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Brahma Temple
12 Photosets

2018-02-17  
2016-11-24  
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2016-02-27  
2015-05-02  
2014-06-15  
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mini location map2015-05-02
14 by photographer avatarfriendofThundergod
photographer avatar
 
Brahma TempleNorthwest, AZ
Northwest, AZ
Hiking avatar May 02 2015
friendofThundergod
Hiking32.08 Miles 10,700 AEG
Hiking32.08 Miles   19 Hrs   59 Mns   1.76 mph
10,700 ft AEG   1 Hour   45 Mns Break
 
I headed up to the Canyon for a little bit of a gut check. I wanted to finish what Karl and I had started Thanksgiving of last year, which had really only amounted to a quick recon of the route through the red wall on the way to Brahma. I was able to get a pretty good idea of the rest of the route through Joe and Dave1.

I drove up Friday evening. There was a self-pay machine on the way into the park, but I was not sure if they were suggesting to pay or actually insisting, so I continued through the entrance and pretended that I did not know how the machine worked. I camped at the first dispersed site along the forest road that takes you to Grandview tower and the rim S. rim section of the AZT.

Keeping with the apparent rules of Brahma, which I gathered from reading other HAZ members trip logs, I got very little sleep the night before. However, I was able to double Dave's suggestion of two hours of sleep and got a restless four hours.

Even at 5:30 in the morning, foot traffic was a little heavy along the upper stretches of S.K. Nevertheless, the relentless downhill went by very quickly, as it always does. In fact, the first half of my morning went by very quickly and I made relatively good time. I was staring at Mr. T, getting ready to start my ascent through the red wall less than five hours after starting the trail.

I had already did the red wall section with Karl back in November, so there were no surprises and it went quickly and smooth. The ascent up through the shelves of Hermit shale went equally as smooth, in fact, for myself the red wall and Hermit shale stretches really make the hike, a little climbing but nothing overwhelming and kind of fun. Upon reaching the top of the shale, I got to enjoy one of my favorite stretches and the first of two long stretches of scree slopes that one must traverse to reach the Zoro-Brahma saddle and the starting off point for the final climb through the Coconino to reach the summit of Brahma. Actually, there were probably zero parts of this portion of the hike that I liked and the traverse is physically and mentally taxing to say the least.

I learned several things on this day. Firstly, I have no problem with climbing, scrambling and a little exposure. Secondly, I hate navigating scree slopes! Scree with unforgiving exposures is nearly my kryptonite. I find it to be scary to navigate, slow going and too tedious and annoying for my level of patience and demeanor.

If one examines my route, its easy to recognize I took a different approach up Brahma than the established route. A part of this was be design, however, most of this was a product of getting off track and choosing to improvise instead of returning to the established route. There are several failed attempts on my route where I stubbornly tried to climb up from a more southeasterly corner. Another lesson learned yesterday, improvising and being stubborn rarely pays off in the Canyon, as it will always wins those battles. Nevertheless, I reached the summit and enjoyed perhaps the best 15 minutes or so of outdoor experiences I have had to date.

The views were amazing and some ominous clouds mixed in with a couple heart-stopping claps of thunder made for a unique summit experience. I realize there are tougher spots to reach in the national park, however, I felt an immense sense of accomplishment and satisfaction standing on top of Brahma with the summit to myself. Similarly, there was an emotional aspect to the experience as well. I could not help but notice that JJ had left a happy Father's day message behind in the register and this held some certain relevance with me.

I had told a few close friends that I was doing the hike/climb as a small tribute to the man who made me who I am today. He would have turned 56 on the 30th of April had he still been alive today and I can't think of a better way to celebrate life than to spend a day cheating death.

The trip down was not the easy part. I ran out of water while making the traverse over to the Zoro-Brahma saddle and was really only able to squeeze about a three oz sip out of the bottom of my bladder after that. Similarly, because I was hiking a little fast and somewhat dwelling on my water situation, I walked three-tenths of a mile past my static lines to drop back down through the top layers of Hermit shale. Again my stubbornness led me to try and fix the navigation error on the fly, but there are no alternate routes and after yelling at myself inside my head I turned around and retraced my steps back to the first difficult roped down climb. I don't want to make excuses, but I think I was also making a few poor choices, because I was a little warm, kind of exhausted and I knew I had at least three hours to look forward to of no water (ended up being closer to five hours. Consequently, I may have been acting with a little haste and not thinking clearly. Nothing gets one's heart pumping like being alone on top of the Hermit shale out of water and unable to locate the lines needed to down climb.

The rest of the climb down and the trip back to the Clear Creek Trail went very slow, my actions were very deliberate because of fatigue and my rapidly declining stores of energy. The worst part of no water was not being able to eat, as my mouth was too parched to eat, or probably speak at that point. With only three miles to go, I broke down and drank some water out of the bedrock in Sumner Wash. I did not have my filter so I used my long sleeve undershirt as a pre-filter, filled a Gatorade bottle and alternated taking very small sips and rinsing out my mouth as I made my way back to Phantom.

There is no dodging S.K. so I just sucked it up and embraced the seemingly endless and very slow going climb into the night's sky. I passed a trail runner near the top and he asked, "Did you do a rim to rim to rim today?" I said "no," but thought to myself after doing Brahma what an insulting question, rim to rim to rim please, that's for the tourist.
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