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Political Talk Show Host and Internet Radio Personality. My show, In My Humble Opinion, (original, huh?) airs on Tuesdays at 10:PM and Saturdays at 8:PM, Eastern time on RainbowRadio.
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Thursday, February 26, 2015
Flatiron follow up
Piestewa Peak (aka Squaw Peak) has a prominence of 1,176 feet. It's what I've always considered "Level One:" A decent workout, but pretty much anybody can do it. The trail feels the most gradual, and it has the least amount of hand-over-foot actual climbing. The only tough part is that the summit is completely covered in red-hot, pointy, jagged rocks. So there's no place to sit down and rest! But of all of these peaks, it's the one that really anybody can reasonably do.
My video from Piestewa:
Camelback Mountain is my "Level Two." It has a prominence of 1,334 feet. There are two trails. The Echo Canyon trail is the more "relentless climb" of the two. It's hand-over-foot boulder scramble almost the entire way. No question: It's an ass-kicker. But I recommend it over the Cholla Trail for anyone who has any issues about heights. The Cholla trail starts out gradual, like Piestewa, until you reach the saddle, about halfway, maybe 2/3 of the way up. THEN it's a much steeper boulder scramble than Echo, and also one that leaves you feeling a bit more exposed - hence my warning to anyone who has issues with heights. (At one point you'll walk about 50 yard along a 3-foot wide trail atop a ridge with a steep, sheer-face drop off on both sides. If that kind of thing doesn't sound "cool" to you? Stick to the Echo Canyon trail.
My video from Camelback:
Picacho Peak is "Level Three" and probably my favorite. It has a prominence of 1,574 feet, but a total gain of 2,290 feet. This is due to the Hunter Trail going half way to the top, before going all the way back down the other side, and then all the way to the summit. So in a round trip, you'll make THREE ascents: two on the way up, one more on the way down! It's also the most fun, in my opinion, as there are many sections with ropes and cables to hold onto while you climb. This, and the many rickety bridges, give it a real, "grown up's jungle gym" feel. It's a tough climb, and will challenge your fears quite a bit, but it's still the most fun in my opinion. And as it's well out side of the city, about half way between Phoenix and Tucson, it has the best view as well.
My video from Picacho:
So... just to recap:
Piestewa: 1176 foot prominence
Camelback: 1334 foot prominence
Picacho: 2290 foot gain
Flat Iron? about 2800 feet! More than DOUBLE Camelback! You start out with a 2-mile hike, gradually ascending just over 1000 feet in the process, before ascending 1761 feet in the last 0.8 miles alone; almost completely a hand-over-foot, boulder-scramble the entire way up. BRUTAL. You almost hike the equivalent of one of the prior peaks just to get to the base of mountain and then start climbing! I'm not sure what "Level Four" is, I'm calling this one "Level Five."
Videos of Flat Iron in the previous post.
All that said, I highly recommend all of these. The area in and around Phoenix is awesome for hiking. Just go in late-winter or early spring. By July it just gets way too hot. I was lucky the day I did Piestewa: The Temperature dropped to 90 degrees that day. The rest of the week it was closer to 100. It was 100 degrees on the day of my second try at Flat Iron - so it's no surprise that we didn't make very far up at all that day! I've been in Phoenix when it's been 115 degrees out. So... Highly recommended... from November to May.