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Ascent of Humphreys Peak on 2013-08-03

Climber: Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach

Others in Party:Christine Soskins
Date:Saturday, August 3, 2013
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
Peak:Humphreys Peak
    Location:USA-Arizona
    Elevation:12633 ft / 3850 m

Ascent Trip Report

Christine and I headed out to Flagstaff, with the intention of hiking Humphries on Saturday and then heading to NV for Charleston and a few ohter peaks in the NV/REd Rock area. Fire closures at Charleston prevented us from even hiking on Sunday. However, Saturday's ascent of Humphrey's proved to be successful.

Camped at a dispersed camping site on the road leading up to the Snowbowl. Originally we were planning on a 20-mile loop of the Weatherford Trail, but with a 40% chance of thunderstorms after 11 am, we didn't want to be caught on an exposed tundra. So instead we reluctantly scaled it back to the traditional 9.8 mile route, figuring that the altitude would be good for or late-season Sierra trips, and that we were already in decent shape....so we really didnt' need the extra mileage. And besides - the gain would have been primarily the same, with maybe an extra 1000 feet for 10 extra miles of hiking. At this point - eh.

Started hiking at 5:40 am with another couple. Quickly got the trail - SUPER EASY to follow, and really beautiful. Coming from SoCal, it was nice to see the greenery and smell the moss/forest. We loved it! Signed the register at .9 miles and then we were up the trail. Passed one person about 1/2 way up, and then met another one at the saddle at the last mile. What I initially thought was an altitude-sickness related headache, turned out to be a caffeine headache.... with all my time above 10,000 feet this year, I didn't think the altitude would affect me. The lack of coffee, however, was another story. Must figure out a good solution for this before Whitney and other hikes.

On the summit by 7:50 and we posed for some photos and chatted with another hiker. 16 minutes later, we were descending. We counted 182 people and 10 dogs going UP as we were coming down. Also - the wind started picking up as we were making our way down, and what was a light cumulous cloud or two, grew considerably in the 2 hours that it took us to descend. Maybe I'm just super cautious about the weather - but the look of the clouds made me nervous, and Im glad that we were up and down in good time. Driving out of town by 11:30, we could see the massive thunderheads forming over the tops of the peaks - so even though I would have wanted to hike more - we made the right call.

Drove to NV and hit the Charleston area, only to find out that the trails were CLOSED due to fire. Thought about a few plan Bs and Cs.... but it was really dissapointing, so we drove home to SoCal instead and will hike another day. Overall - great trip and nice time in Flagstaff!
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