Spruce Mountain P500
Mt. Floyd P1K
Peacock Peak P2K
Sugarloaf Peak P500 RS

Fri, Oct 21, 2022

With: Eric Smith

Sugarloaf Peak
Story Photos / Slideshow Maps: 1 2 3 4 GPX


Eric and I were camped high in the Bradshaw Mountains in the Prescott NF, having climbed Mt Union, the Yavapai County HP, late the previous afternoon. Eric had to be back in Albuquerque by evening, so we planned a last peak together in the morning before parting ways. I would then head north to Interstate 40 and west towards California, tagging a few other peaks I would find along the way.

Spruce Mountain

This summit is found about 4mi north of Mt. Union, both sporting USFS lookout towers. I think these might be the closest pair of towers I've yet encountered. Despite the close distance, there is almost an hour's worth of driving between them, all on well-graded forest roads. The forest is riddled with residential developments both old and very new, all looking like they could become fuel in a future fire. Nearby Prescott has expanded with development over the past decades and some of that is spilling into the higher, forested elevations. Spruce Mtn has more than 700ft of prominence and the popular Groom Creek Trail that climbs to the summit from the west in a bit under 4mi. We chose to use the easy way from the north via Spruce Mtn Rd. The good forest road gets one within half a mile of the summit where a gate is encountered. It is an easy walk to the summit via the picnic area found just below the lookout. The lookout was unmanned and closed to visitors upon our visit. We climbed the nearby highpoint rocks for views south to Mt. Union, the Prescott NF spreading out in all directions. We were done with the hike in about half an hour, finishing before 8a. We said goodbye and headed off on our long drives towards home.

Mt. Floyd

This P1K is located north of I-40 in a patchwork area of state and private lands. The outing let me explore a part of Route 66 between Ash Fork and Kingman that I had never driven before, so that was pretty cool. I used the well-graded Ranch Rd heading north off Route 66 to get within a mile of the summit. Much rougher spur roads suitable only for 4WD led even closer, within a quarter mile of the summit on its southeast side. Though the distance was short, the roundtrip took nearly an hour as there was much talus and modest amounts of brush to sort through. It wasn't a very pleasant climb at that, but the views are quite nice. There are the remains of a survey tower and a benchmark just east of, and slightly below the highpoint. There is a gigantic cairn at the highpoint, about 6ft in height and similar in diameter. It's a class 3 effort to surmount the cairn which was constructed with no small amount of skill. I left a register here before retreating back off it. I went back via a route to the south before traversing east to the Jeep, thinking it might be better. It wasn't, in the end, and I think the more direct ascent route worked better.

Peacock Peak

This P2K is the highpoint of the Peacock Mountains east of Kingman. Though more easily approached from the south via I-40, I took the scenic Route 66 from the north, passing through the forgotten small towns of Seligman, Peach Springs, Truxton, Hackberry and others. The approach route is from the west via the Kingman Airport, with well-graded Jan Rd taking one to the western edge of the range. Rougher roads, not shown on the maps, get one within a mile of the summit, to an elevation just above 4,800ft. 4WD and high-clearance needed for the last stretch. I then followed the mostly class 2 East Ridge to the summit in about an hour and a quarter. Some class 3 was encountered in the upper reaches that could be avoided my taking easier terrain to the south. Lots of sharp, pointy things to watch out for on this one along with moderate brush in places. It was 80F when I started out around 1:30p, so this added to the discomfort, but overall a pleasant enough hike. There is a benchmark and a register placed by Barbara & Gordon in 1988. There are some earlier loose pages from ascents in 1987. The register was quite busy, befitting the peak's P2K status. It would take about an hour to descend via the same route back to the Jeep.

Sugarloaf Peak

This last summit is found in the Black Mtns west of Kingman and is featured in Purcell's Rambles & Scrambles. The summit looks like a difficult prospect from most angles, including from SR68 to the south. Purcell describes a route up through the complex features on the west side, a "magical chute" that offers the only reasonable route to the summit. It's probably not something that should be done in a hurry, but with a late start after 5p, I found I would be racing sunset to get up and down the difficulties without a headlamp. I had a GPX track from PB that followed the route, so I figured I shouldn't have too much trouble locating the chute. It was still warm when I started out, but would cool nicely as the sun dipped behind the western horizon. I moved quickly, following up the prescribed drainages and finding the magic chute much as expected. There is a good deal of catclaw lining the chute, but with gloves and long shirt & pants, it did little harm and only slowed me momentarily. I found the squeeze chimney above the initial chute, then sort of winged it after that, relying more on my sense of where the easiest route would go rather than the written description of it. The sun set before I managed to reach the top, but only by less than ten minutes. In all, I spent 45min on the ascent. Adam Walker had left a register at the summit a year earlier, with several pages of entries. I quickly signed it, tucked it back away, and started my descent after snapping some quick photos of the fading views. I was able to retrace all the class 3 portions of the route to return to the saddle on the west side before needing my headlamp. The light helped me descend the drainage in the failing light, returning to the Jeep around 6:45p - almost exactly an hour and a half for the roundtrip. I ended up showering and spending the night very close to where I had parked. I found a hilltop looking down on the lights of Bullhead City and Laughlin, and good cell coverage, too. One of my better campsites on this trip...


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This page last updated: Wed Oct 26 11:36:53 2022
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