Try for Humphreys again this weekend

8:48 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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Going to take another new hiker to Mt Humphreys this weekend. He just moved here from Indiana, but seems to be in better shape for out high elevation than the guy from Phoenix was last week. He already did a 1700 foor hike last saturday and feels confident he will be able to do the is hike which starts at 8000 feet and goes to 10,800 feet where we will camp. The another 1833 feet to the summit of Humphreys.


This is the first part of the hike just to Doyle Saddle  (7995 to 10,800 ft)


And this is the second half in the afternoon we will do as a dayhike leaving our gear at Doyle Saddle (10,800 to 12,633 ft)

9:05 p.m. on August 25, 2011 (EDT)
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The red line on this aerial view is our hiking route

9:20 a.m. on August 29, 2011 (EDT)
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How did it go, Gary? It looks like it would be a great trip :)

10:42 a.m. on August 29, 2011 (EDT)
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It was a good hike, my calves are still sore this morning. Was difficult to sleep well at 10,800 feet where we camped. I only made it to 11,800 feet as I was too sore and could hardly breathe. Last time I was above 10,000 feet was in the Tetons in the summer of 2008. But my hiking partner made it. He said there were about 75-100 people on or going to from the top. Would have liked to have been there maybe next time!

The above shot is a panorama from Doyle Saddle where we camped, at sunrise looking west. Fremont Peak is on the left, Agassiz Peak is the next lower looking point, then Agassiz Pass near the lowest notch. Then Humphreys at 12,633 in in the middle.

Will share many more pics after I catalog them.


Mt Humphreys (right high point) from Doyle Saddle at 6 am.

11:35 a.m. on August 29, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice photos, Gary. Sorry to hear you weren't able to make the summit. 

I am hoping the elevation doesn't kick my butt to badly. Last year I hiked up to 9000ft in the Shoshone NF for an overnighter, and that didn't phase me at all. But I had spent 6 nights at 6900 ft, giving me time to acclimate a bit. I will only have one night to adjust before I start my trip on Saturday morning. We'll see I guess. 

If I am doing well enough, and get enough sleep that first night, I might start before dawn on Sunday an summit Mount Woodring. Of course I will need to assess conditions and my state once there before I decide to go for it or not. 

8:34 p.m. on August 29, 2011 (EDT)
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We each carried 6 liters of water as after Shultz Tank-Pass there were no water sources. Wish I could have carried more, but at 2 lbs to the liter water gets heavy. Was heaviest item in our packs! I had 4 bottles and a 2 liter Camelbak. Wish I could have stayed up there an extra night, to look around more.

May try to do it this fall when its cooler and maybe in winter when there's snow for water. I miss Jackson Hole (JH) and all the streams,ponds,lake,creeks,rivers and high country snow. At 9000-12,000 feet in the Tetons, Gros Ventre (Grow Vont), Wind River and Wyoming Ranges around JH there is always snow up high year round. Its way too dry down here at the edge of the Colorado Plateau and the Sonoran Desert. Closest river is 2000 feet below Flagstaff and the Mogollen Rim near Sedona.

8:30 p.m. on August 30, 2011 (EDT)
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Sorry ya didnt make the summit but it'll always be there waiting for ya to try again.

Yep the water situation out here is a real drag. Really limits where and for how long ya can go anywhere.  Specially this time of year. Even up north the cattle tanks and lakes are dry. I wish I could find a list of the concrete and metal water tanks the cattle ranchers have put in and keep full. They're out there, one main large tank with a wind mill pump feeds bunchies of smaller tanks with miles and miles of pipe. But as far as I know there is no real list of just where these are all located or if they are active at the time.

I look forward to winter for hiking the deserts nicer temps. But you have to wait for the snow to hit the tops of the Mtns. to hope for water down below. Thats usually not until about December.  Even at that its still just hoping most of the time. Ive done several trips with enough supplies and time for four days if I can find water but at the end of the first day and not finding water, with just enough to get back, stay the night and head back in the morning.

11:53 a.m. on August 31, 2011 (EDT)
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Looking back down at Mt Elden from about 9000 feet up the Weatherford Trail our first afternoon.


A insect pupa sits atop a toadstool along the trail


At 9,800 feet even Lupine looks like bushes.


Because we left the Trailhead at 3 pm in the afternoon we hiked till 630 (30 minutes before sundown)  and only made it to 10,000 feet, 800 feet below our goal of Doyle Saddle.


The next morning we left our first camp and hiked the remaining 800 feet to Doyle Saddle.


We sat up camp 2 in a structure built of pine and fir logs near the Saddle. My friend Ron bends over at left.


First view northwest of the San Francisco Peaks Mt Humphreys in center still nearly 2000 feet higher than Doyle Saddle.


After setting up camp 2 we headed for Mt Humphreys along the 10,000 ' high trail.


A single alpine flower in a sea of older blooms measures but a 1/4 inch across.


Volcanic Ash pillars erodes slowly away near Agassiz Pass. Cinder cones and Sunset Crater in the distance.


The trail meanders trhu eroding volcanic rock and winter stunted trees around 11,000'. Humphreys looming a couple miles away on the rim.


L-R Doyle and Fremont Peaks are now behind us.


The Inner Basin comes into view below where the peaks collapsed like Mt St Helens 100s of thousands of years ago.


More evidence of the peaks past history stands in lava rock and lava domes inside the strato-volcanos inner basin.


Humphreys and lesser peaks stand abover the Inner Basin with pine and fir forest below.


A exposed vein of quartz in the ancient black/grey rock near 11,500'.


Here at 11,500' the lava rock erodes like shale due to annual freezing and thawing. While Flagstaff is often dry of any weather in winter the top of the peaks are covered by as much as 100 inches in December/January.


Even here at nearly 11,800 feet flowers hold a nitch in the rocks.


100 year old equipment and a stove rust away at nearly 12,000 feet.


At 12,000' even mushrooms manage to pop up thru the rock after heavy summer rains.


A trail closure warns of a huge fine. This comes from the top of the AZ Snowbowl ski area just to the right. Closed in the latter part of the 20th century it used to be an easy way to see Humphreys by taking the chairlift up to 11,400 feet then hiking the remaining 1263 feet to it summit.


This was as high as I got arount 12,000' Looking back at Doyle Peak and the cinder cones including Sunset Crater on the left (last erupted about 1000 years ago, the youngest volcano in Arizona)

My hiking friend did summit Humphreys while I waited at 12,000'. My legs and lungs could go no further.


On the way back down to camp 2 we pass the volcanic rock here shown covered at its base with lichen on it northern most side. Fremont Peak on the right, Shultz and Doyle Peaks behind it.


At between 11,000 and 12,000 feet along the trail there is little vegetation, just a few stunted trees,alpine flowers and lichens.Agassiz and Fremont Peaks above R-L.


The views at Fremont Pass were obsrtucted by trees looking SW away from the peaks.


While the Inner Basin is clear until you look to the horizon. Lava domes are scattered in its bottom. Sunset Crater looms in the upper middle.


Back at camp 2 the sun starts to sit shading the tents in the camp shelter.


Just before darkness sets in the sun sinks behind Humphreys from Doyle Saddle.


Early the next morning the sun paints the clouds above Doyle Peak with light.


And early light falls on eastern Arizona covered in fog.


To the NW the higher Fremont Peak and seen as lower Agassiz Peak and ridge catch the suns rays at dawn.


Mt Humphreys and the larger lava domes too bask in the light of sunrise.

The main ridge of the San Francisco Peaks with Fremont, Agassiz, Agassiz Pass and Humphreys loom on the horizon at sunrise.


7:40 p.m. on September 1, 2011 (EDT)
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Summit of Humphreys Sept 23, 2001. Agassiz in the background. Pleasant morning hike from Arizona Ski Bowl.

8:30 p.m. on September 1, 2011 (EDT)
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Nice Bill, I will try to summit again when the weather cools off this fall, maybe even try this winter when I can find snow to melt  I carried 6 liters on this trip.

9:24 p.m. on September 4, 2011 (EDT)
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Don't know how far you have to travel to get to this place, but what about a couple of day hikes before the summit attempt to cache water at different stages on the route?

2:40 p.m. on September 5, 2011 (EDT)
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It starts with one of two routes that lead to either 10,800 ft or 11,400 feet. The first begins at 7995' and the other at around 9000'.

When we did it we started at the 7995' Shultz Pass and hiked to 10,000' the first afternoon, then hiked the 800' to Doyle Saddle, set up camp and dayhiked to the top and back. Its 4.5 miles from Shultz to Doyle and 5 miles from the ski area base at 9000' to Agassiz Pass at 11,400.


The red line on the left is the ski lift base trail and the other (right) is the Shultz Pass to Doyle Saddle trail. Its a 6 mile drive from Flagstaff to Shultz Pass and a 9 mile drive to the ski lift base area.

12:26 p.m. on September 10, 2011 (EDT)
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Love those panorama shots!  What camera do you use?

1:12 p.m. on September 10, 2011 (EDT)
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 Its a Kodak Easy Share with panoramic stitching built-in.  Little tiny 12 megapixel camera. I bought it used at a yard sale a month ago for $10.



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