UN 6523 is a high mesa half a mile long. Perched atop seven hundred-foot cliffs, it somewhat resembles an immense battleship, cutting south from Secret Mountain (Hmmm, or maybe a giant whale swimming south from Secret Mountain. Didn't realize that until I posted the picture below). The butte divides Loy and Hart Well canyons and lies closer to the latter, which is privately owned. As on many Sedona buttes, you may find Sinagua ruins here if you take the right route.
The intimidating UN 6519 rises above upper Boynton canyon but is so high it can be seen from the canyon's mouth. I've heard this butte called the “White Bishop” for its resemblance to the chess piece; the first ascent team called it “The Pagoda.” Whatever the name, the mountain is difficult, loose, and dangerous.
UN 6510 towers more than 1700 feet above Long Canyon in layers of steep, colorful cliffs. The actual climb is a bushwhacking nightmare and may take longer than any other Sedona summit to complete. Interestingly, it can be seen in Jim Jarmusch's 1995 film “Dead Man.”
UN 6474 is the farthest west of the Sedona summits and is somewhat different in character than the others. There's not as much redrock here, and the slopes are more gradual and brushier – though it's a long hike regardless. I saw plentiful bear sign along the way, although no bears were in evidence.
UN 6446 “Bad Rock Butte” stands just above Slide Rock Park and its summit is no more than a mile from the road. But the butte is a maze of dead end routes and short climbing sections. Furthermore, the recent fire loosened not only the slopes around the butte but cooked the vegetation holding many of the cliffs together... beware!
The picturesque UN 6390 “Toroweap Tower” is a steep, narrow butte near the end of Hart Well canyon. A skyscraper-like shape and distinctive summit cap complete the picture, and big walls separate 6390 from Loy, Hart Well, and nearby Secret Mountain.The Toroweap layer of the cap is slightly better rock than the crumbly Coconino sandstone beneath, though not by much.
Capitol Butte (6355') is undoubtedly the most frequently climbed of these summits. There was no trail fifteen years ago, but now two separate routes run to Capitol's summit. Once known as Thunder Mountain, the butte is perhaps the most obvious Sedona landmark, as it looms directly north of the town itself.
UN 6260 is located far back in Bear Sign canyon. Though not overly technical or as hazardous as many other Sedona summits, it is fairly remote. In 1998 Forest Service ranger David Miller disappeared back here somewhere and his body was never found; a trail bearing his name now connects Bear Sign and Secret canyons.
UN 6220 “The Wedge” juts from redrock platforms about halfway up Boynton Canyon. Though from many angles it appears to be part of Bear Mountain, a steep, 400-foot gap separates the Wedge from its larger neighbor. Sheer cliffs and tricky route finding make this a difficult summit to attain.
7.5 minute Quadrangle
|11||UN 6523||6,523||Loy Butte|
|12 ||UN 6519 ||6,519 ||Wilson Mountain |
|13||UN 6510||6,510||Wilson Mountain|
|14||Bear Mountain (South summit)||6,506||Loy Butte|
|15||UN 6474||6,474||Loy Butte|
|16||UN 6446 "Bad Rock Butte"||6,446||Wilson Mountain|
|17||UN 6390 "Toroweap Tower"||6,390||Loy Butte|
|18||Capitol Butte||6,355||Wilson Mountain|
|19||UN 6260||6,260||Wilson Mountain|
|20||UN 6220 "The Wedge"||6,220||Wilson Mountain|