Google Earth has recently updated some of the satellite images that cover the GET route. The Superstition Wilderness is among the areas now featuring improved resolution, and the terrain just springs to life.
For those interested (and who’ve downloaded the GET KML file, check out the second half of Segment 1, all of Segment 2, and when you reach Segment 3 (a red line), pause to climb Picketpost Mountain, the towering, flat-topped peak just to the east. To do so, turn on road detail, and note “NF 310.” Follow the red route line south from the trailhead parking lot at the end of NF 310 to the obvious side road that heads east away from the wash, toward the peak. This road doubles-back near an abandoned mining adit, where switchbacking trail proceeds up the bajada. Zooming in close, and on an angle, will reveal the line of this trail – which becomes little more than a route farther up, with white arrows painted on rocks and plenty of class 3 scrambling. For a first ascent, the climb is probably impossible to execute without the aid of the arrows, but following them to the letter the ascent is safe with due care.
The route is lost on the sat images where it heads directly up the prominent gully, but note where it re-emerges farther up, then levels off on the summit for its final jog toward the actual high point. A mailbox register is here, typically chock full of entries from folks of all ages and places – even kids and retirees – which strikes me as incredible, given the steep, rough nature of the climb and the fact that Picketpost Trailhead is almost always empty!
If Picketpost Mountain were a little closer to Phoenix, it would have made for a fine starting/ending point for the GET. Either way, the side-climb is highly recommended for those with the time, energy, and perhaps above all, the gumption! 🙂
A quick glance: