So, last Wednesday, I did a trial run up the mountain to the 13 km gate, and came back down. I talked with some friends and they said that lots of people go around the gate and on to the summit, so that was todays task ( March 4 ).
So this morning, I parked at the Whipple Observatory Visitor Center and left at about 10:46 or so, and go to the top about 3 hours later. It's about 12 miles ( or 20 km ) to the top, and the signposts are all in km's. The road starts out paved, goes to dirt for about 1/4 mile, has about 1 mile of pavement, then dirt until you get to the 13 km gate. Then it's pavement the rest of the way to the top. The grade is perhaps 6.5 to 7%, but gets really steep when you get close to the MMT perched on top of an 8300 ft summit. The road is narrow, but there was essentially no traffic. I was passed by one car and one motorcycle going up, and saw two cars and a pickup coming down. Three hikers and two deer, and that's it ! Quite the difference compared to Mt Lemmon, which is full of cyclists and autos.
|Snow ( not a lot but there is still a little in the shadows )|
|The MMT sits on top of the peak|
|The MMT looks like a big white box|
|Looking at very steep final piece, and Mt Wrightston in the distance|
|Switchbacks, switchbacks and more switchbacks|