Humphreys Peak, Navajo Mountain
By: Fred Camphausen
The peaks are well known to Arizonans: Humphreys Pk (12,633') is a popular ski mountain N of Flagstaff (Snow Bowl), and Navajo Mtn (10,388'), located just over the state line inside Utah, is the N part of the 3 Sky Supporters in Navajo Indian tradition (see Barbara Reber's trip description in Issue 120 of the Sage). On Friday we met at Sambo's in Barstow and carpooled in Westy Fletcher's Maxi-van to Flag and the Snow Bowl. After a couple hours of sleep in the parking lot we got up and found that Joe McCosker's carpool group had arrived also. It was a cold and wint'ry morning and the frost was thick on the various noses and chins poking through the dreary assemblage of sleeping bags. When Joe was up matters improved as he generously prepared coffee for all.
Thus warmed and ready for the dayhike to Humphreys, 8 of us started walking toward the ski lodge and then up the main ski gully. Plenty of snow remained for skiing on, by California standards, but the ski area was now closed. We left the chute while still below the saddle between Humphreys Pk and Mt Agassiz and then climbed up through the forest toward the ridgetop near P12,297. We soon were up in the clouds and wind and it became obvious that we were climbing in a fairly violent storm. The wind was from the SW and, although bitter cold, it helped push us toward the summit. But soon various of our group's toes, fingers, and noses began to suffer frost nip. We reached the summit and the wind there was so strong we had to crawl back down to keep from being blown away. Our eyes started to freeze. A climber on his way up had his nose frozen white. Another lost her glasses, which were seen sliding off the ridge and into a steep snow chute. A couple more people were trouble by freezing fingertips. In summary, things were deteriorating fast and we had to quickly get off that windy ridge. So we assisted each other where needed and descended directly down the open sno chute on Humphrey's W side. In a half hour we reached the safety of trees where we stopped to eat and rewarm. Luckily the lost pair of glasses were found. By side-hilling around the slopes in the trees we finally came back to the vehicles. 3 mi, 3100' gain o.w., Humphreys Pk AZ 7.5' quad, climbed by 7 on 24 June.
Down again in Flagstaff, we tried to have dinner in a recommended place called "The Steakhouse" but we arrived too early and had to settle for pizza. The drive to Navajo Mtn was by way of US 89 N to US 160, E to State 98, and Indian 16 N to the settlement of Navajo Mtn, UT. This was about 4 hours driving time from Flagstaff. Near the Indian settlement is the start of a jeep trail that goes to the summit of Navajo Mtn. We parked near this road and made camp. The following morning dawned brightly and windless. We drove on the dirt road as far as we could to the mountain and then walked the remaining 4 mi to the summit. Snowdrifts were encountered partway up, but we were spared the hard wind of the prior day. The broad summit is surrounded by trees and cluttered with radio antennas so there isn't much of a view. Most of our group of 11 hikers walked to the edge of the plateau to look down onto the Colorado River and Rainbow Natural Bridge. 3200' gain, Navajo Mtn UT 15' quad, climbed by 10 on 25 June.
Included in the cast of characters on this trip were: Donn Cook, Ron Bartell, Mary Omberg, Mary Sue Jones, Chuck Stein, Joe McCosker, Norm Rohn, "Campy" and "Ski", and Steve Langley. Also with us in a co-leader capacity was Dick Banner.
Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the|
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides
|DPS Archives Index | Desert Peaks Section|