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Inner Basin Loop, AZ
mini location map2018-04-08
13 by photographer avatarchumley
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Inner Basin Loop, AZ 
Inner Basin Loop, AZ
 
Hiking avatar Apr 08 2018
chumley
Hiking9.41 Miles 2,133 AEG
Hiking9.41 Miles   4 Hrs   52 Mns   1.95 mph
2,133 ft AEG      2 Mns Break
 
1st trip
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It was June 3 last year when we bagged Humphreys from the IB [ photoset ] JUNE 3rd!

Nearly 2 months earlier in a year with significantly less snow I decided it might be fun to get up into the Inner Basin and maybe glissade down. Kyle and I grabbed our ice axes and crampons and headed for the mountains.

The Inner Basin is an extra challenge in the winter since the FS closes the road that accesses it. I was happy to explore FR 553, which is open seasonally from 9/1 to 12/31 for hunter access. Actually, it's open all year (winter weather permitting), but the gate between it and the inner basin is only open in the fall. There's a mile of miserable Hanging Gardens- type 4-Lo along the way to keep the riffraff out. We had to clear the road of a few winter deadfall trees today, but eventually we got just a couple hundred yards from where I had hoped we could get to, and started our hike from there.

The snow pack at the lower elevations was much greater than last year. But only in the sheltered spots. Up high it was clear that there was actually less snow than there was last June!

But it was the lower elevation snow pack that did us in. It was really pleasant and enjoyable to be here, but it was exhausting. 2-3 feet of snow along the trail made for some solid work. We didn't quite make it to the switchbacks that lead up to the Weatherford trail, which was an intermediate goal for the day. And there would be no glissading down the cirque! But it was still a few hours of fun in the spring snow.

Had I been hiking with snowshoes, it looked like getting all the way to the Doyle Saddle would be relatively straightforward. From there the traverse was mostly clear, with one good section of the traverse still snow-covered (but much less than last June!)

There will be snow on the trail now for a few good weeks, and probably well into late-May in sheltered areas. But now that I know I can get close to the IB, I suspect I'll head up earlier in the spring in the coming years. The IB is a special place when nobody else is there!
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