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Mount Hopkins (Near Tucson) - Whipple Observatory

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Mount Hopkins (Near Tucson) - Whipple Observatory

Postby Sarah Simon » Wed Jan 27, 2010 9:15 pm

Hello Arizonans,

I am getting quite mixed :? results when trying to determine whether or not I'm able to hike to the summit of Mount Hopkins near Tucson.

Details range from:

What's the big deal? Just follow the many trails to the summit and scoot around and enjoy the observatory structures, etc.

to

No! You can't go to the summit without registering for the guided Whipple Obseratory tour.

So, what's the real scoop?

Thanks,

Sarah
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Postby surgent » Wed Jan 27, 2010 10:11 pm

As far as I know it's open... there may be some issue with specific points on the property. Had this same issue with Lemmon. Walk around like you belong there. Astronomers are generally cool.
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Postby Sarah Simon » Wed Jan 27, 2010 11:00 pm

surgent wrote:Walk around like you belong there. Astronomers are generally cool.


Compass? CHECK
Water? CHECK
Raingear? CHECK
Pocket protecter? CHECK
...wha???

Well, if I go, I'll be there with my 70 & 74 year old folks, so we should look innocent enough. ;)

Thanks for the input.

Sarah
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Postby coldfoot » Thu Jan 28, 2010 2:48 am

I know some people who work there and have been there.

In principle, I don't think access is legally prohibited.

In practice, it's an active work site, vehicles are moving around, and if you are wandering around people will wonder what you are doing and it will be something of a distraction, so they would kind of rather you weren't there. At the very least, if you go, be discreet so you don't risk future access. Also, for obvious reasons don't poke around or use lights at night.

The road up to Mt. Hopkins both below and above the gate is one lane, mostly dirt, and has many hairpins. The crew who work up there use radios so they don't run into each other around blind curves. If you drive the road, be very careful and remember there is traffic that isn't really expecting you.

Oh, one other thing, when are you going? There may be a ton of snow up there now, and the weather can be surprisingly bad, including high winds.

If it were up to me I'd hike Mt. Wrightson (if your folks are up to that) and take the guided tour of Mt. Hopkins. The guided tour would let you actually see a telescope.
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Postby Andinistaloco » Thu Jan 28, 2010 3:54 am

I was recently up there... the road ends at a gate and other than clambering over it, I wasn't entirely sure what to do at that point. Ideally folks would be going in and coming out and I could either drive or walk in, but that wasn't the case on this day. Also, the gate was attached to a fence, and I thought about walking around the fence until it ended (if it did) though that seemed a little sketchy too.

Anyway, right now Tucson's got snow over 6K or so....
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Re: Mount Hopkins (Near Tucson) - Whipple Observatory

Postby lcarreau » Thu Jan 28, 2010 4:30 am

sarah.simon wrote:
So, what's the real scoop?



Here's the REAL scoop !!!


Image
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Postby Sarah Simon » Fri Jan 29, 2010 7:12 pm

Hey gang,

I just want to close the loop and thank everyone who provided their input.

We will be heading down for our annual visit to see my folks in Green Valley in a few weeks. We can always get a good feel for mountain conditions by looking at the peaks from my parent's back patio in Desert Hills. ;) Additionally, my parents serve as fine "conditions reporters" as they'll have been hiking in the area for weeks before my husband and I arrive.

Thanks to those of you who suggested other mountains, although some (like Wrightson) are already included in other plans and others just aren't what we're looking for. (You know - this porridge is too hot...this porridge is too cold, etc.)

At any rate, it sounds like the surest option is to register for the Whipple Observatory tour, but see if we can't hike there (or at least hike part of the route). Strikes me as a lot of hassle to have a fun day in the mountains with my folks. :roll: There are plenty of other peaks in the area not so encumbered by red tape.

Thanks again to those who replied!
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Postby lcarreau » Sun Jan 31, 2010 12:54 am

Hey Sarah:

You're very welcome!

Geez, I wish I had parents living in Arizona.

"Mine" live in northern Utah, where it's very cold, blustery, lightly snowing with an unstable
load of snow in the mountains.

I'd rather be in AZ, where there's sweat running down my nose!



8) :wink: :wink:
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