rock climbing
10 days ago

Assess your skill level, read the other reviews below too and have a flexible plan because there are lots of ‘dumb ways to die’ on this ‘trail.’ There is no trail for the entire length of the ridgeline above or below the ridge. This is not hiking, it is free-style rock climbing.

How you will be humbled: One section of the ridgeline is nothing but a single, jagged, ‘knife-edge’ ridge to traverse. Once you are committed to this section, each foot-hold, each hand placement, each direction means life or death. Expect your muscles to feel like jello even before you begin this section because there are other sections like it, but this one is the worst. Once I hit sections like this I stopped taking pictures because I was in survival mode. Your option for not crossing sections like this or high cliff edges: empaling sword cactus, spiky cactus fit for a crown, cactus with tiny splinter barbs and loose rocks of all sizes and shapes on steep inclines, but mostly, the uncertainty of not knowing if there is a way through at all after all your effort and in the end having to turn back. I had cell service the whole way, but watch your battery life. After learning the ways of the sword cactus while going around the ridge at one point, I read a previous review on here and it gave me the confidence to continue to problem solve the ridge-line. Stay on it. Once you stop having fun and you are ready to get down off the mountain, you will learn to pray out loud. Bring a flashlight because you will grossly underestimate the timing. I did it in nine hours for a total of nine miles. I started out at the McKelligon Canyon parking lot at noon and lost the sun on some treacherous terrain just before reaching the kind ‘Thousand Steps Trail.’ I took the ‘Thousand Steps Trail’ safely to the parking lot. Once the sun went down, I had to use a different set of eyes: the lights of the city, the white reflecting trail, my GPS on ‘All Trails’ and ‘seeing’ through a continual prayer for direction. Bring a sweater in case you are forced to wait for morning light.

Rewards: Amazing views on Mount Franklin in all directions, quiet winds at summit and moments of the type of solitary worship that can be had in no other way. The satisfaction of reaching my goal. It’s a rugged, harsh beauty worth seeing! There are delightful swifts that swirl up top, deer and the night sounds of coyotes.

Just be smart about it and stay alive! My best advice is to do the trail in two parts on separate days and watch your time. My temps were 72/49. Bring an ultralight, hands free backpack for extra water. Hiking type running shoes are a must. The terrain on the top ridgeline is sturdy and has natural holds in places.