Marching Up Martinez

1 Mar 2010 - by Steve Eckert

We spent the night at the deserted Sawmill Trailhead parking area, getting up early and jumping into Daryn's Jeep for the short drive to the 4WD trailhead (see the trailhead page for waypoints and driving directions). We left the trailhead just after 6am, dropping from 4k to 3.5k down the very well maintained Cactus Sprint Trail to Horsethief Creek (waypoint MART01) where the water was flowing quite nicely!


After the stream crossing, the trail climbs sharply onto a ridge and drops into another wash (waypoint MART02), basically going east. Back up at 4k, we took the right fork of the wash (waypoint MART03) and turned southeast. Cactus Spring (waypoint MART05) is on the map, but no water at all was seen here. Carry all your water unless you're sure you can melt some snow near the top!


Around 4.3k (near waypoint MART06) the trail enters a broad sandy wash, with wooden signs pointing east when the trail comes into the wash from the north. This is a very vague part of the route, where the wash does not exactly follow the line on the map. At 4.4k (waypoint MART07) more wooden signs direct you to leave the wash on the left (going northeast), shortly after which we left what was left of the vague trail.


At waypoint MART08 there were some ducks where we left what appeared to be the main northeast brownish wash and stayed in the wash shown on the map, detouring south around a ridge. Eeverything in the wash between Point 5122 and Point 5088 is just sand. We turned south at 4.8k (waypoint MART11) still following the wash line on the map, climbing up the drainage on the east side of Point 5088. It was brushy below MART12, with some boulder hopping and cactus dodging, but then a good chute finally developed on the left as we angled more to the southeast still following the drainage.


The chute tops out around 6.2k (waypoint MART13). Above that there are boulders and some brush, but you've basically got the peak. Except for the summit block. We avoided most of the brush in a sandy gully, not quite walking a straight line to the peak. Don't go too far south - once at the top of the chute you need to bend east and climb a steep section to reach the northwest side of the summit block.

We reached the 6560' summit of Martinez Mtn (waypoint MARTIM) at 10am. The summit is definitely NOT 2nd class! It's not hugely exposed or difficult, but definitely Class 3. We looped around the left edge of summit block (northwest), climbed through a notch, then went right and up. Even after spending close to an hour on top, where I had a good cell phone signal, we were back to the Jeep at 2pm (13 miles and 4.3k of gain in about 8 hours).

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