Thursday, October 6, 2016

Powell Plateau, Steamboat Mtn., and Boot Mesa

After a quick run down to see Amanda in Phoenix I met John on the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.   I hopped in John's FJ and navigated as he drove the twisty dirt roads through patches of rain to Swamp Point.  With the moonlight we could make out Steamboat Mountain.  As I fell asleep under the FJ I hoped that the darkness was making Steamboat look farther away than it actually was.

NW corner of the Powell Plateau 
We woke a few hours before dawn and started down the N. Bass trail to a saddle where we veered off the N. Bass and continued to the Powell Plateau.  Once on top of the plateau we headed for the NW corner to find a way down through the cliffs to access the Steamboat-Powell saddle.  Unfortunately, we didn't choose correctly the first time and got cliffed out.  After hiking back up and traversing a bunch we were able to find a break in the cliff that we could descend.
Descending to the Steamboat-Powell Saddle
Luckily with the great view from the saddle Steamboat went smoothly.  Now we just had to put our heads down and reverse our steps all the way back to the TH as the the heat of the day intensified.    
Steamboat Mountain
Day 2 was supposed to be an attempt on Mt. Hayden but the road out to Imperial Point was closed so we headed to the Navajo Reservation to check out Boot Mesa.
Moki Steps
 John had his eye on Boot Mesa, last year I had looked at it for him to see if I thought we could get up it.  A bowl on west side looked promising.  Zig zagging back and forth we were able to climb up through 5-6  cliff bands.  Although the rock was soft, loose and often wasn't easily protectable the climbing was moderate probably topping out around 5.8.
John near the summit with Agathla Peak in the distance.
The top offered amazing views of Monument Valley, Agathla and the rest of the Navajo Reservation. Since we didn't have any bolts or pins the descent required a little trickery but with a little patience we figured it out.
Great climbing with you John!

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