Mount Trumbull (Arizona)


By: Bob Michael


Mount Trumbull (8,029'), high point of the volcanic Uinkaret Mountains northwest of Toroweap Point in the western Grand Canyon country, can not begin to compare with many other Desert Peaks in elevation gain (1500'), distance (3 mi RT), difficulty (walk-up), or beauty (having the general appearance of a sagging bread loaf sloping to a central peak). But in one important respect - that of true back-of-beyond remoteness - it can have few equals. The highest point of the western Canyon country, the view from the summit encompasses vast sweeps of country with nary a paved road, telephone pole, or permanent dwelling. The currents of civilization have passed the Arizona Strip by, leaving it to this day an island of primitive isolation.

75 road miles south of St. George - only 7 of them paved - the road west from the ghost settlement of Mt. Trumbull to Toroweap passes a functioning water spigot, fed by Nixon Spring high on the south flank of the peak, and a completely erroneous BLM sign, "Mt. Trumbull Trail. Summit 1 Mi.". Just past this sign is very pleasant camping in a Ponderosa grove at 6500'.

As far as I can see, the "trail" is nothing more than the steep, roughly cleared route, rather like a rough firebreak, of the buried water pipe from the spring to the' roadside faucet. This ends at 7300'. From here the route bears NNE to the base of a steep slope of basalt talus blocks that have rolled down from the lava cliffs that surround the gentle mesa-like summit. A bit of route-finding is necessary through the cliffs and through the band of nasty brush at the base of the cliffs. The summit of the peak above the cliffs is covered by a magnificent virgin climax Ponderosa forest. Bearing NE through the woods brings one to the gentle but clearly-defined summit. Just north of the true summit is a vast view to the north encompassing the Pine Valley Mountains, the Vermilion Cliffs, the White Cliffs (including Zion) and the Pink Cliffs as far as Bryce. From the true summit, the view opens up to the east, revealing the Kaibab Plateau, Kanab Canyon, and Humphreys Peak in the far distance. The sun was setting when I reached the top, and the tops of all the canyon rims glowed bright orange, a vivid contrast to the dusky plateaus.

Bob Michael
Brown Bear Mountaineering Club
Boulder, Colo.

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