Battlement Mesa RS
East Pocket Knob P300
Woody Mountain P500 RS

Oct 12, 2022

With: Tom Grundy
Eric Smith

Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 GPX
Battlement Mesa later climbed Oct 18, 2022


It had gotten a little too warm in Sedona, so we decided to head north to the Flagstaff area and then to the Grand Canyon. I got up early to do a summit that Eric had little interest in, then we headed north to meet up with Tom who had spent the night in Flagstaff.

Battlement Mesa

This isn't so much a mesa as a thin class 3 ridgeline. It's a fairly short hike from the Broken Arrow TH at the end of Morgain Rd, south of town. I came to discover there is a whole network of trails in this part of the National Forest that we knew nothing about - lots to do here. Many of the trails have been constructed to accomodate mountain bikes, making for some very challenging single-tracks. I was up early, well before dawn to get an early start. I hiked the trail network for about 15min before leaving it to follow a social trail up a steep, woody gully that leads to a saddle on the northeast side of the summit. Easier cross-country travel up then leads up the NE Slopes to the base of the final stretch. Some airy class 3 gets one across the thin ridge separating the lower east summit from the higher western point. Good views of East and West Twin Buttes to the south and southwest, both of which would be much better objectives. I wouldn't have time for them today, but I would talk Eric into doing them when we returned to Sedona the following week. After retracing my steps off the class 3 portion, I went around the southeast side of the airy ridge to descend the SW Ridge down to the trail network which I then followed back to the trailhead.

East Pocket Knob

East Pocket Knob is the highpoint of the Red Rock-Secret Mountain Wilderness in the Coconino National Forest north of Sedona. There is a Forest Service lookout tower adjacent to the highpoint which can be reached via a long drive on Forest roads from the north. We chose the more convenient starting point from the east at the pavement, though it would be a bit of a climb out of Oak Creek Canyon on the AB Young Trail. The three of us convened at the Bootlegger Picnic Area along Oak Creek, about 1/3 of the way between Sedona and Flagstaff. Starting off at 8a, we found the crux was the confusion on how to find the trail on the other side of the creek. We went across the creek on a downed log, then picked up a trail heading north along the west bank of the creek. It took us about 10min to realize this was not the AB Young Trail, as it showed no desire to climb out of the canyon. Back we went along the trail to the south, eventually discovering the junction that we were looking for. We would spend the next hour and a half making our way up the trail as it switchbacks the steep western escarpment of the canyon. Views for much of this are quite nice, looking up and down the canyon's length. Above, we hiked along the forested summit mesa to reach the lookout and the Wilderness HP. Knowing that the tower had to actually be outside Wilderness, we looked around the eastern side of the lookout for signs of a register, but found none. Though in good shape, the lookout was closed to visitors and no longer appears to be manned - perhaps it was just too late in the season. We could climb up the stairs, but there was no access to the cabin or the deck around its outside. We found one of the reference marks, but no sign of the benchmark itself. We returned the same way, getting back to the picnic area by 11:30a, 3.5hrs after starting out.

Woody Mountain

It was not yet noon when we returned from the previous hike and had run out of planned hikes. With the whole afternoon remaining, we started looking around for something on the way north to the Grand Canyon, eventually hitting upon Woody Mountain, found in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. It lies in a patchwork of NF, state and private lands, southwest of Flagstaff. An inholding on the north side of the summit blocks access from Forest Road 231C that the topo maps shows winding its way to the summit. No more. We found our way along a series of dirt roads that meander through the area, eventually reaching our starting point from the northwest, adjacent to Rogers Lake (completely dry at this time). Much thanks to Matthias Stender for his GPX track on PB that shows this alternate, legal route. We spent a little under an hour hiking the closed road to the summit and the tall lookout tower that resides there. As before, the tower was closed, and this time we didn't feel like climbing the stairs for a better look. We short-cutted the spiraling road on the way back with a bit of cross-country. We lost Eric on this short stretch, waited around at a corral by the land boundary for some time, eventually figuring out he must have gone further north and bypassed our waiting area altogether. We had about an hour of daylight remaining when we returned to the Jeep, deciding that dinner in Flagstaff sounded better than looking for another summit to visit...


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