This isn't a standard trip report but what I posted on Facebook after I finished the climb.
I drove my truck camper to the start of the 4X4 road and parked at the beginning of that. It was about a mile to the end of that road, at an old water tank turned into a huge fire pit, that the use trail starts. It is fairly easy to follow until you get below the 2 peaks, then I went left up to the south summit. Coming down from the saddle between the 2 peaks I followed the tracks where others had slid down before, angling left to keep out of the gully coming down between the peaks. Total time was about 5 hours, 50 minutes. Total distance, 5.1 miles. I just realized I forgot to look for the summit register on the north peak, there wasn't one on the south peak.
Easy Things First
I read some place recently that you should do something you are afraid to do, to push your limits and grow. Well I did that today on the north summit of Florida Peak in the Florida Mountains Wilderness Study Area. It isn't a high mountain, only 7448' but the range rises up from a flat plain with a number of peaks in a row. The easy south peak was thought to be the highest but now some say the more difficult north peak is a few feet higher. I did the easy one first and was looking at the vertical sides of the north peak. I had read that some climbers used ropes for safety but that many others did it without them. It is considered an easy 4th class climb, meaning that you need to use hands and feet, but if you fall you you will get hurt. In this case the actual climbing was easy but the fall could have been up to 10 feet with a landing zone of rough, jagged rocks directly below. The scary part was that just to the left a few feet was a drop straight down of 100 feet or more.
I decided to climb the south summit first, as it was supposed to be easy, as well as Google Maps shows it as Florida Peak. Instead of going up the draw, I went a little to the right to try to stay on rocks more than in the thick brush. As I got near the summit I realized that I would have to go to the left a little because it was too vertical to go up from the north. I found an easy route up, then went right on the ridge just a short ways and I was at the summit. I sat and looked at the north peak while eating a snack, and debated if I should try to climb it. I went to check it out, thinking that it was just an easy walk across the saddle.
To Do or Not to Do
Finding an easy route across the saddle turned out to be a little more of a challenge than I expected. It involved going from one side to the other and back to get around rocky spots but soon I reached the easy scramble up to the small saddle between the two north peaks. I spent awhile sitting there eating my lunch and thinking about it while studying the potential routes. I had pretty well talked myself out of doing it but decided to go to the base and study it closer. I climbed up about halfway, to the crux, which was easy, and then climbed back down, which is the harder, scary part for me, but that was also easy. I had been praying the whole time that God would give me wisdom to not do it if it was too dangerous but didn't get any feeling that I shouldn't do it. So, I climbed back up to the crux and very carefully studied the hand and foot holds, tested them a bit, and all of a sudden realized that I had just about done it! A couple more moves and I was at the very frayed anchor sling, and then a right turn, push up over a rock ledge and I was on top!
Then I had the feeling, Oh no, what have I done! What if I can't climb down? I wonder if they will charge me for a helicopter rescue? Continuing to pray, reminding myself that the actual climb was easy, I just had to do it in reverse and stay calm, and I was ready to give it a try. I did have one anxious moment when I couldn't find a critical foothold at first, but after that all went smoothly and I was ready to make the tedious descent down the loose rocks and dirt slope to the base of the mountain, and then walk the rough road back to my camper. That was the worst part, I got a couple of thorns in a hand and a foot sliding down the slope, then slipped on the gravel road and fell down, but managed to brake my fall with my hands without getting hurt!
Feeling good, thankful to be alive, and praising God.