The Mountains of Arizona •
Greenwood Peak • Poachie Range
• Arizona State Trust Lands
• Mohave County

Greenwood Peak, Arizona
Greenwood Peak as seen from near US-93. We followed the entire south ridge shown here
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
A white steer stares me down
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
Start of the hike, lots of cactus, nice slopes
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
The pointy summit first appears
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
This is Peak 3750. We sidehilled to the west
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
This is Peak 3866
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
The summit again. Looks like a lot of cliffs. Not exactly sure how to get up the thing
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
The summit from a higher (and closer) saddle. Still looks like a fool's errand. I don't see a way up. Maybe I should bail now
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
Below the summit rocks
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
We made it! View east, with Grayback Peak to the right, and the Burro Creek Bridge on US-93
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
View west, toward ranges fronting the Colorado River
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
View southeast, US-93 heading to Phoenix
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
View northwest, the Hualapai Mountains to the left and the town of Wikieup somewhere down there
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
Matthias eases down the summit boulders
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
The long ridge as we descend
Greenwood Peak, Arizona
Gang of cholla await us

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The Arizona
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Date: February 2, 2020 • Elevation: 4,339 feet • Prominence: 1,019 feet • Distance: 4.8 miles • Time: 5 hours • Gain: 980 feet (net), 1,460 feet (gross) • Conditions: Blue skies, zero humidity, calm and warm • Teammate: Matthias Stender

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Greenwood Peak is in southern Mohave County, visible from US-93 south of Wikieup, in the mountains west of the Burro Creek Bridge. The peak is fairly obvious: a pointed summit on the north end of a ridge of hills, set back about 8 miles from the highway. Most of the land here is private and State Trust, with a little BLM land intermixed. Thousands of people see the peak daily, although as usual, maybe three know it by name.

Matthias proposed this peak yesterday, as we were parting ways after our Vekol Mountain hike. I was beat after hiking 12 miles, although not summitting Vekol Mountain. I was not enthusiastic with another most-of-the-day hike, but texted him later that yes, I am interested. I had nothing going on at home and the weather was good, so this was as good a time as any to go hike it. Other than a couple drives on the backroads with my wife, I have never explored the peaks or the area south and west of US-93 and Wikieup.

We met at 6:30 at the Denny's on the Carefree Highway and Interstate-17. Matthias drove, the drive covering about eighty miles. We exited the highway at 17 Mile Road, about five miles south of the Burro Creek Bridge. The road is dirt hardpack but well-maintained. We followed it westward and upward, driving in a little over six miles to a highpoint along the road, elevation 3,360 feet. We were on the south tip of the ridge, the summit about 2.5 miles to the north, and invisible for now. All of this, including the peaks to the south of us, are part of the Poachie Range.

We started walking at about 8:55 a.m., the day sunny and calm, cool but not cold. There was no humidity, the skies were a brilliant blue, and the sun very intense. We started walking into the brush which here was prickly-pear cactus, cholla, ocotillo, agave and assorted bushes and small trees. The gradient was easy and there were open lanes we could follow. We shimmied under a fence early on and hiked upward, bending right toward a low pass in the distance.

At the pass, we hiked uphill then bent right, now parallelling a sandy gully. We hiked down toward the gully and into it, and followed it northbound, aiming toward Peak 3750. When the gully started to get brushy, we ascended out of it onto easy slopes and now bent a little left, to a saddle south of Peak 3750. To here, the hiking had been very easy and enjoyable.

We did not want to ascend up Peak 3750: it was covered in cholla and there was a rocky crown that looked like more trouble than it was worth. We sidehilled on the west slopes of this peaklet, but we were too high at first, on steeper slopes. The ground is covered in grus gravel, all about the size of a piece of dog food, and loose. We carefully lateralled across the slopes but then descended downward, looking to drop below a ways then catch a ridge back up to the saddle north of Peak 3750. This we did, and it added about 20 minutes to the hike.

From this point forward, we would now stay on the ridge, going up and over the various points rather than sidehilling. Up next was Peak 3866. From our current saddle, the slope was rocky and covered in various brush, including dense stands of cholla. We hiked upward, the tread loose due to that grus. We carefully avoided the cholla. I got a few balls attached to my boots, but never one directly on my skin.

We were soon atop Peak 3866, where we took a rest break. The summit was now in view, a little under a mile away. However, it looked intimidating. There was a steep slope up to a flattish bench on the highest ridge, then the pointed pyramid summit itself. From a distance, it looked rocky and possibly technical. We were going on a route from Adam Walker, who was here just 10 days ago. Matthias's reasoning was that they had found a way up, so there must be a way.

Past Peak 3866, we dropped a couple hundred feet to another saddle. Here, we could see bootprints in places, from Adam when he was here last week. Then we started up the last big steep slope, needing to gain about 400 feet to get to that flat notch below the summit.

This portion was probably the crux of the climb. As usual, the slopes are friendly at first, then steepen. There were rock outcrops spaced intermittently up the slope, but between them was the loose grus gravel. This stuff simply does not hold together well. If you've ever dropped a 50-pound bag of dry dog food on your kitchen floor and then tried to walk through it, you get the idea. The last hundred feet was a real chore, and totally unpleasant. We'd just stick the poles in, lean in, step upward, slide back half, then repeat. Oh yes, there were cholla plants everywhere, plus other cactus to be mindful about. There is a drop of 40 feet along this stretch, which of course, needs to be regained.

We were now on the flat part of the summit ridge, the top now just a stone's throw from us. We took a break and studied the rocky jumble, the summit about 120 feet higher. There appeared to be a brushy gully to the right of a principal rocky prow. This looked like a possibility. But frankly, even from a hundred feet away, it all still looked very difficult.

I stashed my pack at this flat area. We hiked toward the rocks, and up a gravelly slope slightly right of center, gaining steeply and keeping to the rock margin as close as possible. Sixty vertical feet later, we were at the base of the brushy gully mentioned before. From here, though, it did not look so inviting. Matthias scooted about twenty feet to the left and studied a heap of massive boulders. I joined him and we agreed it looked better. Here, we stashed the poles and started scrambling upward.

The boulders were heaped just the right way so as to offer places to put one's feet, places to grab onto, and keeping exposure to a tolerable level. This final sixty feet was exciting in an adrenaline-inducing sort of way, but it went, and much to my delight, fed us right onto the small summit. After yesterday's hike that I cut short, I was especially motivated to be successful today. It felt extra good to make this summit. It was noon when we arrived, a three-hour one-way hike.

We stayed up top about a half hour. The top itself has three rocks spaced about thirty feet apart, all of which are within six inches of one another for summit honors. We tagged all three. The center rock has the benchmark, the northern one has a witness marker ... and may be higher by a couple inches, too. We took time to view the mountains and valleys around us. The day was so clear we could make out ranges into California.

Since I don't climb much in this part of the state, I could only pick out a few peaks I've stood on. Hualapai Peak was visible way off to the northwest. Across the valley was Grayback Benchmark, while Mohon Peak and Juniper Mountain could be seen to the far north. I could also see Crossman Peak looking west. We could see the long valleys that hem in US-93, plus a birds-eye view of the Burro Creek Bridge. It's amazing how far one can see, and with detail, when the humidity is so low. It could not have been more than 5% today. The views were superb.

Now it was time to get down. I went first and shimmied down the boulder heap, having not an ounce of difficulty easing down the rocks and back to the ground. Matthias was behind me and we then inched down the slope to the flat area where I stopped briefly for a drink.

The steep descent down the gravelly slopes came next, and it was miserable. For about a hundred vertical feet, I just sat and scooted down, doing combinations of boot-glissades and butt-glissades. When the grade moderated, I felt more confortable to stand up and baby-step downward. We weren't moving fast but we were moving efficiently. It was just a matter of repeating what we had done going up, which meant a lot of time avoiding cholla.

Back at the saddle north of Peak 3750, we sidehilled it again, and it went better because we stayed lower and even found some of Adam's bootprints. Once south of Peak 3750, we had much easier terrain to follow out, and we were back to Matthias' car at 2 p.m., a 90-minute egress. We took time to get things sorted and change into more comfortable clothes. The hike had gone well!

We had thought about hiking a nearby peak, Peak 4449, which has a road to its top. It is a little higher than Greenwood Peak, but since it was already past 2 p.m., we decided to leave it alone, now knowing it's there and how to get to it. Back at the US-93 intersection, we stopped for more photos, with a white steer staring us down, before he ran off too.

Usually, US-93 is packed on a late Sunday with the Las Vegas-to-Phoenix travellers, but traffic was pretty mellow today, this being Super Bowl LIV Sunday. Most everyone was already at their game-watching destination already. We had an eventless drive back to town, arriving to the Denny's about 4 p.m., where we shook hands and parted ways. I drove home, showered, ate Mexican food (the #19, four rolled tacos) and avoided watching the game. My thanks to Matthias for suggesting this peak.

For future visitors: our route (which was Adam's route, which was probably someone else's route before him, and so on) worked well, and we made it, but the loose slopes are unpleasant. It appears, when looking from afar, that it may be possible to approach the summit from the north or northwest, with gentler slopes. This may avoid that steep boulder heap, but I am not sure what road access is like from that side. I am also uncertain if would be as gravelly (or not) as what we followed. Actually, the boulder heap was a lot of fun. The grus gravel was not. But I'm happy we were successful.

(c) 2020 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only. This report is not meant to replace maps, compass, gps and other common sense hiking/navigation items. Neither I nor the webhost can be held responsible for unfortunate situations that may arise based on these trip reports. Conditions (physical and legal) change over time! Some of these hikes are major mountaineering or backpacking endeavors that require skill, proper gear, proper fitness and general experience.