The Mountains of Arizona • www.surgent.net
Peak 4849 • Tombstone Hills
• Arizona State Trust Land/San Pedro Riparian Area
• Cochise County


Peak 4849 is the big peak in the middle as seen from the power line road
 

Now hiking in the sandy arroyo bed
 

Mesquite tree
 

Getting closer
 

Now looking up its steep southwest slope
 

View over at the summit ridge
 

Same vantage as the previous image, looking down what I had just come up
 

In a saddle, a white-tail deer was scampering upslope but I couldn't get his image
 

At the south summit, looking over at Mays Hill and The Dome
 

A look over at Uncle Sam Hill
 

The north summit
 

Summit rocks
 

Look back at the south summit
 

North summit cairn
 

View of the peak as I descend its southeast slopes
 

All images

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Date: April 2, 2024 • Elevation: 4,849 feet (Lidar) • Prominence: 445 feet • Distance: 6.3 miles • Time: 3 hours, 40 minutes • Gain: 995 feet (gross) • Conditions: Sunny with puffy clouds, cool and slightly breezy

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I was back in the Tombstone Hills, planning to hike another peak in the grouping while the weather is amenable. This peak has no name. It lies west of Tombstone about five miles, north of Charleston Road about three miles, west of Mays Hill and The Dome, and just outside the San Pedro Riparian Area boundary. It's actually easy to spot if you know what to look for since it rises somewhat by itself. Ironically, it is sometimes hidden by foreground hills when driving on Charleston Road, but when farther away, such as on Highway AZ-90 from the south, it is easy to spot, being high enough so that the lower hills don't block it.

We had a couple days of rain and hail, and cold temperatures, another remnant of the "atmospheric river" storms to hit the West Coast. I did a hike Sunday of Peak 4999 on the east fringe of these hills, before the storm was to move in. Then most of Sunday night and Monday all day, we had low clouds, wind, rain and even some hail. Temperatures were cold, highs in the 40s. Tuesday (today) started cloudy, but all weather sites indicated the storm was gone, just the trailing clouds and cool temperatures remained, like a storm hangover.

I had the day open and since it is close by, I decided to go for it now. I left home about 7:45 and followed AZ-80 through Bisbee, then west on AZ-90 to Moson Road, north to Charleston, then northeast a few miles to a dirt track going north, this being about a mile east of the San Pedro Riparian Area boundary. I was here in December when I hiked "Charleston Lead Mine" Peak so I knew where this road entrance was.

I drove in about a mile on the decent road, parking below a power-line stanchion, fully hidden from the road. I was on State Trust land here. There is a ranch to the south, and I surmise they probably lease this land. There were some cattle in the area. But access was not barred, as long as I had my permit. I was not expecting to see anyone. I rolled in about 8:20 and got myself situated, locked the car and started walking at 8:30.

I could not see the peak from where I started. The land here is rolling ridges and arroyos that all descend to the west toward the San Pedro River (whose cottonwoods are getting green, by the way). The route was the power-line road which went north. Then I would break from the road going northeast and tackle the peak head on. From where I parked, the peak was about two and a half miles on a straight line away.

The road drops steeply into an arroyo, which was the main reason I parked where I did. This drop might have been a little too much for the Forester. Up the other side, I walked past the scattered cattle, who just watched me. The road is mostly a decent road, where most high clearance vehicles with beefy tires would be fine. Four-wheel drive would be nice to have but not absolutely mandatory. It gets steep and haggard in places but is never horrible.

About a mile in, I came to the boundary of the San Pedro Riparian Area, managed by the BLM. It's gated, but the gate was loose so I just stepped over it. The road reaches its highest point about here, and I had fine views of Peak 4849 for the first time on the hike. I stayed on the road about another half mile, dropping about 120 feet and bottoming out in a wide sandy arroyo bed. At this point, I left the road and followed the arroyo as it wandered north and northeast.

The sand was soft in spots and walking it was tiring, but it was very wide so that brush wasn't a problem. I just followed this arroyo until It was south of the peak, this segment covering about a mile. I was near the southernmost tip of the peak, and facing a steep slope that came to a sharp point above me about 400 feet higher. Here, leaving the arroyo, I had to battle through thornbrush and tangled mesquite branches, but once in the actual slope, the brush mitigated slightly, now more ocotillo, but also more open lanes.

The slope looked very steep and rocky, but as I ascended it, it leaned back well and the rocks (mainly granitic) held together well and never were heaped to where I needed hands. I could step on them like stairsteps, and only once or twice did I use hands for balance. It was actually an easy slope to ascend. I got to the rocky point and this is where the rocks became a challenge. I could see the summit ridge not far away, but I had to traverse a narrow spine of large boulders heaped every-which-way. Some of these large rocks were loose, teetering on rocks beneath them and probably have been that way for thousands of years. More than once I stepped on a big boulder, only to have it see-saw below me. While this wasn't scrambling in the usual sense, I had to move carefully through here, using hands often to balance and distribute my weight.

Once off the rocks, I dropped to a saddle about 30 feet, then started up an easier rocky slope, watching a big white-tail jump from rock to rock above me. I got to the top of the slope thinking I was near the summit, but saw yet another bump ahead of me, but vey close. I was on top of it in moments ... only to discover yet another bump about 200 feet north. So I walked over to that bump, and finally could claim a proper summit of Peak 4849. It had taken me just under two hours to get here.

It had been cool and mostly cloudy on my hike in, but the clouds started to thin out and allow for more sun. Temperatures were mild, in the 50s, and the clouds were the big puffy kind that scooted through quickly. I had good views of the lower peaks and hills around me, and could see new snow on the distant ranges such as the Huachucas, Santa Ritas and Whetstones. This northern summit is the highpoint, and there was a big pile of rocks, but no register or any sign of past visitation. This is another peak that might see one visitor per decade. I spent about five minutes here, looking around.

The lidar data at the 1-meter refinement gives an elevation of 4,849 feet at the north summit and 4,846 feet at the south summit. The map has a spot elevation of 4,839 feet at the south summit. Just by sight alone, it is evident the north summit is higher than the south summit. Getting between them is easy, the drop being just 20 feet.

I started hiking down, getting down to that first saddle where I saw the deer. Rather than mess with the rocky ridge that I had dealt with coming up, I went left (southeast) and descended off the peak that way. This slope was far better than what I had taken on the way up. It was not as steep and had open lanes all the way. I was down to the flats quickly, and then just had to deal with the brush until I was back in the sandy arroyo. This descent route added just about 0.2 mile to my overall hike.

By now, most of the clouds had cleared, so it was mostly sun and ideal for photographs. I followed the same arroyo route out, then getting back on the road and back to my car. It was a three-mile walk, but nothing exciting about it. I was back to my car a little after 11 a.m.. I drove into Tombstone for gas and snacks, then back to Bisbee to clean up and be useful.

Like many of these hills, I would not recommend to come all this way to hike this particular peak. It's a lot of effort for an anonymous summit, but if you must, it has easy logistics. Access is not unduly restricted, there are no random private-land inholdings, the road and arroyos allow one to make good time, and the climb itself is very straightforward. I would recommend to walk a little past the peak and then ascend its southeastern slope to the obvious lower saddle, and go from there. Those with a beefy vehicle can probably drive much of the road. The arroyo had plenty of tracks too, but with some very sandy segments that would require 4-wheel drive.

(c) 2024 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.