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  1. #1
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    Default Humphreys Peak, late June

    Looking for recommended tweaks to a typical southeastern US dayhike gear list for use at Humphreys Peak in Northern AZ later this month. I'm usually pretty careful and don't skimp on the essentials.

    Obviously I'll carry more water - possibly upwards of 4L. I always have trekking poles, so that's a given. Some of the things I'm less sure about are:

    shorts vs. long pants: Although I have some nylon quick-dry shorts with pockets, I almost always hike in long pants b/c of ticks (mine are Insect Shield treated) and reducing the severity of scrapes if I slip and fall. Obviously they have more sun protection and warmth in cooler weather, too. But they're not the quickest drying stuff: they're Dickie's work pants, 65% poly/35% cotton. I do have some untreated, light nylon long pants, too. Thoughts?

    Similarly, shirt: I have IS-treated LS and SS shirts.

    Light fleece 1/4 zip vs. down puffy?

    Baseball style cap vs. 360-deg brim hat?

    Bandana(s) vs. Buff?

    SOL emerg bivy vs. mountaineering bivy? I'm thinking former b/c I expect others will be out on the trail - it'll be June, and probably a weekend day. I have a PLB anyway (hope can bring on plane, will have to check).

    Bug headnet vs. Picaridin vs. DEET? (those are my prefs in order)

    Gloves? (if so, type?)

    Footwear wise, I'm planning on trail runners. I have a couple pair that are broken in; one is a little firmer sole than the other. I'll bring a change of socks, I've seen that mentioned a couple times.

    Poncho (w/belt) vs. rain jacket?

    Thanks in advance for feedback.

    -- TZ

  2. #2

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    (I can’t believe no one has hiked Humphrey’s Peak. )

    TZ, you know I’m much more lackadaisical with my gear choices but for the hike you are planning, you are doing the right thing to be cautious and conservative.

    I think you should go with long pants and have both LS and SS shirts. It may be warm starting out and will certainly become chilly towards the peak. Also pack rain gear...you will be on the edge of “monsoon season”. (I see now you ask about rain gear. IDK...go with your preference. It’s likely to be windy and the poncho flapping around would drive me crazy)

    1/4 zip fleece vs puffy? Hmmmm.... how long will you hang out on the peak? I would take my puffy if it were me, knowing how cold I get after heavy exertion and wanting to enjoy my rest. However, the fleece would be nice if you get chilly while hiking. And if it’s raining, you won’t wear the puffy. Yeah, so...take both!

    My hat choice would be made the morning of after checking out the expected forecast.

    Bivy? Don’t have a clue.

    I suspect there will be a lot of people on that trail and if you get in trouble, won’t need the PLB, but that’s a personal decision based on your risk assessment and risk aversion.

    My focus/concern would be carrying an adequate amount of water, warmth, and minimizing altitude sickness.

    Hopefully someone with more experience will chime in.

    Have a great hike!

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    Sorry, duplicate post.

  4. #4
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    No bug juice, no head net, shorts, have apparel to address exposure on open above tree line ridge lines, definitely at least a DWRed wind jacket and vest or LS top to put over another shirt, dont rely on the weather at the Snow bowl TH as the weather for the entire hike, light nylon running gloves and cap if you stay for sunset which I highly rec at the summit or at the saddle between Humphreys and Agassiz(2nd highest AZ peak that can easily also be bagged with usually no one at this summit), head lamp, plenty of H2O as there may only be one on trail water trickle past the SnowBowl TH and it will be a hot and strenuous affair. The Trail starts out rather tame from the Snowbowl but then gets to a steeper grade with longish switchbacks. If starting pt is the Snowbowl TH no PLB is needed; the trail is obvious. You will not be alone. Last 1-1.5 miles is above treeline with the last .5 mile totally exposed on the ridge line. If lightning or stormy I wouldn't venture to the actual summit. It's very rocky on the last stretch with no where to hide in high wind, lightning or wind driven rain. Spectacular 360* far reaching view from the summit. Slept at the summit one time in July cowboy camping after spraining an ankle. Could see the lights of the Grand Canyon, into Utah, and under the horizon, the glow of Phoenix lights. One of the best summits I've ever slept as far as view! ABC watch read 14*. My water bottle left outside my bag and bivy was frozen solid at 1 a.m. Sunrise was welcoming. Sunrise was as spectacular as the sunset. Some head up before sunrise to catch it. I usually start out at the SnowBowl but descend out the trail(forget the name) at teh saddle out to San Francisco Peaks/Kachina Peaks Wilderness where there will likely be no one. This alterante starting and ending TH is much less utilized. There is a water source that sometimes flows across that trail. Peace Surplus outfitters in Flagstaff usualy has someone on staff that can offer recent H2O availability accounts

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    Excellent account and advice from Dogwood. I've not had June experience on Humphreys, just late summer/fall. No further advice from me, but here's my story:

    My fall hike was a side trip on a five-day bicycle tour from my home in Prescott, from which I could see the summit. On day 1, I cycled 115 miles up to an AZT work event on the SF Peaks over the weekend. On Sunday I cycled to the TH, walked in a few miles to camp (not many good sites below tree line) then summited early the next morning. Winds were high enough that I was worried about seeing my next birthday. It was literally touch-and-go at the summit. Back in Flag later, I heard I-40 was closed and a rail car had derailed. The bike trip home through Sedona and Jerome was tame by comparison. (And I was sort of proud of my cost on the trip, which was zero. I never went under a roof, except a couple of privies. There was a catered breakfast at the work event, with enough leftovers to fill my pack with no need for resupply on the trip.)
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

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    Thanks all -

    yes, as TJ implied, I'm a planner, esp. in unfamiliar environments, like this one is to me.

    I'm not sure it'll start all that warm, as I hope to start around sunrise. The elevation change may offset the warming up of the area, so it may only be warm on my way down. The thought about long pants was that cooler temps at the top, along with likely very high winds and loose rock, seems like the time for shorts might not be until halfway down.

    I would not mind hanging out awhile at the top but from the few trip reports I've seen, that's uncommon due to the high winds and potential for sudden, adverse weather changes as you get closer to afternoon. The reports I've seen describe around 10-20 min at the top. It appears the Saddle may be more popular as a true rest spot.

    For anyone with similar questions reading this thread much later, I did come across one recommended item that I had not considered: lip balm with sunscreen (e.g., Chap Stick w/ SPF 15). Obviously very light. Possibly quite helpful, for both the moisturizing and the SPF.

    Sure hope this pans out!

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    TZ, I saw a recommendation that hikers summit and be back below 11,000’ by 11 am because of the potential for severe, afternoon storms. Seems a little unrealistic. (at least it would be for me, knowing how altitude affects me).

    Good point about not spending much time on the summit. I would still pack my puffy because it’s a little insurance that takes up very little space in my pack.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    Looking for recommended tweaks to a typical southeastern US dayhike gear list for use at Humphreys Peak in Northern AZ later this month. I'm usually pretty careful and don't skimp on the essentials.


    Poncho (w/belt) vs. rain jacket?

    Thanks in advance for feedback.

    -- TZ
    too windy on top for a poncho..............the monsoon usually starts cranking up around 2 pm and there will be lots of thunder and probably lightning long before the monsoon rain starts. I have a picture of my friends with their hair sticking straight up from the static charge in the air. They thought it was quite funny that I high tailed it off the summit so quickly.

    I don't know what your plans are but please remember that you can get altitude sickness on top. Acclimate yourself in flagstaff or there abouts for a day before climbing. Most problems occur when you drive from phoenix and climb the same day.

    Its not really aceptable to trek up to Agassiz Peak or hike across the saddle from Humphreys. You might sneak across without getting caught but the trail that use to go from the ski lift up to the top of Agassiz is blocked. Staying overnight at the summit is not permitted, but there is no ranger so I suppose you are expected to self report.


    For some reason, the trail off of the summit to the "saddle" becomes a little tricky to follow. And it is not uncommon to "make do".

    Have fun

  9. #9
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    I have a picture of my friends with their hair sticking straight up from the static charge in the air.

    One time it was very windy and dry after a brief fast moving shower blasted through with lightning. Every thing calmed down until the ridge. Took a pic of a couple on the above tree line ridge part as I looked back with hair sticking straight up too. It effected the woman fully than the man touched her and his hair immediately "twang out." I was only 50 ft from them and thought we were all going to be struck by lightning.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by yaduck9 View Post
    too windy on top for a poncho..............the monsoon usually starts cranking up around 2 pm and there will be lots of thunder and probably lightning long before the monsoon rain starts. I have a picture of my friends with their hair sticking straight up from the static charge in the air. They thought it was quite funny that I high tailed it off the summit so quickly.

    I don't know what your plans are but please remember that you can get altitude sickness on top. Acclimate yourself in flagstaff or there abouts for a day before climbing. Most problems occur when you drive from phoenix and climb the same day.
    Thanks - I have been offered a rain jacket by a local. It'll be too big for me, but in that case maybe I'll just cover my daypack too, which isn't bad. Belt /strap with poncho usually reduces wind-initiated flapping, but up there, winds are probably too much for that method. Maybe too much for Frogg Toggs generally (which is what the poncho is).

    - not going to get on Agassiz, at least not purpose. Humphreys is plenty enough to attempt for me.
    - hair sticking up as an early warning system - unfortunately that won't help me. Maybe I'll still feel a sensation, though? [arms]
    - I do have 2.5 days in Flag prior to heading up, so hopefully that should help with acclimation. Are any headache meds better than others for mild altitude sickness? I can choose from ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen. For anything beyond mild, I will probably turn around.

  11. #11
    Garlic
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    I'm sure you have plenty of hair in other places you didn't used to. You can also feel static charge between outstretched fingers on your hand. Ask me how I know....

    Good luck on your hike.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Time Zone View Post
    Thanks - I have been offered a rain jacket by a local. It'll be too big for me, but in that case maybe I'll just cover my daypack too, which isn't bad. Belt /strap with poncho usually reduces wind-initiated flapping, but up there, winds are probably too much for that method. Maybe too much for Frogg Toggs generally (which is what the poncho is).

    - not going to get on Agassiz, at least not purpose. Humphreys is plenty enough to attempt for me.
    - hair sticking up as an early warning system - unfortunately that won't help me. Maybe I'll still feel a sensation, though? [arms]
    - I do have 2.5 days in Flag prior to heading up, so hopefully that should help with acclimation. Are any headache meds better than others for mild altitude sickness? I can choose from ibuprofen, naproxen, and acetaminophen. For anything beyond mild, I will probably turn around.
    Trust me, there will be more then just hair sticking up as an electrical storm moves in. Nylon jackets will start "crackling" as if they were just pulled out from a dryer. But it is not a big deal, as long as you get off the top in a reasonable amount of time. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news...ning/87388756/

    went up as a group to celebrate my friends 30th birthday and we drove up from phoenix and climbed as soon as we arrived. He was fine until we got above tree line and then developed a headache, nausea and even "deposited" his dinner. Next morning he went down while the rest packed up. As soon as he got below tree line all of the symptoms went away. I don't know about medications. If your up in the area for a couple of days I would not be worried about it.

    You may want to check out Kendricks Peak which is a very nice hike with a good climb up to a fire lookout. Along the forest service road to Kendrick there is a another nice hike in a "Lava Tube"
    https://www.flagstaff.com/lava-tubes

    I am sure you will have a great time.
    Last edited by yaduck9; 06-16-2019 at 08:53.

  13. #13
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    Default post trip report

    Had a nice hike up Humphreys Peak. For anyone going in the future in June, FWIW, here's what I found helpful and superfluous.

    I drank 3.5L, of which 0.5L was pre-hydration just prior to the hike. So I carried 3L and that was just right.

    It was fairly cold and windy near the top (in the area of the 3 false summits), but not so much at the top. Although I didn't end up using my light down puffy, I easily could have - many people did. I suppose the exertion of the uphill climb obviated more than my 3 layers (thin SS shirt, thin LS shirt, and 100 wt poly fleece 1/4 zip). We spent minimal time at the summit (just enough for pictures), so we didn't cool off that much. But my fleece hat and Buff was quite necessary due to the cold wind, and elsewhere I used bandana/ballcap. I used my wide brimmed hat minimally, because most of the area where wide sun protection was needed (above treeline) it was very windy and cold, and it just wasn't warm enough nor secure enough on my head.

    Brought a DWR rain jacket, did not need it, but we had threatening clouds at elevation, and did get a few pellets of hail and/or snow momentarily. We did see rain off in the distance too, but we felt it was not coming in our direction. Still, it put us on guard. Rain jacket > poncho, IMO, because even with a belt, a poncho is going to flap a lot on the arms - and ventilate too much in the cold area above 11,400 ft or so.

    Tons of people on trail Saturday June 22. Very little need to worry about not being found if you had a fall.

    Trail runners are a good choice, but it is pretty rocky, so your feet do take a bit of a beating.

    Did not need any insect repellent or bugnet, but from what I read, this varies almost as much as the weather.

    Wore long pants and was glad I did. Not just for cold, but slips and falls too. The gravel on the trail is really loose, and for me that was more of an issue with descending than ascending.

    Gloves: I had 2 pair of thin "runners" gloves and although I only wore one pair, at least one other in our group doubled up on hers.

    Thanks all for feedback! It was quite a hike.

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    Congratulations on your successful hike.

  15. #15
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    Great Report.
    I'm hoping to climb Humphreys next summer!

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    follow up - a few more thoughts:

    in lieu of sun protection from a wide-brimmed hat (that wasn't warm or secure enough), I relied upon 50 SPF sunscreen and sunglasses. I kept feeling I should have reapplied sooner than the top (did so on the way back down, at the Saddle), but it worked out OK. So I'm guessing that to some extent, the clock on sunscreen protection doesn't start until the sun exposure starts. I didn't get much sun exposure on face/neck until near reaching the Saddle on the way up. After that, you're more or less continually exposed.

    Failed to mention altitude sickness too. Although I acclimated in Flagstaff for 2.5 days prior to going to Humphreys, it was still quite a lung workout on the ascent, and I did get a moderate headache around the Saddle. I took 1 naproxen sodium tablet there, and it helped at first, but then the headache resumed in a mild form by the summit. Had a little muscle fatigue in the area of the 3 false summits, but for me, the ascent was mostly a lung workout. In contrast, the descent was a leg workout, and by the bottom, mine were very grouchy! Some of our group used the term "like jelly" for their descent muscle fatigue. So overall, I felt pretty lucky about not getting significant altitude sickness. Still, I had the sense that I could get it if I had to venture much higher up, like say a 14er. Not sure about it, but suspected it.

    Food: I wolfed down a banana at the Saddle (ascent) and a sandwich (deli meat/cheese) there on the descent. Had a bit of trail mix early on, but as I hadn't eaten breakfast, that was it.

    Microspikes: carried, did not use. Would have been helpful in the dozen or so patchy areas where a snowbank covered the trail and you had to go over a "snow hump" of sorts, but it would have been a pain to take them on/off (keeping in mind how rocky it is, I don't think you'd want to wear them for short/intermittent use).

    Trail runners: Although I wanted to bring well broken-in shoes, mine were actually near their last hurrah, and that wasn't good. I don't think I realized how much height of my tread lugs I had lost through wear, simply because none of them had worn flat. But I think I'd have been better served with deeper tread. So you don't want brand new shoes, but you don't want them too worn either.

    DT Socks and Nexcare cushioned taped "ring" toes - awesome combo, no blisters or hotspots.

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