Navajo Mountain, Humphreys Peak
By: Ron Jones
Adrienne Knute and I climbed these peaks prior to our joining a Thanksgiving crowd at Sells AZ. Navajo Mtn went very straight forward. There appears to be no problem with permission to climb the peak. No where in the area around the Navajo Mtn Trading Post, nor on the powerline road to the peak, nor the repeater station below the summit nor at the summit itself is there a sign prohibiting travel. There is no sign about property ownership nor trespass. We stopped at the Trading Post and there was nothing prohibiting travel in the area and on Navajo Pk and it does not seem to be a matter of local concern.
The turnoff to the roadhead is not obvious but with the following directions it should be an easy matter to find. Proceed north on Navajo Indian Highway 16 (dirt) by the small community and trading post of Inscription House. Zero your speedometer when you pass the posted Utah State line. You will pass a small heliport on your left at 0.7 miles and just beyond you will find a powerline crossing the road in an E-W direction. The powerline road lies beneath it leading to the west. If you miss this road, in an additional 0.4 mi (1.1 mi from the UT sign) you will drop into a large wash with a road leading west to the Navajo Mtn Trading Post (no Indian made goods only basic food and hardware for the locals). Proceed west 2.4 miles on the powerline road (good desert road condition, no rocks, some erosion) to a small repeater station beside the road in the flatlands. Here the road bends to the north and in 0.2 mi is a fine parking spot for a large group of cars and where the big Detroit cars should be left. I drove my van 0.3 mi beyond (some rocks) past a good campsite and yet another 0.3 mi to an excellent campsite at about 7100 feet with fireplace, ample room for cars to turn around and for 5 or 6 cars to park. Hike up the rugged 4WD road 3,000 feet to the big repeater complex at the top. You will catch views of Monument Valley at two spots enroute. We had 6 inches of snow and 26 degrees temperature on a sunny afternoon.
Walk beyond the summit for about 10 minutes on the rough car track until you come to a fork. Take the left branch and continue on for 5 minutes to a marvelous view point, the reason that Navajo Mtn is such a great peak. Looking north you will see the upper end of Lake Powell, Glen Canyon, Rainbow Bridge and several other natural bridges and Canyon-lands spread before you.
The route to Humphreys Pk, Arizona high point at 12,633', begins near 9,500 ft at the Humphreys Ski Bowl. Rather than following up the main (Agassiz) ski lift it is easier to hike past the ski lodge and up the main ski gully (following a rough road leading toward the top of the lift). After hiking beyond the heavy woods on the north side of the gully and just before the large talus fields on the southwest slopes of Pk 12,297 climb about 500 feet on the moderate north slope until you intersect a good trail leading to the ridge-top south of 12,297. Here you can follow a good use trail leading to the summit of Humphreys. The temperature at 2:30 pm was 20 degrees, breezy and definitely chilly for us.
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