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Ascent of Maricopa Peak on 2017-08-21

Climber: Gustav Sexauer

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, August 21, 2017
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Maricopa Peak
    Location:USA-Arizona
    Elevation:2557 ft / 779 m

Ascent Trip Report

I made a cereal box pin hole eclipse viewer and put it in my ski backpack to bring on my hike today. Phoenix was in for just a 68% partial eclipse (although I think that was 68% diameter coverage, not area coverage), but I still wanted to see it. I parked at the triangle where the summit road and San Juan road split. The gate was locked as it is almost always. A cyclist there wondered why I wasn't going up to the top with everyone else, and there were many cars headed that way, but I said I was doing my own hike. I started on the road, then broke off to the right when I saw an old two track/still used single track. This made a shortcut to get me on the Alta Trail without going all the way to that trailhead. I stopped a couple times before reaching the ridge to check the progress of the eclipse. It was just starting when I began my hike at 9:20am, but the maximum would be at 10:33am. I got some good looks at it, although my cereal box didn't provide a very large image; the Sun was maybe a centimeter wide. Once I got on the ridge the pace picked up, but I was texting Katrina about how it was going as well. At this point a cloud covered the Sun, but when it was of medium thickness I could look directly at the Sun and see that it had a bite out of it. Unfortunately it went behind the darkest part of the cloud soon after. When the trail ducked off the back side of the ridge I should have stayed with it, but instead I lost some elevation and hooked around the corner to realize that I needed to get back on the almost nonexistent trail on the ridge. I bushwhacked up to it and then began a slightly scrambly route to the top. At exactly 10:33 I reached the summit. It was still cloudy, and I turned around in a hurry because it wasn't cloudy to the NE. Just two or three minutes later the Sun broke through and I was able to get a glimpse of just about the full extent of the event. I then went back out the full length of the off-trail ridge section and rejoined the trail. I stopped for a few more viewings, but just used the trail the whole way to my shortcut at the start which I used again. I saw dozens of cars coming down the summit road in chains, but I saw no one on the Ma Ha Tauk Range that I had just highpointed. During the eclipse in direct Sun I found that it wasn't as scorching hot as typical full Sun and the vistas looked dimmer like I had gone for a darker pair of sunglasses than normal. Hopefully I can get out for a hike in 2024 when the next eclipse comes through this area.
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1742 ft / 530 m
    Total Elevation Loss:1742 ft / 530 m
    Round-Trip Distance:5.2 mi / 8.3 km
    Grade/Class:Class 2
    Quality:5 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Road Hike, Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack
    Weather:Hot, Calm, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Gain on way in:1342 ft / 409 m
        Gain Breakdown:Net: 942 ft / 287 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Loss on way in:400 ft / 121 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.2 km
    Route:Alta Trail
    Start Trailhead:San Juan Road Block  1615 ft / 492 m
    Time:1 Hours 13 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Loss on way out:1342 ft / 409 m
        Loss Breakdown:Net: 942 ft / 287 m; Extra: 400 ft / 121m
    Gain on way out:400 ft / 121 m
    Distance:2.6 mi / 4.1 km
    Route:Alta Trail
    End Trailhead:San Juan Road Block  1615 ft / 492 m
    Time:1 Hours 12 Minutes



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