Sunday, December 22, 2013

Woolsey Peak

Woolsey Peak Hike/Climb
Woolsey Peak Wilderness
Gila Bend Mountains
Gila Bend, Arizona
Mileage - 6.3
Time - 4:02
AEG - 2,207ft

An extinct volcano topping out at 3,171 feet, Woolsey Peak rises abruptly from the desert floor in the Gila Bend Mountains, approximately 30 air miles from the Phoenix area.  The volcanic activity is evident from the shape of the mountain and polished black rock undergoing eons of weathering.  From a distance, Woolsey appears to blend in amongst the surrounding landscape until you draw near the base and see why it has a clean 2,000 feet of prominence.  At number 63 on the Arizona prominent peak list, Woolsey is a notable climb for anyone looking for a little off-trail adventure. 

The trend continued as I found myself faced with another trail-less mountain to climb, beginning this one with a basic topographic map and my own intuition leading the way.  It was quite difficult finding anyone to break away from the holiday chaos/commitments to get out for a hike.  Luckily my good friend Wally was available on Saturday with his 4WD Jeep to venture across BLM lands into the Woolsey Peak Wilderness.  We started our trek by hiking across the barren desert floor and up a drainage towards the Northern slope.  I read a few trip reports describing the steep scree fields and loose boulders going up the hillside and they were in no way exaggerated.  The final mile up the mountain gained roughly 1,500 feet and took us close to an hour.  As tough as it sounds, the hike was really quite fun.  If last weekend's trip to Black Mountain was a zero, I would give this one a seven or eight out of ten.

Woolsey Peak - 3,171ft


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