FKT: Henley Phillips - Tucson Five (AZ) - 2022-03-23

Route variation
Standard route
Gender category
Start date
Finish date
Total time
2d 16h 31m 0s
GPS track(s)
lemmon.gpx7.44 MB
micah.gpx7.73 MB
wasson.gpx2.16 MB

I adapted the Tucson 5 route to get from trailhead to trailhead by bicycle rather than by car as described in the original route. Per the FKT guidelines, the running/hiking portion of the route made up more than 50% of the total moving time compared to time spent on the bike. Below is a quick rundown of the routes I took for each peak and my experience overall.

Started at Presta Coffee on 9th Avenue at 8:04AM. Pedaled up to Catalina State Park, locked my bike at the Sutherland Trail and started up the first peak, Mount Lemmon. The original route suggests going up via Romero Canyon, but it was under a National Forest closure. Sutherland Trail turned very overgrown and was pretty slow going for a couple hours. The actual top of Lemmon is part of the Mount Lemmon Sky Center Observatory and not accessible to the public, so I considered the closed gate to be the “top.” Snow flurries started a few minutes after I arrived at the top, so I headed down quickly. Mount Lemmon roundtrip in 9H 19M 50S. Back at the bike, I pedaled around the south end of the Catalinas, resupplied at McDonald’s and Whole Foods, and slept the night at the Douglas Springs Trailhead. Arrived with a flat and some light drizzle. Luckily there was an awning to sleep under. Fixed the flat in the morning with coffee. Slept ~6 hours.

Up and down Micah Mountain the next morning in 8H 29M 12S. There was about 5 inches of fresh, untouched snow in the last 2000’ of Micah. Very slow going but beautiful to see some desert peaks in snow. From Douglas Springs I pedaled south for about 45 miles to the Florida Canyon Trailhead of Mount Wrightson. Resupplied along the way at a gas station and grocery store. Arrived late and cold so straight to bed. Three peaks up for the next day. Slept ~5 hours. 

Mount Wrightson via Florida Canyon in the early morning. Steep and more fresh snow here to make it a bit slow. I ate chicken strips and Kind bars for 6H 40M 06S up and down the peak. Started to feel some fatigue so took mouth fulls of Tailwind and washed it down with gulps of water/snow mix. Back at the trailhead, I packed up my camp from the morning and made the nice descent into Green Valley for a McDonald’s resupply. 

Then the long ascent up McGee Ranch Road that felt eternal. Locked my bike to the gate that blocks the road up to Keystone Peak, peak number 4. Took 2H 23M 28S. Easy and straightforward. Nice to just cruise. Back at the bike for about 38 miles to the trailhead for Wasson Peak. Gas station resupply along the way as I came back into town. 

Wasson Peak via King Canyon trail. This is the closest peak to town, so it made for a nice way to finish the peaks and have a little view of the place I live. Up and down in 2H 19M 27S. From there, just about 13 miles back into town via Grants Pass from the west. Returned to Presta Coffee at 12:35AM on Wednesday, 03/23/2022. 

Total miles on foot: 82

Total miles pedaled: 170

Total elevation: 33,464'

Fun route that could definitely go faster on less sleep, less snow and a little route variation. Going up Mount Lemmon via Romero Canyon would probably take some time off; maybe the same for Madera Canyon on Wrightson. For what it’s worth, I consider using a car as a supported effort and using a bicycle or other human-powered means as self-supported.