The Mountains of Arizona •
Sheldon Mountain & West Peak • Black Hills
• Bureau of Land Management
• Greenlee County

Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Sheldon West as viewed from where I parked
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
West peak to the left, a lower ridge bump of "main" Sheldon Mountain to the right
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Sheldon West from the saddle
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Hiking up through grass and rock
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Gaining the top ridge
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Atop Sheldon West, looking West at Peak 5966 (left), yesterday's climb
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Now looking at Ash Peak, which I climbed this morning
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Look over at Sheldon Mountain
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Northeast view, the Big Lue Mountains that run along the Arizona & New Mexico border
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Sheldon Mountain is near
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
From atop Sheldon Mountain, a look over at Sheldon West
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
North view and summit cairn
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
South view, Ash Peak
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
East view of the ridge, the bumps are lower by about 10 feet
Sheldon Mountain, Arizona
Hiking back to the saddle along a fence line

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The Arizona
Mountains Gazetteer

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Date: November 13, 2021 • Elevation: 5,561 feet (West), 5,434 feet (Sheldon) • Prominence: 701 feet (W), 324 feet (S) • Distance: 5 miles • Time: 3 hours • Gain: 1,264 feet • Conditions: Sunny and warm

ArizonaMainLoJ (West Peak)

I was spending a couple days in the Safford area, hiking two P1K peaks and whatever else I could find. The two P1K peaks went well. I hiked Peak 5966 yesterday, then stayed a night in town, and hiked Ash Peak this morning.

Last night in my hotel room, looking at online maps, I noticed that a jeep track went to the saddle west of Sheldon Mountain. For starters, I had never heard of Sheldon Mountain until that moment. Second, I did not want any bushwhacking epics. After two reasonably moderate bushwhacks on Peak 5966 and Ash Peak, I wanted to keep things as simple as possible afterwards. This peak looked promising. The jeep track would get me most of the way up, and also, there is an unnamed western summit that is both higher and more prominent than Sheldon. I call it Sheldon Mountain West Peak here, or just Sheldon West. I could get two peaks instead of one. There is a tiny community called Sheldon on state route AZ-75, north of Duncan.

I was finished with Ash Peak at 10 a.m., so I drove back to the highway (US-70), then west a mile, and drove in on the dirt road I had followed yesterday for Peak 5966. Whereas yesterday I'd seen about a half-dozen vehicles and people, today it was quiet. I did not see anyone. I drove the dirt tracks about three miles toward the main canyon coming off Sheldon Mountain. The roads were rocky but passable in a Subaru Forester. I came to a big water tank on a bluff at elevation 4,620 feet, and chose to park here. It was wide and flat, too good to pass up. Since I was already dressed for the hike, I was moving within minutes, roughly 10:30 a.m..

I followed the road down about 40 feet, entering into a tree-lined canyon. The road was still drivable, but there would have been no room to park or turn around, so I am glad I parked where I did. About a half-mile later, the road makes a sharp right turn then a sudden left, at elevation 4,700 feet. This would have been as far as I could have driven. Hereafter, a heftier high clearance and 4-wheel drive vehicle would be necessary.

I stayed on the jeep track for about a mile and a half overall, gaining 500 feet. The tread was mostly solid, but steep with sections of rock and ruts. I was now at the saddle, elevation 5,120 feet, that connects Sheldon Mountain (to my right, east) and Sheldon West (left, west). On the hike in, I could plainly see Sheldon West from the beginning. However, Sheldon Mountain stayed hidden, even now. At the saddle, I took a break on a big boulder. There is a fence line that runs along the saddle, and a gate in this fence. Why there is a gate here, I have no idea. The road does not continue past the gate, and I doubt a vehicle has been through that gate in decades.

I elected to hike up Sheldon West first. The slopes to it looked very friendly, open with lenient grades, a few rock bands, not too brushy, but with abundant grass. I took the hike slowly, weaved through the brush and rocks, eventually placing myself on the high ridge, with the top not far ahead. From the saddle, it was about a 540-foot gain to this peak. The top is fairly flat, so I walked around and tagged a few rocks. I did not find a register or cairn. I had a good perch for photos, so I took a few, including the two peaks I had climed in the last 24 hours. I never stopped, just kind of wandered around, before starting right back down to the saddle.

I took another small break at the saddle, then started up the east slope toward Sheldon Mountain. I actually passed through the gate to get on the north side of the fence, because I would need to be on that side anyway. I think they put that gate in just for me. The hike up was easy. There were more trees here, mainly juniper, but spaced out, and a lot of grass. I was soon on the ridge, where I hung a left (north) and marched to the summit, not too far ahead.

The top was rocky with a cairn, but no register. Two ridgebumps to the east appear close in elevation to where I was, but even I could see they were lower, perhaps by 15-20 feet. I did not spend much time here either, but I was able to snap a few more images.

I hiked down the same way, passing through the gate again, where I took one more break at the saddle and that nifty sitting boulder. So my phone vibrated and I wanted to see who was texting or calling. I took off my Rayban sunglasses and set them in my lap so I could see the screen better. When I got up, I forgot about my glasses and they fell into the dirt. But me, my head in the clouds, I didn't immediately catch on, so I started to wonder where I put them, and wouldn't you know, I stepped on them. I bent them pretty badly, but the frames and glass were intact, so I bent what I could back in place. A few days later, I went to a Sunglasses Hut at a local mall, and they fixed the bends for me, for free. So here's a shout-out for Sunglasses Hut, and for Raybans, for making glasses that stand up to 220-pound guys like me stepping on them. Maybe I can be in a commercial for them.

I hiked down that jeep track and was back to my car at 1:30, a three-hour round trip hike. I figure five miles round trip, and a cumulative gain of over 1,250 feet. The hike had gone well and I enjoyed it. I don't think very many people climb these peaks, or have ever heard of them. But for me, it was an excellent second hike for the day.

Now, I really had to get home, although I did not want to. I got back onto US-70 and started the long haul back to Phoenix. I stopped for an hour at a Subway in Globe to eat and kill time, then was back in town a little after 6 p.m., dark by now. It had been a fine couple of days away from the city and I needed it for my mental good health.

(c) 2021 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.