By: Wynne Benti
The last time I attempted Avawatz was about six years ago on an official DPS lead with Asher Waxman. At that time, the road was in its once infamous 5th class condition." Though our group made it past that memorable crux maneuver without incident, we eventually found ourselves in a freak winter blizzard and complete white-out on the main ridge en route to the peak. We decided to turn back since the storm appeared to be worsening as the day progressed. This time, things certainly differed from that memorable excursion. The crux maneuver on the road was gone. The road had been completely dozed and what was once a palm-sweating staircase of rock through a narrow passage of rock walls, was now the smoothest part of the whole drive. We spent the night on a pullout just a few hundred yards from the start of the hike.
Before sunrise the following morning, at about 4:45am, we were on the trail in t-shirts. The air temp was already 85 degrees. We were well along the main summit ridge at sunrise.
It was truly inspirational to be able to watch the sun come up over the Clark Mountains to the east on the dawn of my birthday and the beginning of our travels to the Four Corners. By the time we got back to the car around 9:15am. the temp was already 101 degrees and rising. By 2pm, the Bun Boy thermometer (the worlds biggest!) was at 116. We were planning to do Clark, hut Bun Boy and his thermometer convinced us to hid farewell to the Mojave and to head immediately for the cooler altitudes of Cedar Breaks, Utah.
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