Ascent of Humphreys Peak on 2016-05-28

Climber: bob l

Date:Saturday, May 28, 2016
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Humphreys Peak
    Elevation:12633 ft / 3850 m

Ascent Trip Report

I started the trip from Vegas at 3:30am getting to the snow bowl trail head around 7:45am. It was a nice, quiet drive from desert to forest. The morning scene at the bottom of the mountain was postcard in appeal. Just perfect. It was sunny with that invigorating mountain air breezing around. There were no threatening clouds blocking the peak either. This was my first state high point peak attempt and in researching this mountain, I was aware of the reviews that mentioned severe weather problems. It storms all the time in Flagstaff, but today, it didn’t look like the mountain would be throwing any violent weather at the invaders. The hike starts nicely enough by crossing a grassy field to the awaiting tree line in the distance. At the tree line, the trail gets into its uphill climb. In this lower section, it’s very forestry, but the trail is wide and easy to follow and today there where many areas still covered with some snow and ice. The trail peacefully makes its way along several longish but gradual switchbacks up the mountain’s side jumping back and forth across a canyon. It’s really a mild push up as you wait to reach the top of the tree line which is announced by a sign disallowing camping. From this sign, the trail steepens and grinds through a few more short, tight switchbacks before it hits the saddle area that separates the Agassiz and Humphreys peaks. The sign also seemed to mark the place where the weather stiffened a bit and the elevation and thinness of air started to bite. From the saddle, the trail juts through rocky uphill terrain basically along the left side of the ridge top. There are several false peaks. Others have reported difficulty sticking to the trail in this section, but I never lost it probably due to the favorable weather, but I wasn’t worried either as I could see big stick markers placed strategically along the ridge which would help to keep you on the general track. Due to the diminished air, the ridge walk is a tough bastard, and all along it I felt like I had a slow leak. Did I mention that there are several false peaks? Eventually, the real peak is there and it’s just a short steep final climb to reach the summit landing area. It was a big high on top for me. I did it!
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