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Ascent of Humphreys Peak on 2009-11-28

Climber: Drew Gajan

Date:Saturday, November 28, 2009
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:Humphreys Peak
    Location:USA-Arizona
    Elevation:12633 ft / 3850 m

Ascent Trip Report

Humphreys Peak Trail #151

Access: From Flagstaff, drive North on US 180 for approximately 7 miles to FR 516 (between mile marker 222 and 223). Turn right on FR 516 (clearly marked as AZ Snowbowl). Drive 7.4 miles on FR 516 to lower parking lot. The trailhead is located on the far end with a information board and porta-potties.

Trail: Humphreys Peak Trail #151 (starting elevation ~9280 ft)crosses the lower portion of a ski slope and enters the woodlands on the other side of the open slope. The lower portion of the trail has a number of roots and rocks that can trip you up. At 9760 ft. is a trail register, stay left after signing the register. The lower trail is entirely wooded with pine and aspen, turning to pine as you ascend. The middle trail has a number of switchacks as you ascend to the tree line at 11400 ft. after 3.4 miles. At 11850 ft. the trail ascends to the Agassiz Saddle after approximately .3 miles (the Weatherford Trail joins the Humphreys Peak Trail at the Agassiz Saddle). The upper trail from the Agassiz Saddle to the Summit is approximately 1 mile gaining 783 ft. of altitude. This portion of the trail is rocky and entirely exposed to potentially high winds. While the upper trail is relatively clear, it is marked by posts along the way. You will ascend three (3) false summits prior to the final summit push.

Trip Report: Was the first to hit the trailhead at 6:25 am on 11/28/2009. It was a clear, breezy morning at 27 degrees (F). I used my headlamp for about 45 minutes. The trail had some snow packed down, but was fairly clear up to the trail register. After that point, the snow was more prevelant, packed down, and icier. The weather also turned colder, the winds picked up, and light snow began falling. By the time I hit the Agassiz Saddle, the was a full gale blowing over the mountain, combined with snow and sleet. With very low visability, I did miss the trail a couple of times, but quickly regained it. Hit the summit of Humphreys Peak at 9:45 am and my altimeter indicated the temperature was 17 degrees (F). The wind was gusting hard enough to blow me off balance a few times and I estimate it was a seven (7) on the Beaufort scale (approximately 32-38 mph). Ergo, the windchill at the summit I would put at -2 degrees (F). I stayed approximately 15 minutes while I pulled myself together for the descent. Leaving the summit at 10:00 am, I descended fairly slowly. The snowfall had been greater below the tree line and had been packed down by other climbers (and others who turned back). It was very icy and trecherous. I made it back to the trailhead at 12:42 pm where the temperature was 36 degrees (F). Total roundtrip was 6:16:28.6. Enjoyed climbing this summit under such conditions. Made it more interesting.
Summary Total Data
    Elevation Gain:3353 ft / 1022 m
    Distance:9.4 mi / 15.1 km
    Route:Humphreys Peak Trail
    Trailhead:Snowbowl Trailhead  9280 ft / 2828 m
    Quality:6 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Snow on Ground
    Nights Spent:0 nights away from roads
    Weather:Snowing, Frigid, Extremely Windy, White-out
17 degrees/32-38 mph winds/-2 wind chill/snow&sleet
Ascent Statistics
    Time Up:3 Hours 20 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time Down:2 Hours 42 Minutes



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