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By Karl K
From: Phoenix, AZ
Feb 17, 2010
Take Harlaquala Road south from I-10 for ~7 miles to Courthouse/Centennial road (it has both names); turn right (west) and follow this good dirt road for 7 miles. Just before the wilderness kiosk there is a road on the left (more than a 90 degree turn). Follow this for about half a mile (SE) until you turn right (S) onto another road. Follow this until it ends (~.5 miles) at a T-junction. Park here.
From your car head almost due south -aiming toward the left edge of the hill. You will need to hop a fence about 1/4 mile from the car. Its best to stay about 100yds or so away from the hill - you gain nothing by going uphill at this point). Turn right (toward the west) and weave between and through dozens of small ravines. Again - stay away from the hill (and the sucker 4x4 roads that look nicer than the small rock bonanza you are walking on). The ravines are slighly shallower and less numerous if you are further (more south) from the hill - say 2-300 yards away.
Generally head toward the saddle. We aimed for a big standing boulder (30'+) and that worked well. From the boulder hump straight up the loose slope to the notch/saddle. There is no trail and no 'right' way to go - but we prefered the left (southern) gully as it had more solid rock and less scree.
From the saddle, fight the urge to get on the ridge and just traverse around into the gully. Follow this gully up to a shallow saddle. Now go to the ridge.
The ridge traverse required cl. 4 scrambling - usually easiest a few hundred feet away from the ridge proper along incipient ledges and scree trails.
At the end of this ridge, (or from the top of it - if you go up there) you get great views of the highest feather about half a mile away. After about a 1/4 mile traverse (the ridge ends), drop down a steep section to another saddle - then cross up and to the Feathers (~300' down, then 600' back up).
To descend, reverse the approach.
Total approach is about 10 miles (5 each way) and is pretty easy to follow as you can almost always see your next waypoint. The lack of trail makes it tougher than you might expect.
Plan on a minimum of 2 hours for the approach and 3+ hours is probably more realistic for all but the fastest parties.