Pilot Peak was my 3rd hike in 3 days. I started on Hayford
then hiked Arc Dome
, with SPer Dean
. After completing Arc Dome, I took the long drive up to Pilot Peak arriving there after dark. I found the road up to Miner’s Camp and slowly made my way up this awful road. This is definitely 4WD High Clearance territory and it took me nearly an hour to travel the 5 miles to the end of the road. I did make one wrong turn when I mistook a wash for the road for about ¼ mile. I had to back out of that and find the real road again. I still think the wash was a better road than the real road.
At the end of the road, I found a place that was relatively level and car camped for the night. Early the next morning I made my breakfast and got ready to head uphill for the day. I took lots of water because I anticipated a tough dry climb.
The day dawned clear and I found myself at the end of a box canyon with steep sides. I knew which way the summit was supposed to be so I picked my way up the steep slope on the right side of the canyon. After climbing a few hundred feet I reached the ridgeline at about 7,200 ft. and saw some of what lay ahead of me. There was a large talus filled valley that looked menacing. The valley reached a saddle about 2,000 ft above me. I decided to stay on the ridge I was on and follow it over to the south ridge of Pilot Peak. There is no trail here, but the terrain is relatively open and I made slow progress.
Lots of talus to rock hop on. I sought out spots that I could see had a little grass or dirt because I didn’t want to rock hop all the way to the summit. Some of the talus moved when I stepped on it, so I wanted to minimize my exposure here. It wouldn’t do to twist and ankle on these slopes.
This hike was only supposed to be 2.5 miles to the summit, but the going was very slow. Eventually I reached the south ridge of Pilot Peak and there was somewhat of a climbers use trail on the very top of the ridge. The footing was better here but it was still steep.
I followed this ridge up and it started becoming narrower with steep drop offs on both sides. I kept going until it cliffed out at about 9,700 ft. I had to back track a little and then down climb to the talus field. More rock hopping talus for most of the rest of the way up to the summit.
It took me a full 4 hours to cover the 2.5 miles and climb 4,150 ft. The registers were in a mail box on the summit and they were interesting. After lunch, I headed back down the ridgeline that I used to come up. I stayed on the ridge as long as possible before being stopped by a steep rock outcropping at 9,000 ft. elevation. I then bailed off the ridge towards Miners Canyon. This was very time consuming descending through talus and brush, but eventually I could see my truck far below. I headed directly at my truck which brought me down quite a ways further up Miners Canyon than I started. I followed the dry creek bed down and eventually got to my truck. It was brushy in the canyon bottom, but there seemed to be a use trail on the north side of the creek.
I got to my truck 7.8 hours after starting and I only traveled 5.25 miles. I started the day with 6 liters of water and arrived at the truck with only ½ liter left. Did I mention that it was hot? This would be a good hike to bring a hiking buddy in case you twist an ankle or worse…