Sunday, December 21, 2014

Fortress Butte and AZ Hot Springs Update

On 12-20-2014, the 52 Peak Club hiked Fortress Butte and AZ Hot Springs. Fortress Butte is this cool looking butte near AZ Hot Springs. It looks impossible to climb to the top, but we found a route. The summit seems like an island in the sky with great views in all directions. You can even see the mighty Colorado River!

The route is in great shape. It's very well cairned and the recent rains washed away some of the loose rock. Unfortunately, the sign-in book is gone and needs to be replaced.

Here's the secret to avoiding a lot of the loose rock on the approach:
In the write up just after this sentence:  "Go south (left) in the new wash and hike about 200 yards."
You want to ascend the drainage in the photo below. This drainage is solid and avoids most of the loose rock. I made a cairn on top of a boulder. It's circled in the photo. Also look for the two large boulders to the left of the drainage. They are also circled in the photo.
Slide show of the hike.

Correct drainage

AZ Hot Springs
At the summit
The hot springs is in good shape. The water is about 2.5 feet deep and is very hot. Of course, the further you sit from the water source the cooler the water becomes.
This is one of the better Lake Mead hikes. Expect the hike to take about four to five hours, round trip and that includes the time you spend soaking in the hotsprings.

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