On November 15th 1958 a tragedy unfolded in the Santa Rita Mountains South of Tucson when six Boy Scouts embarked on a hike with the goal of reaching the summit of Mt. Wrightson known at the time as “Old Baldy”. Only three of the boys survived the night when an unexpected and unprecedented snow storm overtook the area dropping seven feet of snow in the mountains and two feet of snow in Tucson.
A hike will be held on November 17th 2018 to mark the 60th anniversary of these events.The goal is to have as many Boy Scout Troops participate in the hike as possible. Each Troop that would like to participate will be required to have at least two properly trained and registered adult leaders present for each segment of the hike their Scouts will be completing.
There will be four levels of participation for Troops to choose from.
1. Meet with the group at the Old Baldy Trail Head in Madera Canyon to wish the group safe travels and see them off and be in the group photo.
2. Hike to the Josephine Saddle to view the Memorial that has been erected there. This is a five mile round trip hike with a 1640’ elevation gain and is rated on All Trails as “Moderate”. The trail head is at an elevation of 5440’ and the trail is well shaded.
3. One mile beyond the Josephine Saddle is the location where the departed boys were discovered. There are three crosses down a steep slope where the boy’s came to a rest. A cross marks each individual’s location. Three prior selected Scouts will descend the slope and lay a wreath at a cross while a forth preselected Scout plays Taps on a bugle. The sound of the bugle should be audible from the Josephine Saddle for those who do not want to ad two miles to their hike. Each Troop may nominate one Scout to lay a wreath. Three Scouts will be selected from those nominated. If a Troop has a Scout qualified to play Taps on the Bugle, please make me aware if they have a desire to play.
4. Hike to the Summit of Mount Wrightson for those who have trained and are prepared. This is an all-day challenge of nearly a 4000 foot elevation gain and a ten mile round trip and is rated on All Trails as “Difficult”. The summit is 9456 feet above sea level and the air is definitely thin. Troops that participate in the full hike should have a representative Scout bring their troop flag to be unfurled at the summit where taps will be played in honor of the scouts who lost their lives. The views from the summit are spectacular as you look from a summit 300 feet higher than Mount Lemmon, Tucson sits 7000 feet below, and all the high peaks of Southern Arizona are visible on a clear day.
Please contact Tim for more details and with all your questions, and especially if you plan to attend and participate.
Eagle Scout, Troop 100, 1985
Assistant Scout Master, Troop 007
BSA Catalina Council Board of Directors
v 520 977-0554