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Mount Huethawali, AZ

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Guide 8 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northwest > South Rim
4.2 of 5 by 5
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Difficulty 4 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 4.9 miles
Trailhead Elevation 6,644 feet
Elevation Gain -1,358 feet
Accumulated Gain 2,385 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4-5 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 16.83
Interest Off Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible & Connecting
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
Inaugural Calculation on Button Tap!
31  2017-03-22
Royal Arch Route
38  2017-03-22
Royal Arch Route
25  2013-10-24 John9L
18  2013-10-24 Hippy
7  2013-04-27 squatpuke
10  2013-04-27 BobP
15  2013-04-27 chumley
2  2013-03-30 jdomaska
Author chumley
author avatar Guides 74
Routes 666
Photos 13,110
Trips 1,414 map ( 10,519 miles )
Age 46 Male Gender
Location Tempe, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Jun, Aug, Sep, Jul → Early
Seasons   Late Spring
Sun  6:11am - 6:39pm
Official Route
2 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Geology Nearby
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
By the book! (Buy the book?)
by chumley

Likely In-Season!
Mt. Huethawali is a prominent peak that rises 1000-feet above the Darwin Plateau about two miles north of the South Bass trailhead. It is a dominant feature on the landscape for any hiker descending the South Bass Trail or traversing the eastern portion of the Esplanade Route. Most of the peak is surrounded by steep cliff faces that make ascending it impossible without technical climbing gear, however an easier route exists and allows simple class-3 scrambling along the southwest slope.

Pronounced "wee-the-wally", some sources indicate that Huethawali is a Native American term which means "Observation Point", but Wayne Tomasi explains in his book that it is actually a Havasupai term that means "white tower, white rock mountain, or mountain of white stone." It is a descriptive term since the Coconino sandstone it is composed of is whiter than the terrain it protrudes from.

The easiest approach to Huethawali is from the southwest. First you must get there, and the obvious route is to descend on the South Bass Trail past the Esplanade junction, a little more than a mile and about 1200 feet below the rim. Whenever it seems right, leave the Bass trail and head in a general northwesterly direction across the Darwin Plateau, aiming for the left corner of the mountain in front of you. This terrain is tiresome, with numerous small drainages to cross, strewn with large boulders and shin-eating desert scrub. Occasionally you may find a game trail but they last only for a short stretch before you are once again searching for the best route.

Upon reaching Huethawali's southwest corner, begin climbing along the best looking route. As you climb, occasional cairns will begin to funnel you to a fairly-well-established route. The climb here is on loose scree, with occasional large slabs of Coconino sandstone providing more sure footing. The climb is steep in places, but rarely are hands required. Before gaining the summit, you will have to ascend a couple of short climbs through the top layer of Coconino sandstone, though there are two or three possible routes to follow.

Once on top, the mountain stretches for several hundred yards in a mostly-flat ridge. Be sure to head all the way to the northeast portion for better easterly views and take the time to admire the view to the north that had been blocked from view during your entire trip thusfar.

The return trip follows the same route back, though you will almost certainly not be able to follow your route across the Darwin Plateau. Here it is good to have an eye for the South Bass Trail and make your way toward it for the climb back to the trailhead.

This hike involves off-trail class-3 scrambling on loose scree-covered slopes. There is no trail! This is a very remote part of the canyon, and there is no water available. This hike should only be attempted by those who are experienced and comfortable hiking off-trail in the Grand Canyon and other desert locales.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

This is a moderately difficult hike.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike to support this local community.

2013-06-03 chumley
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    Mount Huethawali
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    This route and backpack was everything they say it is and more. It was rugged, awe-inspiring and remote. I feel accomplished and elated to have been able to complete this one.

    Day 1:

    I did this trip with a couple of nagging ailments, so day one became a bit of a slog for me, but it was generally pretty easy. We took the Esplanade route from South Bass to a "dry" campsite just before Royal Arch Creek. Fast times down South Bass, as one would expect and pretty good moving across the relatively nice Esplanade route. A little boulder hopping, but generally pretty good moving down canyon to camp, then a little hunt for water, a quick dinner and a retreat to the tents to ride out a pretty good little squall.

    Day 2:

    A little slower moving for me down canyon, but not an overly tough route to the arch. The arch/land bridge area is tremendous and a true wonder of the canyon: A short climb out of Royal Arch Creek and then some nice tread to the infamous rappel. There was already a hand line in place, with some well placed/tied knots at the famous down climb, so we naturally utilized it and made pretty quick work of the modest obstacle. I would probably place it somewhere on the level of the down climb and hand line use needed in Phantom Canyon for frame of reference. From there it was dodging rain, light exploring and the usual camp activities.

    Day 3:

    Day three was Elves Chasm and a backpack that was pretty light in terms of miles, but a little rugged in nature. The Chasm needs no describing and was as nice as they say. Our movement down the Tonto was relaxed and we played the water gamble game perfectly to the tune of a really nice site among some slabs and high above a no name dry fall in a no name wash.

    Day 4:

    I thought day four was basically going to be just a movement and rest day for me, but it ended up being packed full of some pretty good hiking and new sites. A cloudy morning made for some perfect conditions along the Tonto and the views across the Colorado and north were superb at times. After setting up camp at the South Bass junction, we hiked to the "boat" and the South Bass Beach. The hike down canyon was very green and pleasant with several opportunities for filtering water. The boat was a cool little attraction and we all took a dip in the Colorado at the beach, overall, I think we all enjoyed the hike to the Colorado and its little attractions. I personally think its one of the nicer final descents to the river in the Grand Canyon. The chance of rain flirted with us at camp, but it ended up materializing on the north rim. As a result, we were rewarded with a nice little weather and cloud show along with a pretty nice sunset.

    Day 5:

    We only had five miles to complete on the final day, so Karl and I decided to add on one last side trip, Mount Huethawali. We knocked out the modest little summit on the way out. We were both happy to have made the pretty quick little detour to the relatively easy summit that we both really enjoyed. There are some great views from the summit and it felt like a fitting way to end our five day trek in the canyon. Unfortunately, after enjoying our moment on the summit, the realization set in for me that we still had to put on the heavy packs and climb out. The climb out did not go as bad as I thought it would, but it is certainly a grind; after about five hours from leaving camp, I topped out, signaling an end to our trip.

    A great backpack and a big thanks to @chumley for putting it all together! In terms of non thru-hiking experiences, maybe one of my best ever. It will take a lot to beat this one. I am very grateful to have gotten a chance to complete this canyon gem.
    Mount Huethawali
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Hit up SB with 2 NPS friends and my cousin Alex.
    They stopped at the Esplanade then head back up south bass while I ran on up to Mount We-the-wally and scrambled up the side for 35 minutes before our agreed upon turn around time
    I made it to the rim in exactly 55 minutes from mid Mount H. Whoo!
    I only know the time because I was trying to catch my group before they hit the rim. I arrived 4 minutes behind them. I feel pretty good about that.
    Mount Huethawali
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    So what started as a totally normal day ended up being rather amusing to say the least.
    First off, 9L INSISTED that HE Drive out of the park, so of course he got us lost heading out to 328, I had to backseat drive at every turn so he didn't miss it.

    Less than 3 miles out of GCNP lines the jeep starts beeping at him, while my nose is buried in my Tomasi book (South Rim Edition of course) I roll my eyes as he slows down, stops and inspects the tires...apparently the shoddy patch job they did at Discount Tire broke free and there was a slow leak. So John pops out this INSANELY HUGE travel safety kit...its what I would consider the "OVER-Prepared for the End of The World" travel duffel...then he proceeds to stab the tire with a huge gauged needle and tells me its fixed... :scared: I'm out here with a mad man!

    Needless to say after this little leak I stole the keys and took over the driving, we made great time to the Supai fee station, the Ranger there, Hansen, almost let us go in free thanks to my cute smile...until 9L opened his big mouth and asked which way to South Bass...*sigh*
    So we paid the $25, got a receipt and Hansen hopped in his Polaris and sped ahead and basically held our hand until the right turn toward SB.

    The road was smooth sailing most of the way (well, for a jeep...John might have been crying) The ruts were deep, the dirt was dusty, it was a fun drive.

    There were two vehicles at the trailhead, busy day! I instantly fell in love with the view from the TH, explored the little rock house ruins and had to drag John away from the jeep to FINALLY start hiking, I swear it was noon already!!!

    South Bass is EASY, its remote, silent, beautiful, stunning and EASY, we reached the cute granaries in seconds and then the Esplanade in what felt like minutes and were heading up We-The-Wally in just a few more. Perfect day for a trot into the canyon!

    I was really looking forward to bagging this summit for a few reasons.
    The first really was to beat 9L in the "peak" stats for the year...but then I got a letter in the mail it read something like this:

    Your assistance is needed, the sarcasm is fading, please help
    The Disciples of Frack"

    Obviously there was nothing I could do to help with that so I decided to go hiking, I took 9L with me because I needed someone to pick on all day that could keep up and JoeyB was unavailable, probably knitting or something.

    Mount We The Wally seemed perfect...for a murder! Not simple to get to, remote, surrounded by Native Land, deep Canyons and seldom traveled ravines... :-$

    Where was I? Oh yea...apparently there's a cairned route up Mount H that a certain group of Disciples couldn't find when they went (not that I should talk I get stuck in the redwall ALL the time! :lol:) ...well, according to all the maps I've studied there's a really neat little saddle further north along S. Bass and if you walk to that then turn left toward Mount H you'll run RIGHT INTO this sweet little foot path that pretty much takes you along the east side and curves around and right up to the cake walk, even though I had to leave 9L behind in order to reach said cairned route, he didn't believe me until he saw me traversing up the side of the mountain with ease...boys...

    So, yea...don't bother cutting a ravine, just go to the saddle and turn left :D

    Beautiful views on the summit, no cookies! Only one entry on Oct 15th, I wonder why nobody else hikes this one, it's so nice!

    Easy walk down, 9L was slow heading up South Bass so I went out to the Great Scenic Divide, got attacked by a tree and decided to head back, I caught up with him at the top of the Coconino but he left me in his dust because he found a baby snake on the trail and of course I wanted to play with it so he got another head start and I had to trail run (again?!) to keep up after that.

    We reached the jeep before sunset and he begged me to let him drive...bad idea, before we even got through the Supai gate we were driving at speeds of up to 17MPH!!! that must be the fastest he's ever taken that thing off paved road...I told him to speed up it's a JEEP for goodness he did...and hit a sharp rock and tore the front passenger tire to bits, the jeep spun out of control, I had to reach over and grab the wheel and tell him to stop screaming...sigh, then I had to get out in the cold windy night and change the tire for him...

    Poor John9L will never be the same after this traumatizing trip...regardless, Next time I'll drive!
    Mount Huethawali
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Met up with Hippy for a few days hiking in the Canyon. We decided to head out to the South Bass Trailhead on day one. This would be our first time at the trailhead and both of us were very impressed and can't wait to return!

    We left the village and started the ride out FR 328. We were making good time when all of a sudden a low tire pressure sensor goes off. We stopped and I get out to find one of my tires hissing air. I was able to plug it and filled the tire back up with my air compressor. We'll have another tire issue on the return. More to come on that later. We also had to the pay the $25 bucks to the Supai tribe in order to cross their land. No biggie. After the tire issue and chatting with the Supai gatekeeper we finally reached the trailhead and started hiking around 11am. We wanted a much earlier start but it took a while to get here. Lesson learned!

    Right away we noticed the view from South Bass Trailhead. It's jaw dropping! Both of us were blown away and were already talking about our return trip and we haven't even stepped foot in the Canyon yet! We finally get going and start making our way down. The upper portion of South Bass is in excellent condition. The trail is relatively smooth and very easy to follow. We checked out the ruins on the hike down and continued down to the Darwin Plateau. Before heading over to Mount Huethawali we took a quick detour over to a view point over Bass Canyon. Needless to say the view is spectacular!

    After the viewpoint we started the off trail hike toward Huethawali. I had Chumley's GPS track and had a good idea on where we needed to go. We made slow and steady progress as we tried to avoid the Cryptobiotic soil. It's everywhere and is a pain to avoid. It lessons out as you start ascending elevation. We continued up the south end but didn't see any cairns at first. We continued following the GPS track and eventually found some. From there the route is cairned all the way to the summit. We reached the summit and found Chumley's summit register he placed back in April. There has been only one entry since he placed it and it was less than two weeks ago. We spent a good hour up top taking pics and eating lunch and enjoying the views! It's spectacular up there!

    From there we started the scramble back down. We cruised down and then headed toward the Grand Scenic Divide. We started the off trail portion and Hippy found a cool little alcove in the upper layer of the Supai. It looks like people bivy in here. See pics. We continued the hike out and kept an eye on the time. It was getting late in the day and after 45 minutes or so we decided it was best to start our return hike to the rim. From there we cruised back to the South Bass trail and cruised on up to the trailhead.

    After we were back at the jeep we started the drive back and stopped at the abandoned ranger station in Pasture Wash. We took a few pics and then continued the ride back. I'm driving the jeep fairly hard when all of a sudden another tire sensor goes off. This time I blew a tire and it had to be changed as night set in. I brought along all my tire repair equipment and had it changed relatively quickly. For anyone going to the SB trailhead, make sure you have a spare and tire repair kit. After that we made our way back to civilization.

    The South Bass Trailhead is an absolute stunning trailhead! I can't wait to return again with the intention of going all the way to the river and then hopefully across the Tonto! I highly recommend this area!
    Mount Huethawali
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Drove out to Pasture Wash Friday night and car camped on the NF between the rez and the NP. No permit needed!

    After parting ways with Hippy, the three of us headed to the Bass TH and descended toward Huethawali. We stayed on the Bass Trail longer than we should have and ended up ascending the mountain from the East, which was an obvious dead-end. Eventually we traversed toward the south before finding a nice break to make our ascent. The scrambling was fun, but definitely more difficult than I had anticipated. Larry had read about the hike in a book and told us it should be easier. Despite assuming we were on the wrong route, we continued up until we couldn't go any farther without risk of serious injury and a side of stupid.

    Feeling defeated, we headed back down and decided that we would try to circle the mountain instead and look for ruins. Shortly after heading west a ways we encountered a series of cairns and realized that the route up was along the southwest side of the mountain. Here the going was much easier, just some steep scree and hardly any need for hands at all. After a few minutes we had gained the summit.

    Some snacks, a new summit register, and great views. We headed back down, staying with the cairned route until it petered out and then just cross-country hiking back toward the Bass trail and it's junction with the Esplanade Route.

    Bob took off ahead of us, but I was in rare form and somehow felt great motoring up, reaching the top just a minute or two behind him.

    Start 7:55
    Esplanade Junction 8:30, 1.3mi
    Bass Exit 8:55, 2.0mi
    Dead End spot 9:40, 2.5mi
    Give up and try again 10:10
    Summit 10:40, 3.3miles
    Begin Descent 11:10
    Esplanade Junction 11:55, 4.1mi
    Trailhead 12:45, 6.08miles
    Mount Huethawali
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Met birthday-boy Chumley and BobP at GCP the evening before. We car camped with the Hippy just outside of Pasture Wash Friday evening. It was very chilly, but with absolutely ZERO wind I slept VERY comfortably.

    Was great to meet the legendary BobP...I immediately enjoyed his company as he brought much food and persistently asked me to partake. The evening menu consisted of mustard braut burritos with vanilla-wafer sugar-cookies for desert!!

    The next morning, Hippy went back to a SAR class at GC. The three of us traveled on to Bass and quickly sped down the north end of the Esplanade. We started to climb "Weethawally" by traversing upwards, in a southerly direction along its eastern side looking for the simplest route to the top.

    We [MISTAKENLY] came to a large dihedral at the south-eastern tip of the mountain and climbed up as far as was comfortable. After exploring every possibility (and cheating death a few times), BobP finally relinquished - - we went back down feeling a bit dejected..."Fokhagyma"!!

    It was still reasonably early, so we kept traversing around the south end and finally found the correct "karen-ed" route, just left of center on the southern side.

    This climbing proved MUCH easier and we were quickly at the top enjoying absolutely AWESOME 360 degree views and a perfect cool breeze!!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    High Clearance possible when dry

    To South Bass Trailhead
    The South Bass trailhead is located in a remote area about 30 miles northwest of Grand Canyon Village. Primary access via the Kaibab National Forest on Forest Road (FR) 328. This unpaved byway is not shown accurately on most topo maps, so a road map of the Tusayan Ranger District of the Kaibab National Forest will be useful. FR 328 is rough and rocky and sections can become impassible during wet weather. A high-clearance vehicle is recommended, and four-wheel drive might be required if the road is muddy. Driving to the South Bass trailhead can offer almost as much adventure as the hike.

    Normal access to FR 328 is via Rowe Well Road from Grand Canyon Village. The park kennel is the best landmark. Rowe Well Road goes from west end of the Village to the kennel and continues south to the park boundary. This road can be difficult to locate, so inquiring locally might save time. FR 328 can also be accessed from Highway 64 south of the park. Turn west at the last intersection before entering the park or obtain directions at the Tusayan District Ranger Station.

    Drive Rowe Well Road about three miles south to the park boundary. A sign announces entry to Kaibab National Forest. Stay left (southeast) at the first fork, cross the railroad tracks and continue another mile to the intersection with FR 28. Turn right (west) on FR 328 toward Pasture Wash and the South Bass Trail. Drive about 16 miles to a gate that marks entry to the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the end of FR 328. The Havasupai Tribe charges a fee (usually $25) to cross their land and occasionally post a tribal member at the gate to collect. This station is not staffed full-time, and if nobody seems to be in evidence simply pass through the gate and continue about 1.7 miles to a four-way intersection. The road degenerates markedly at this junction. Turn right (northeast) toward Pasture Wash, follow the road about 1.9 miles to the Forest Service boundary fence. Continue another half a mile to the park boundary fence and cattle guard. Please help keep cows out of the park by closing this gate after passing through. Keep driving north to the ruins of the old Pasture Wash Ranger Station. This outpost has not been staffed for many years and no assistance is available. Maintain the northerly heading for 3.6 rutted, rocky miles to rim. Be forewarned: The road north of the four-way intersection can be rendered impassible by deep mud during periods of heavy rain or snow melt.

    Note: Havasupai Reservation is a sovereign nation, cross at your own risk.

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 253 mi - about 4 hours 34 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 358 mi - about 6 hours 4 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 106 mi - about 2 hours 24 mins
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