The Mountains of Arizona

Peak 1623's summit appears on the high ridge

The summit nigh

Look back east, our cars down below

South view, Margies Peak

My 1000th ranked summit world-wide!! Top left, I sign "M" as the Roman Numeral for 1000. Top right, I sign 1111101000, binary for 1000. Bottom left, I sign 1101001, ternary (base-3) of 1000. Bottom right, I pose for the ladies. Bottom: we found a rock spray-painted with 1000. It was foretold.

Aiming for Peak 1570

On the ridge thereof

Look back at Peak 1623

View from summit looking southwest, Woolsey Peak is the main bump you see. My peak from yesterday, Peak 2283, is the flat-topped peak roughly centered

Northeast view, the Sierra Estrella in back

All images

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Maricopa Mountains — Komatke Road

Peak 1623 • Peak 1570

Matthias proposed a quartet of peaks on Komatke Road, about four miles east of highway AZ-85, past the landfill. The peaks lie slightly south of the road and are essentially the northern-most peaks of the Maricopa Mountains. They look and act like virtually every other peak in the Maricopas: rocky, brushy, steep slopes, but usually dependable stability. Yesterday, I climbed Peak 2238 in the Gila Bend Mountains, about fifteen miles on a straightline southwest of these peaks. That climb put me at 999 ranked summits world-wide. Naturally, I was eager to get the magical number 1,000 soon.

Matthias had some duties that would delay a start until almost noon. Meanwhile, I'm sitting around and bored. I at first declined to join since I was "tired". I had second thoughts, called him up and he said he hadn't got very far anyway. So I said, I'm hitting the road now. We agreed to meet as close as noon as possible at the landfill-access road off AZ-85. Getting there wasn't a problem, traffic was okay until it choked near Jackrabbit Trail in Buckeye, so I took surface roads to catch AZ-85 then to the access road. I rolled in at 12:10. Now to go climb us some easy peaks!

Peak 1623
• Maricopa Mountains
• Sonoran Desert National Monument
• Maricopa County

Date: March 5, 2023 • Elevation: 1,623 feet • Prominence: 343 feet • Distance: 0.3 mile ascent, 0.4 mile descent • Time: 2 hours & 30 minutes (whole hike) • Gain: 403 feet • Conditions: Hazy clouds, slightly warm


I followed Matthias in my car, as we drove Komatke Road, which fronts the El Paso Gas Line. The road was in good shape, being hard-pack. We covered the four miles in about fifteen minutes. We then took a side road south toward the peaks, following it until it became too haggard to continue. We were able to get in almost the entire way, just a few yards short of where it actually ends.

We were walking about 12:30. We picked Peak 1623, which lies west of where we were. The plan was to climb this little bump, then descend down its other side, cross some flats, then climb Peak 1570 about a mile to the west. Then we'd come back here and figure out what to do next.

We crossed into an arroyo, through a fence, then started up the steep slope in front of us. It was rocky and brushy, but pitched well and the rocks (mostly) stayed in place. A couple moved or broke off. It was just steep, but nothing difficult. This put us onto the main high ridge.

On this high ridge, we had to get up and around a couple more rock outcrops. Up ahead we thought we saw the summit, but it wasn't. But very soon thereafter, we could see the top not far away. Getting there went well, the scrambling through the rocks taking a little time. We were soon upon the top. Number 1,000, within reach! Matthias kindly allowed me to step on the top rock first, then I struck a victory pose.

The top was a simple mound of rocks and dirt, nothing special. We signed into the register, noting not many people come here. Views were okay, there being some general high clouds that muted the blue sky and created glare. It was pleasant, in the 60s. We took some time to relax, and me to get nerdy for five minutes.

I first made an "M" with my fingers, signifying the Roman Numeral for 1,000. Then, I held up my fingers (and kept others down) to form the sequence 1111101000, which is the binary equivalent to 1,000. It looks like I'm signifying "51", but I'm not. Then, I held the fingers up and down to form the sequence 1101001, which is ternary (base 3) for 1,000. It looks like I'm homaging Ronnie James Dio, but I'm not, although I do like a few of his tunes. By the way, these alternate bases are always read right to left.

Let 1,000 sink in for a moment. It took me about 38 years from my first ranked peak ever (Uluru/Ayers Rock in Australia, 1985) to this one. As of January 1, 2020, I had 649 ranked peaks finished. That means since then, I've climbed 351 more ranked peaks. That's the equivalent of climbing 2.13 peaks every week for over three years. Imagine if each peak was a hockey stick. It would take almost 200 bags and many dozens of equipment managers over a full day to pack, load and transport each stick, using a special vehicle to hold them all. It blows your mind.

After I got done with the festivities, we descended down a nice slope directly off the summit, directly to the flats between this peak and Peak 1570. On these "flats", we had to go into and out of a few arroyos to place us on a good line to approach Peak 1570.

Peak 1570

Elevation: 1,570 feet • Prominence: about 330 feet (per Lidar) • Distance: 0.4 mile ascent, 1 mile descent and walk back to car • Gain: 370 feet (+40 feet to get back to the cars) • Conditions: Same as above


The summit of Peak 1570 lies on its west tip, with a gently-sloped ridge emanating off of it trending east. Our plan was to catch a slope and follow it up to this ridge, which would put us close to the top. There were options, and we picked one we liked because that's where the lay of the land was taking us.

On this slope now, it steepened but stayed mellow. It was rocky and brushy with thickets of cactus, but always a way around and with the rocks holding together well. We then traversed abeam to a saddle, then followed the ridge up to the top. It was that easy.

The summit itself is a tiny ridge about a hundred feet in length. The presumptive highest point is at its northeast tip, where we were, but a couple rocks along the ridge looked equally high so we tagged them, then took a seat on the rocks and signed into the register. To our surprise, someone had been here yesterday! The register didn't hold that many names to begin with. The sun came out and allowed for better images. We spent about ten minutes here. I did not do any silly posing or finger work, but in case you care, 1,001 in Roman Numerals is MI, in binary it is 1111101001, and in ternary, 1101002.

We descended the same way, then aimed east, getting around a low ridge so that we could angle back to where we had parked. Overall, we had not hiked that far, about two miles total with a gross gain of about 800 feet, but it was about 3 p.m. when we were back at the cars. We weren't sure if we had time for the other two peaks. So we started up to Peak 1742, the main peak of this quartet and the one east of where we parked. We got partway up a drainage. I wasn't as into it any more now and decided to bail. Matthias made the summit not long thereafter. Me, I was pleased to get these two peaks, get out of the house and reach a silly milestone. Now, I actually was tired.

I exited by following Komatke Road east to where it Y-splits, a left being Riggs Road, paralleling power lines. I stayed on Riggs Road, which was hardpack, for four more miles, give or take, until it became paved. Then I followed that onto Rainbow Valley Road and north into Goodyear and all its new homes. I was back to my Tempe pad by 5 p.m..

Thanks to Matthias for being cool to allow me to tag along and wait up for me on the highway. I don't know what music he was playing though. Me, I had it on Sirius, mostly Channels 26, 27, 18 and 7.

(c) 2023 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. .