Two Southern Peaks

Page Type
Arizona, United States, North America
Route Type:
Time Required:
Most of a day
Class 4

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Two Southern Peaks
Created On: Jan 13, 2004
Last Edited On: Jan 13, 2004


Take the road in the "How to get there section" on the main page.
From the parking lot take Browns trail to the Amethyst trail. Once you get to the fork you will see a sign that reads "Amethyst Trail" pointing north heading down the mountain. DO NOT TAKE THIS TRAIL!!!! Keep heading up to the pass. From the pass you can see up the Scree Chute, the route up Browns Peak. Stay on the trail and take it all the way to the gate. There is a sign that reads "No Trespassing." This area is the Amethyst mine. Work your way around the gate and continue on the trail. The miners are really cool and if they catch you on the property they will probably ask what you’re doing. Just tell them your plans and they won't really care. I have heard that they have given tours of the mine to trespassers, even ones that have wondered into the mine. There is a way to call them to inform them that you are coming, but I don't know how to do this.
Anyway take the trail up some cement stairs until you get to the couloir between the two southern peaks.
The route starts here.

Route Description

I was going to call this hike the "Four Peaks Ridgline", but I only managed to bag the two southern peaks in an attempt to hike all four of them.

Enter the couloir and head up it trying to pick the best way up. This couloir is a scramble up boulders, and solid rock. It also has quite a bit of bushwhacking and working your way through young oak trees. The branches catch you and it takes time to get through them. Then you have the small cacti waiting to prick your hands or feet. Once you get near the top of the couloir head south angling your way to the top of the southern most peak. Take your time through here and space your party out. A large rock almost hit me from somebody that dislodged it. Once you get up to the ridge work you way down and back up through the thick brush. This brush is so thick there are times you cannot see the ground. Finding the easiest way is almost impossible. Reaching the peak is a class2 and 3 scramble and is the easiest part of the entire trip.

Once on the peak head north and down the north East Side of the mountain. You will be going through dense brush again. Near the bottom you will encounter some rocks. This is where the class 4 starts. There are some cracks and chimney’s you must down climb to get to the saddle. This is some serious intense climbing. Total descent is about 220 feet. There is some considerable exposure here.

Once at the Saddle work your way up the next peak. The rock is solid and is mainly class 3 and 4 all the way to the top. It's not easy finding the easiest route. You just pick a route and go. Watch out for the cacti! There are small cacti hiding in the rocks where good hand holds and footholds are waiting to get somebody. The thorns WILL penetrate a boot. There are even some places that are easy class 5. I did this without a rope and am inexperienced in rock climbing. Exposure is extreme.

Once on the peak head over and down climb the next ridge. There is over a 600-foot drop to the bottom of the saddle. I cannot tell you the best way, but just stay near the ridgline. My party dropped off of it too soon and got ourselves in some sticky areas. We were climbing down chimney after chimney and just letting gravity take control and pull us down. Almost the whole climb down, right or wrong way is a seriously exposed climb. Once again watch out for cacti. Near the bottom you have to climb back up to the ridge about 50 feet and then down the ridgline to the saddle.

From here you have a decision to make. You can continue up to the next peak and do all 4 or you can head back down to the Amethyst Trail.

If you decide to do "Peak 2" you are committed to going over to Browns Peak. You will see a ramp heading up "Peak 2". This is not the route. It makes for a fairly easy climb up most of the peak but then you are face with a class 5 climb up a 20+ foot face that is far worse with extreme exposure to reach the peak. If you are comfortable with this it's do-able, but not recommend if you are not experienced in rock climbing. I do not know the route proper route since we headed down, so I won't try to explain it. I have heard that the traverse between "Peak 2" and Browns Peak is the worst part of the whole hike with difficulty and exposure. There is even a knife-edge that must me traversed.

From the Saddle (if you have decided you have had enough), head down the rocky slopes on the West Side. You will encounter more bushes and small trees waiting to scratch you up even more and slow you down. This down climb is a fairly fast and easy one, but is not real fun. Nothing technical at all here. This is the easiest part of the hike. This is a nice escape route if you tried to complete all of the peaks and just could not for one reason or another. Total descent is about 600 feet. Once you are back at the trail take it back to the trailhead. If you have time you could hike Browns Peak once you get back to the pass and have done 3 out of the 4 peaks. Just doing Browns Peak via the Scree Chute is the easiest summit in the Four Peaks.

Essential Gear

I would recommend trekking poles and a pack that you can put them away in. There are areas you will need them and others you will need your hands. Ropes are really not necessary.
Tweezers are a must. More then likely you will get stuck by a cactus or two. There are also agave plants and you might need tweezers for them as well.
Yes this is the Desert, but do not wear cut-offs or shorts. This hike will tear your legs apart.

Miscellaneous Info

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Two Southern Peaks

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