This is a great hike for all of us who've driven right past Picacho umpteen times on the Phoenix-Tucson I-10 trip and said, "What a cool peak! I should really climb that!" Well, yes, you should! And amaze your friends, since most of the time from the highway it appears to be as steep and otherworldly as Devil's Tower!
You'll be much happier if you have gloves to handle the cables with, and just be psychologically prepared to reach the saddle and then lose LOTS of the altitude that you've just gained. A great rugged but doable way to spend a (winter!) day.
First time, March 2002, second time, January 2008. Amazing hike, cables help with tricky bits but the exposure is still quite high - enough to keep the adrenaline pumping the whole time. Bring gloves! Lots of people - a popular hike. Can get kind of clogged up at the tricky bits. Even on my second hike, still had to work up some courage in parts despite the cables. Nevertheless we did it in about 3 hrs r/t, including time with the crowds.
This is an extremely fun hike/climb! It was more challenging than I expected, and I loved every minute of it. Definately must be done in cooler weather - people have died out there in the summer!
I don't remember the exact date of this climb, but we had camped at the Picacho Peak State Park CG on our way from AZ back to Colorado. It was in late April and we did it from the longer Sunset Vista Trail then down the front, a loop trip. The climb was fun and the rock good, but it would have been even more fun without the cables, in my opinion. The main memory we have of this hike was that it gets pretty darn hot there in late April and we had not carried enough water. As soon as we got down to the TH we guzzled water at the faucet. YUCK!! That water was awful!! At least it was wet.
I climbed it with Eileen Kriter a few summers ago, though I don't remeber the date exactly... I should check my journal...
All I can say is it was HOT, but the view was amazing. Thank goodness for some serious route developing that has been done by previous hikers, cause this is a pretty exposed trail in some spots! All I could think about on the way up was "I wonder if there are any technical climbing routes?!" So much rock, yet I've never heard of any... maybe the rock is too chossy and loose, but it sure is something to see!
I have climbed this peak many times, with my dog as well, and have summited in less than 23 minutes. I have also done the Sunset trail, which many prefer, and have taken 38 minutes to ascend via this route.
Nice, steep jaunt.
This was one insane climb. The trail was so steep. I have never seen a trail steeper. This mountain is a scramble to get to the top. I am not used to the heat, and was burnin up. The sun was pounding on the east side of the mountain and that side was hotter then the west side. As far as the view, there wasnt' much to see. It was just a neet hike.