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Humphreys via Inner Basin
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mini location map2017-06-03
20 by photographer avatarchumley
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Humphreys via Inner BasinFlagstaff, AZ
Flagstaff, AZ
Hiking avatar Jun 03 2017
chumley
Hiking14.02 Miles 4,744 AEG
Hiking14.02 Miles   9 Hrs   4 Mns   1.71 mph
4,744 ft AEG      53 Mns Break
 no routes
Lee and I decided to summit Humphreys from the Inner Basin. I knew there was still plenty of snow, so we both grabbed our microspikes, and I decided to bring my snowshoes along too, thinking that there might be places they would come in handy to prevent postholing.

The aspens are popping and the lower inner basin is alive with the fresh color of spring. The first half mile or so of IB29 has not been cleared of winter deadfall. Once you get to the aspen grove, it's mostly clear sailing above there.

We hit the first snow drifts at 10k, alternating between dry trail and climbing over 5 foot drifts. It wasn't long before it was totally snow covered. There was no level ground, and travel was tiring. I opted for the snowshoes here, while Lee was able to make do with spikes. We almost missed the start of the switchbacks up to Weatherford, and there was no chance of following the route here, so we just made our way up the ridge. Worked out pretty good as we topped out exactly at the sign!

On Weatherford, we were able to stick to the trail for the most part, but it was 100% snow covered and the drifts made for mostly side-hill footing. After Doyle Saddle, the snow thinned a bit and patches of dirt appeared before giving way to a bare hillside to start the traverse. That didnt last long however, and the most harrowing part of our day was crossing the half-mile snowfield in the upper basin that took us over half an hour.

It would have been nice to have an ice axe since a slip here would not have ended well. It's a lot steeper than you realize either from photos or when hiking the traverse on a nicely cut trail, which of course was a few feet below us on this day! Each step was deliberate and dug deep. There was no room for error. A little slip could result in a slide that would be difficult to self-arrest. :scared:

Finally we reached the ridge and dropped down to the saddle and the indescribable filth of humanity. I'm just gonna skip the trip to the summit and back as I don't want to remember it or really ever want to think about it again.

On our return we opted to avoide the treacherous traverse and just ride the snow straight down into the inner basin. Again, we wished we had ice axes as the glissade would have been much easier and less tiring. Nonetheless, we managed okay and somewhere around 11k reached some dry ground and ultimately dropped into the drainage below Snowslide Spring. From there it was a very welcome road walk back to the trailhead.

We did get to see a nice stretch of "roaring" surface water, of which I drank a liter. It's a rare sight to see a nice creek running in the Inner Basin. :)

Humphreys has moved over into my Camelback / Squaw equivalent. The Inner Basin is still a winner, though I may wait for a bit more snow to melt before I attempt a spring run in the future.

dry Spring Water Valve Dry Dry
water report recorded in the field on our app Route Scout Running great but spigot still turned off so no access to water here.
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