Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Mount Kimball Summit Hike Catalina Mountains February 21, 20015

                           GPS rendition of our route up Mount Kimball

Directions: From the University of Arizona take Campbell Road North toward the Catalina Mountains. After River Road Campbell become two-lanes with curves so watch your spped. At Sunrise  Drive turn to the right (east). Follow Sunrise until you see the turn-off for Skyline Drive. The Finger Rock Trail head is on Alvernon Drive left off of Skyline

My friend Nathan and I arrived at the trail head at 10;15 am. our objective was to summit Mount Kimball. With an elevation gain of over 4,200 feet in approximately 5 miles this is a challenging hike. The trail is also extremely rocky and narrow making adding to its difficulty. Last year I made it up to the saddle where there is a junction for the Ventana Canyon and Pima Canyon trails. At this point my hamstring was tightening and cramping so I made the decision to turn around and go back to the car. Ever since that day I had sought to summit the peak. Because of our late start Nathan and I had to keep moving in order to finish the hike before 530 pm. I got into my grinding pace churning out the miles. About three miles in Nathan and I met two girls who were working in Arizona on a temporary basis sadly they hiked faster than I did so I was not able to talk with them. At the saddle we took a break and moved on. The summit of Mt. Kimball is wooded but there are a few rock out crops that give hikers almost a 360 degree view. The view from the top (we hiked to a rock outcrop 400 feet above the presumed top of Mt. Kimball) was extraordinary with the Biosphere to the North-west and Picacho Peak to the west. Sadly because it was late in the day we could only stay on top for ten minutes  On the way back to the car my walking stick became useful to decrease the strain on my knees. I  also ate some salt to relieve my cramping hamstrings. Overall Nathan and I hiked about 11 miles with about 4500 feet of vertical change. The trail is easy to follow and minimal route finding skills are needed.

 Part way up Finger Rock Canyon

              Looking north near the top

                East from the outcrop on top

                      Me on top

                                                 Cool dead tree in the canyon

                            Looking up Finger Rock from near the bottom

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