Mount Emma


By: Wes Shelberg



The Mt Emma volcanic cone is the highest elevation in the mountains forming the west side of the Toroweap Valley in Grand Canyon Nat'1 Park. From Mt Emma (named for Maj. John Powell's wife), the eastward distance to the Toroweap Valley road (at a point 1.6-miles south of the Toroweap Ranger Station) is 5.6-miles, and the southward distance to the Colorado River is 7.0-miles. Mt Emma's mountain range is variously named as Uirikaret, Pine Mountains, or the Pine Mountains (of the Uinkaret Range):

* The Mount Logan Quad (AZ, 7 .5-Mm, 1967) uses the Uinkaret Mountains name and locates Mt Emma at coordinates 050152 (read rt/up). The contiguous quad to the south, Whitmore Rapids (AZ, 7. 5-Mm, 1967), also specifies (Jinkaret Mountains for Mt Emma' s locale.

* The USGS map, Topographic Map of the Grand Canyon National Monument Arizona (1:48000, 50-ft contours, 1944) uses the Pine Mountains name and locates Mt Emma. This fine map of the Tuweep Area between the Pine Mountains and Kanab Canyon is still in print. The year-1967 Mt Logan Quad which locates Mt Emma updates some of the year-1944 elevations.

* A Nat'1 Park Service information sheet, TUWEEP, available in 1990 at the Colorado River overlook at the end of the Toroweap Valley road uses the name, Pine Mountains (of the (Jinkaret Range). Mt Emma provides expansive views in all directions. While the Park Service has helicopter-installed a small "whip" radio relay on the summit, this does not distract from the views or the wilderness aspect of the region. Views include:

* Mollies Nipple 17-miles away to the southwest, a major butte rising 1551-ft precipitously and seemingly "unclimbable". (Oh the joy, another nipple peak!). This Arizona Mollies Nipple is located/named on the Whitmore Point SE Quad (AZ, 7. 5-Mimi, 1967), and should not be confused with the Mollies Nipple located/climbed in Utah (The Desert Sage, 192, Oct/Nov 1987). The Ari2ona nipple sits isolated and seemingly difficult of approach within Grand Canyon on a bench above the inner gorge, about two miles east of the Shivwits Plateau rim and two miles west of the river. This place is the corner where the river makes its major bend to flow south and west around the Shivwits Plateau.

* Mount Trumbull about 10-miles away toward the north, and (probably) the Pine Valley Mountains roughly 70-miles away toward the north near St. George.

* Grand Canyon receding eastward to the horizon, including:

* The spectacular and colorful Tuweep Region (defined as that lying north of the Colorado River between the Unikaret Mountains on the west and Kanab Creek on the east), and Tuweep's equally spectacular and colorful counterpart south of the river.

* The horizon outline of the Powell Plateau about 55-miles away, and northward therefrom the horizon outline of the Kaibab Plateau and forest. For me, the eastward views at the Toroweap region are the finest all of Grand Canyon has to offer.

* Toroweap Valley, Vulcans Throne, and the latter' s nearby Toroweap Lake playa.

* Prospect Valley extending southward from the river.

* The San Francisco Mths (of Humphreys Pk fame) about 100-miles away near Flagstaff.

Mt Emma's spectacular location encourages me to risk being presumptuous or a meddler by reccomending that Kolob Chapter members, who wish to compile a peak list (The Desert Sage, 210, 8, Oct/Nov 1990), investigate Mt Emma's qualifications.

The round-trip criteria for the route drawn on the accompanying map are benign: Class 2, 6-miles and 3562-ft elevation gain; but they may belie the time required. This pumiceous route roller-coasters over sane volcanic cones which adds to the elevation gain. Another route from the trail-head to Mt Emma has less elevation gain by staying low on the east side of the Uinkaret summit ridge to avoid ups and downs. But why sacrifice views?

The trail-head is accessed by a benign jeep road, but have 4-WD. Proceed west from the Toroweap Ranger Station (see Mt Trumbull SE Quad (AZ, 7. 5-Mm, 1967)) for 0.2- mile, turn left and proceed 6.9 odometer miles (6.6 by map) to a faint road junction shown on the Whitmore Rapids Quad (AZ, 7.5-Min 1967, coordinates 072111 (read rt/up)). For further clarification, this junction (near The Cove on the thpo) can be found when driving by noting that it is 0.4-mile past the west end of a small playa which the road crosses unmistakably. Keep right at the junction and proceed for 0.8-mile to a faint jeep trace/track leading left (west) at coordinates 069119 (read rt/up). This track is not printed on the topo, but is drawn on the accompanying topo reproduction; you may have to look sharply and persist a bit to locate it among the pinyon pines, but it is unmistakable once upon it. Follow the trace west 0.9-mile to its end at a fine camp site. Because of the pinyon pines, for easy location of the vehicle upon returning from Mt Emma, park the vehicle in an open area where it can be viewed fran above. Also the ground in a volcanic region such as Mt Emma's can be hard and passable when dry but very muddy and perhaps unpassable when wet.

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