Ascent of Keystone Peak on 2016-01-17

Climber: Kreg Ellzey

Other People:Solo Ascent
Date:Sunday, January 17, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:4x4 Vehicle
Peak:Keystone Peak
    Elevation:6188 ft / 1886 m

Ascent Trip Report

This is a combined trip report for Keystone Peak, Keystone Peak-North Ridge, and Placer Peak.

I parked near the gate at the McGee Settlement water tank and began the hike up at 12:15 pm. I followed the 'main' road and primarily focused on following the power lines up. There are a number of lesser roads that split off so a good rule of thumb if you find yourself confused on which one to take is to look for the power lines. The hike up to the summit of Keystone Peak was completed along the very well maintained and graded road that leads right up to the towers. I did stop along the way to check out the "honeymoon" cabin that sits along the road. So that ate up a few minutes on the way up. I failed to get a distance or elevation measurement at the cabin but its an easy find in a small side canyon along the road.

I made the summit of Keystone Peak around 1:40 pm after approximately 4.8 miles. I spent a few minutes taking in the various views of neighboring peaks and ranges. The Santa Ritas (Mt Wrightson and Mt Hopkins) to the southeast, the Santa Catalinas (Mt Lemmon) and Rincons (Mica Mtn and Rincon Pk) to the northeast, and the Baboquivaris (Baboquivari Pk) and Kitt Peak, and Coyote Mtns (Coyote Peak) to the west. The towers/equipment do tend to hinder views but if you move around a bit you'll eventually score a clear view in pretty much any direction.

After a few pics of the surrounding landscape I retraced my route about 0.4 mile to where a small road splits off the west side of the main access road and heads up to Keystone Peak-North Ridge. This road is a bit rougher than the main access road but it is easily traversed. Just under the peak I did a short x-c hike up the W Ridge to the summit arriving at 2:35 pm after a 0.8 mile trek from Keystone Peak. Once on top I noticed that there is an unmaintained road leading up to the summit along the SE Ridge. Oh well, gotta mix in a little X-c, right? The views from the North Ridge peak are grand with no towers and fewer trees to block your view.

From the North Ridge I followed the rough access road that leads down the SE Ridge and intersects the main access road. I crossed the main road and continued southeastward along a rough game trail that traverses the western side of the ridge over to a Col where the power lines heading to Keystone Peak cross. From this Col I jumped on a small road/ATV trail that leads around the NE side of the ridge and brings you up to another small saddle below Placer Peak. One last steep x-c ascent and I reached Placer Peak at 3:04 pm after approximately 0.7 mile hike from the North Ridge peak. The return trek to the main road was easier as I avoided the game trail and stuck the the small unmaintained road/ATV trail back to the main road. I didn't realize this little trail went over the crest of the first small peak on my way up and had jumped on the game trail instead.

The trek back to the car was approximately 3.2 miles from the summit of Placer Peak. I arrived back at the vehicle at 4:08 pm. Total hike mileage was 9.5 miles roundtrip. I had wanted to visit these peaks a couple weeks back but the rain and snow from two weeks ago put this trip on the back burner. Absolutely clear skies and winter T-shirt weather in southern AZ made today perfect for the attempt.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1482 ft / 451 m
    Total Elevation Loss:319 ft / 97 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.2 mi / 8.4 km
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1482 ft / 451 m
    Distance:4.8 mi / 7.7 km
    Route:Access Road
    Start Trailhead:Access Road Gate  4706 ft / 1434 m
    Time:0 Days 1 Hours 25 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:319 ft / 97 m
    Distance:0.4 mi / 0.6 km
    Route:Access Road
    End Trailhead:Keystone Pk/Keystone-North Pk Col  5869 ft / 1788 m
    Time:0 Days 0 Hours 15 Minutes
Ascent Part of Trip: Keystone 2016

Complete Trip Sequence:
1Keystone Peak2016-01-17 a1482 ft / 452 m
2Keystone Peak-North Summit2016-01-17 b291 ft / 89 m
3Placer Peak2016-01-17 c145 ft / 44 m
Total Trip Gain: 1918 ft / 585 m    Total Trip Loss: 1918 ft / 584 m
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Kreg Ellzey
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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