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December 2004

High Points: Humphreys Peak, Arizona

An easy high point with an unpredictable personality

While Humphreys is considered the easiest of the western high points–it’s only 10 miles from the latte bars in downtown Flagstaff–the long-extinct volcano has a volatile personality. Snow is common; afternoon thunderstorms are notoriously violent; and fierce winds along the mile-long summit ridge have forced many a hiker to scramble up on all fours. From the north end of the first parking lot for the Arizona Snowbowl off AZ 180, it’s 3.5 miles up to the 11,800-foot saddle between Humphreys and Agassiz Peak, the second highest in Arizona. When the snow is deep, beware of the huge overhanging cornice as you trace the undulating ridge to the first of three false summits. From the real one, the north rim of the Grand Canyon is often visible, 80 miles away.

Elevation: 12,633 feet

Rank: 12

Contact: Peaks Ranger District, Coconino National Forest, (928) 526-0866

USGS Topo: Humphreys Peak

Eat: Flagstaff Brewing Company, Flagstaff, (928) 773-1442

Sleep: Camp on FR 151 near trailhead. Call for directions, Peaks Ranger District, (928) 526-0866

Gear: Babbitt’s Backcountry Outfitters, Flagstaff, (928) 774-4775

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