|when||Sunday, August 9, 2020|
|where||San Francisco Peaks, Flagstaff|
Mt. Humphreys is Arizona’s premier high-altitude hiking experience.
This is not an easy hike by any standards, but if you can make it to
the top of Mt. Humphreys, you are standing on the state’s highest
peak and are rewarded with a 360° panoramic view that is
unparalleled anywhere in Arizona, taking in hundreds of square miles
on a clear day.
This is an incredible hiking experience, but please think carefully
about your overall physical condition before even considering this
This is a long, steep hike that will take us over 4.7 miles of often
rough and rocky terrain and 3,333 feet of elevation gain to reach
the summit, where we can expect cold and windy conditions.
Level ground is a rarity on this trail, and the higher we get the
thinner the air and the harder it is to breathe.
If you feel you are up to the challenge, then by all means go for
it, but please read the following information first.
Altitude sickness will be our worst enemy on this hike and typically causes one out of four hikers to turn back. It is crucial not to push yourself beyond your limits on this hike. Instead, pace yourself—we are not trying to set any speed records here. Staying overnight in Flagstaff prior to the hike is advisable. And make certain you stay well hydrated and fortified with electrolytes, since dehydration is a major cause of altitude sickness. At the first signs of altitude sickness (one or more of the following symptoms: severe headaches, dizziness, extreme shortness of breath, and nausea), stop and inform someone before taking another step. If left unchecked, altitude sickness can become dangerous.
Be prepared for extreme mountain weather. These higher mountains create their own weather systems, and it can sleet, hail, or snow on any day of the year even if it’s 110° and sunny in Phoenix. And you can bank on it being very windy at the summit. So bring warm clothing and rain gear with you, just in case.
The Mt. Humphreys Trail, starting at 9,300 feet at the Arizona Snow Bowl Upper Lodge and ending 4.7 miles later at the summit (the longest 4.7 miles on Earth), is deceptively easy at first, carrying hikers about a quarter mile over a lush and flat mountain meadow into the edge of the forest. Entering this thick old-growth forest of aspen, Douglas and white fir, Englemann spruce, and ponderosa pine, the trail now begins a gradual but steady climb up the sloping side of Mt. Humphreys in a series of long switchbacks. After struggling through several more ever-steeper and tighter switchbacks, we will emerge – at 11,800 feet – onto the Agassiz Saddle (the 11,800-foot high ridge connecting Mt. Agassiz and Mt. Humphreys), where we will catch our first glimpse of the majestic Mt. Humphreys, still looming in the distance another 870 feet higher and a little over a mile away.
We’ll take a lunch break at the saddle, since it is safe and not windy and cold, instead of at summit. We’ll take a group picture and decide whether to go for the summit. The determining factors here will be the weather and how we feel individually. At the first signs of a thunderstorm, we will immediately turn back, since we are now above timberline with no shelter and no protection from the elements. You do not want to be in this area during an electrical storm. Several hikers have been struck and killed by lightning along this stretch of exposed trail. If we have good weather, those of us who feel up to it can proceed on to the summit, where I would like to get another group picture.
For those who feel they have gone far enough, it is probably a good idea to rest and return from here, since getting to the saddle is a major accomplishment in itself. For those of us continuing on, we will enjoy the scenery at the summit and take a well-deserved rest break before we make our way back down the same way we came.
• Sturdy hiking boots
• At least 3 liters of water
• Rain poncho and a flannel shirt or light jacket
• Hat, sunblock, sunglasses
• Lunch or snacks
• Hiking poles
|distance||9.4 miles round trip|
|time||6-8 hours hiking time|
|EC||+-3,333' elevation change|
|elevations||9,300' (trailhead) to 12,633' (Humphreys Peak)|
|on trail||100% — Humphreys Peak Trail|
|rating||"A" (top, this is a very strenuous hike) or
"B" (Agassiz Saddle)
Rate yourself as a hiker.
|cost||The club allows voluntary contributions of $5 per non-member.|
|leader||Email the leader to confirm. Required: you must email the leader requesting to join the hike. You must be confirmed by the leader. Preference will be given to Club members. Before you will be signed up I must have hiked with you on an "A" or difficult "B" hike in the last 12 months, and you must be able to finish the hike in a reasonable time. Non-members will be considered based on individual basis. Limited to 10 hikers. The hike may be subject to change, or canceled due to severe weather. Co-led by Li Li.|
|6:00 AM in the Snowbowl lower parking lot. Recommend you stay in Flagstaff the night before to help acclimate and to be on time at the trailhead. We will be on the trail by 6:15 AM sharp. We want to get to the saddle and summit and be on our way back down before any thunderstorms form.|
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|updated August 3, 2020||© Copyright 2020, Arizona Trailblazers. All rights reserved.|