.

The summit elevation may be as high as 2,557 feet. The map shows a tiny 2,550-foot contour, and some resources list the height at 2,557 feet. The prominence, assuming this 2,557-foot elevation, is about 930 feet.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1168 ft / 356 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.5 mi / 8.9 km
    Trailhead:1389 ft / 423 m
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Scramble

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