Ascent of Hayford Peak on 2017-05-19

Climber: Bradley R

Date:Friday, May 19, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Hayford Peak
    Elevation:9912 ft / 3021 m

Ascent Trip Report

How I chose this hike: I was in Vegas for work and was hoping to reach the top of two ultras, Charleston Peak and another. On Tuesday Charleston Peak was unsuccessful, so Friday after the seminars were finishing up I wanted to get another attempt in, it needed to be near by as I'd be getting a late morning start. Hayford fit the bill. If I had the energy I would consider trying another peak on Saturday, but this did not happen.

Parking: I placed "Deadman Canyon, Nevada" in Google Maps and it took me directly to the trailhead.

The drive: I had a rental Dodge Charger for the trip. Driving from the strip in Vegas I stayed on unexciting paved roads until taking a left onto Alamo road. Prior to turning onto this road a sign reads "High Clearance recommended beyond this point" this is a fair recommendation. I spent 15 miles on the gravel Alamo Rd. If I drove with my tires in the tracks I was constantly beating up the undercarriage of the low clearance Charger. Outside of the tracks the gravel was soft and I was constantly correcting steering from fishtailing, never near bad enough to force me off the road. After 15 miles there were 4 more easier miles on the gravel Hidden Forest Rd. I would certainly suggest a vehicle with more clearance. I doubt the trail head has seen many Chargers or similar vehicles. Views along this drive, especially the last couple of miles on Alamo and all of Hidden Forest were unlike anything I'd previously experienced.

Please note that road conditions can change. It may be impossible to get a low clearance vehicle to the trailhead at some point in the future.

The plan: Follow previous Peakbagger GPS tracks to the summit of Hayford Peak.

The Hike: I began at the mouth of Dead Man Canyon (a cool name). Here the views were desert like with Joshua Trees plentiful and prickly pear, and other desert flowers. It reminded me of the scenery you see in old western movies. Once in the canyon you follow an unmarked trail with rugged canyon walls on each side. Early on the vegetation is similar to what is described in the drive above. Throughout this time you're gaining, based on my GPS results from the hike, 400 feet per mile. This is a comfortable rate for me. As the elevation changes so does the vegetation. First the Joshua Trees go away, and what I believe are small junipers start to pop up. Next large Pines (I think Ponderosa Pines) began taking over. The terrain is mostly loose rock, but because this section isn't too steep slipping isn't a major problem. Finally I reach the Hidden Forest Cabin and its small spring. Vertical gain has remained consistent and I've gained almost exactly 2,000 feet in this distance. I took a break at the cabin and explored the cabin itself. There's fuel, food, a map, some saws and a cot and some covers that could be used. (5.18 miles).

The route up Hayford continues by heading left (almost directly north) after reaching the cabin. The steepness abruptly increases here as well, becoming somewhere between 900 and 1,000 feet per mile over the next 1.5 miles, this is no longer a comfortable rate of gain for me, but still very doable. The vegetation again changes in this area and the tall pines disappear. Small pines (maybe Bristlcone) begin to pop up. The "trail" becomes somewhat difficult to follow. Quite often I'm checking my GPS to confirm I'm on route, I never find myself off by any significant amount. Finally I come to a point where I can see the surrounding ridges and quickly find what must be Hayford peak (the small man made structures make it obvious). I continue to a point where I must go downhill for a short stretch. (6.75 miles total)

The downhill is a short stretch, but steep enough that it's not really a relief to your efforts to reach the top. (7 miles total)

Now is the final stretch to the top, a half mile that is constantly steep, and only gets steeper as you near the top. Based on my GPS you gain roughly 900 feet in this half of a mile, making for an average of 1800 feet per mile. This section is quite a struggle as my heart is thumping an my legs are beginning to feel weak. Eventually I need a break, I stop and drink some Gatorade and eat a snack. I decide to leave my poles and backpack here while I go to the top. from here there's a very short scramble followed by loose rock. Finally I begin to crest the peak and can see the man made structures. Finally I reach the top. The views are amazing, in some directions there is nothing but brown desert. In other directions are mountains spotted with small trees. It's a beautiful summit. (7.55 miles total)

I return via the same route, and as much as I enjoyed the hike, I'm certainly happy to be back at the car. (15.1 miles total)

The hike was more difficult than I expected mainly because of the last half of a mile, I guess I'd expected the elevation gain to be more even across the 7.5 miles up. Wrong! The scenery was quite different than what I'd experienced before. I'm very happy I had the opportunity to complete this hike.

Weather: Perfect! Just a small speck of a cloud here and there. When there was a breeze it was a touch cold, when there was no breeze it was a touch warm. I completed the entire hike in long pants and a short sleeve T-shirt. The only problem I had was, even though I should have known better, I didn't prepare for sun exposure properly. My arms, neck and face burned. Luckily my skin is pretty tough and it's not too bad.

Lessons Learned:
1. When in the west if I want to hike I should get a vehicle with good clearance, AWD isn't a bad idea either.
2. Bring sun screen when in the desert.

Other Hikers: There was one other vehicle at the trailhead. I never saw them or anyone else. Quite secluded, just the way I like it.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:4564 ft / 1390 m
    Total Elevation Loss:4564 ft / 1390 m
    Round-Trip Distance:15.1 mi / 24.3 km
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Open Country, Scramble
    Gear Used:
Ski Poles
    Weather:Pleasant, Calm, Clear
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:4314 ft / 1314 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 4064 ft / 1239 m; Extra: 250 ft / 76m
    Loss on way in:250 ft / 76 m
    Distance:7.5 mi / 12.1 km
    Route:Dead Man Canyon> SW Ridge
    Start Trailhead:End of Hidden Forest Roads  5848 ft / 1782 m
    Time:3 Hours 56 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:4314 ft / 1314 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 4064 ft / 1239 m; Extra: 250 ft / 76m
    Gain on way out:250 ft / 76 m
    Distance:7.6 mi / 12.2 km
    Route:Dead Man Canyon> SW Ridge
    End Trailhead:End of Hidden Forest Roads  5848 ft / 1782 m
    Time:3 Hours 40 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

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