Humphreys Peak, Navajo Mountain, Mount Tipton
By: Pete Yamagata
Myself traveling almost 2,000 miles round trip from Sacramento with Rich Gnagy, we first camped at "Packsaddle Recreation Area" 9 miles into the Cerbat Mountains Friday night. Not realizing that Arizona time is L.A. time, since there is no daylight savings time here, we arrived at the meeting place across from the "lumber yard" at 5:30 a.m. Four cars had stayed there overnight, reporting lots of noisy traffic.
We consolidated into 4WD vehicles and drove up to the standard trailhead for 4WDs. Starting at 7:37 a.m., we followed a nice wash up to the ridge where we saw a small rattler. Continuing up through refreshing pine trees, we achieved the summit by 10:35. The brush was not real bad--thanks to our leader it was no worse than on many other DPS peaks. The register went back to Nov. 17, 1974. We left the summit and were back in less than 2 1/2 hours.
It was warm (it reached 102 degrees in Needles), but we had plenty of cold drinks.
Driving through Flagstaff, where we dined at Coco's, we continued north to the end of pavement on the Navajo approach and camped. Sunday, we drove to the standard trailhead (the last 2.6 miles was easy enough for Rich's 2WD Plymouth Sundance). Except for one truck, we all decided to hike the road to the summit. There was no corral marking the short-cut trail, but we found a steep, rough use trail which we lost after several hundred feet up. We soon were navigating through brush and fallen trees, and eventually connected up with the main road again. We paused shortly at the summit rocks, then we all hiked over on a dirt road that forks both ways to viewpoints (the left fork is the best). The air was clear; we could see Rainbow Bridge, the many boats on Lake Powell and the La Sals as well as the mountains of Dixie National Forest to the north. Some of us went to the other viewpoint to gain a perspective more to the east. We hiked back down the main road, arriving at the cars after 2 1/4 hours. Some said that if they'd known the road was that good, they would've driven.
We returned to Flagstaff to sample the Sizzler, then camped off Highway 180 north in the trees. After missing the trailhead (which is straight ahead and down from the final hairpin turn before the ski resort locked gate), we found the well-used trail which had snow early on in the trees. On the advice of Bob Wyka, who we had met Sunday near Navajo, we headed straight up on a talus/scree rib, avoiding much of the snow. We reconnected with the trail on the main ridge, and shortly topped out on the summit. Most of the main ridge was free of snow. We took lots of photos, posing for group shots (I used my wide-angle lens with a strong flash unit to fill in facial shadows: see photo), and enjoying the view. Due to the long drive home, Greg allowed the faster climbers to go down ahead of the group.
The weather had been fine, and no problems were experienced. My regards to Dave Petzold and Carolyn West, who were the slated leaders but unfortunately couldn't make it. We had a moment of silence on Humphreys in memory of Dale Van Dalsem, who had originally planned the trip.
The participants were Eric Beck, Vi Grasso, Gene Mauk , Ron Young, John Connelly, Ron Grau, Tom Moumblow, Edna Erspamer, Dave Hammond, Paula Peterson, Jim Fujimoto, Delores Holladay, Greg and Mirna Roach, Theresia Glover, Charles Knapke, Judy Ware, Rich Gnagy, Jeff Koepke, Pete Yamagata.
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