Humphreys Peak, Navajo Mountain, North Guardian Angel, South Guardian Angel, Spirit Mountain, Mount Stirling

18-Jun-93 (Private trip)

By: Mark Adrian, Dennis Richards


6/17/93: Leaving mid-afternoon from San Diego in warm weather and clear skies, we arrived at the Stirling turn off (from US 95) about 11pm. In the dark, the drive in is a bit confusing since there are several spur roads that can be misleading. We missed the fork ("where you'll bear left") coming out of the second wash just before the last 2.0 SW miles and drove about 0.25 miles up a narrowing, dead-end wash. Retreating back down the cock-strewn wash, we picked up the correct spur. The correct road is still good for careful 2WDs.

Having done this peak twice before, I tried a "new" route, which more-or-less, worked QK, and seemed easier than the Guide's route. From the 2WD parking area (there's a fork here), we hiked up the western-most 4WD spur towards the trailer ruins, eventually leaving this road as it bends N and headed cross-country for the ridge spur just N of Gold Spring (UTM 360930). We then ascended this ridge spur to the saddle SW of point 2427. Since the skies were exceptionally clear, we could easily see past Telescope and into the snow-striped Eastern Sierra from this saddle. From the saddle, continue SW, then turn S to join the Guide's route to the summit - this route took us 1.5 hours one way. Don't forget to check out the petroglyphs - we found two clusters of them en route. The views from the summit were, as from the saddle, exceptional, especially the aging snow-cap on Charleston. Canister and register are in good condition. On the return we made a "bee-line", diagonaling down the canyon heading directly for Gold Spring, which, I've seen flowing before (but was dry this time). From the Spring, walk down a mining road, passing a large water trough, to where, this road intersects the Guide's route, then follow the Guide's road back to the TH.

We rendevoued with Dave Jurasevich on the Double List Finisher - N & S G. Angel he led. Then we proceeded out the Zion-Mt. Carmel Highway towards Kanab. There was much construction along this road (aka Utah 9), apparently due to road repairs and a new scenic turnout - traffic was stop and go for several miles. After leaving Zion, the landscape transitions into extensive "flatlands" (plateaus) until Lake Powell and the impressive "mound" of Navajo Mountain. Continuing E into the Navajo reservation is akin to entering a third world country - very rural and rustic. (Indian) Route 16 is only paved about 10 miles after it leaves State Route 98 and is moderately rough in several spots along its dirt portion. The powerline road is still intact, but marginal for 2WDs for the 2.4 miles to the "radio repeater". We opted to camp near the "small radio repeater station" since it is more accommodating than the TH.

Navajo Mountain: CLIMB: Getting a crack-of-dawn start, we proceeded up the road past some roadwork which may proceed past the present mile or so. Soon, the road degraded into sections of loose softball/football sized rocks. Continuing up the road, we enjoyed extensive views to the E and could pick out Monument Valley. Near War God Spring, we encountered several ducks along the roadside and decided to cut N cross country to eventually intersect the road. This worked out OK, but it was steep and brushy. Once on top, we found the bench mark(s), and I counted five repeater shacks, an old derelict trailer, an outhouse, and a climbable antenna tower (the towe~s top is the high point). Unfortunately, we only found register remnants (rusted can and pen) near the BM. We were later told the DPS register is "hidden" under a bench near the outhouse on the E side of the summit area. We decided to walk the 0.7 miles NNW to the "great view". It was worth every minute - an old overgrown road leaves the summit (NNW) and takes you to a perfect spot. If the skies are clear, this view makes the hike, and despite the LONG drive, makes this a worthy DPS peak. On return, we hiked the road all the way back. This is undoubtedly THE Emblem DPS bump-and-grind drive-up. Returning to our truck we encountered three friendly Indians lounging around a tractor-trailer. They informed us they were dozing the road so they could get a maintenance crew in to fix a power pole that was being "eaten" by an alleged "porcupine". We chatted about our hike up the peak, and they mentioned we took the "hard way". They said it would be much easier, and more direct, to "just follow the power line poles to the top" -you sure wouldn't get lost! Maybe this could be Route B.

Humphreys Peak: CLIMB: Other than numerous patches of snow on the trail to the saddle, this trail-walk was uneventful. On top, it was clear enough to see Navajo and the North Rim. The register is apparently maintained by the USFS and was only a few months old and in good condition - lots of traffic on this peak. Agassiz is still conditionally off limits due to some sort of fragile plant(s) (Senecio Franciscanus) near its summit, but, from a distance, it appeared there was a use trail to the peak. The regulations, at the TH, imply you CAN hike to Agassiz if it can be done on snow. After dinner in Kingman, we proceeded to Spirit's TH, which was unexpectedly cool.

Spirit: CLIMB: Yet another perfect day, found us on the trail about 6am. While I opted for the tried-and-true wash route, Dennis decided he wanted to explore the peak's NE-SW ridge line (which parallels the standard route on the SE starting near point 4579). I wished him luck, then easily gained the summit within an hour, Dennis nowhere in sight. Canister and register are in good condition. After an hour or so, he reached the summit proclaiming what an exhausting and circuitous route the ridgeline was. Again, we had exceptional views of the DPS heartland and to the W we could see a snow-capped peak we concluded was Mt. Baldy. We decided to run the ridge on return. This is a more scenic, yet arduous route, requiring at least several high class 3 moves if you want to stay anywhere near the top of the ridge. Many pinnacles and gendarmes forced a sinusoidal path down the ridge. Plan on doubling, or even tripling the descent time (and your "fun") vs. the wash route.

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