Navajo County Highpoint Trip Report
Black Mesa (8,168 ft)
Date: April 12, 2006
Author: Dave Covill (with Gerry and Jennifer Roach, Charlie Winger,
George Vandersluis, Rick Hartman)
This CoHP has been documented rather nicely, but only briefly
mentioned coming from the north side. Leave the stop light in Kayenta at the
160/163/591 intersection, zero the odometer, and drive south on the Tribal Road
for 0.2 mile on good dirt roads. Don't worry about the locals, they shouldn't
care too much about you. There was a huge county fair going on right there on
the day we climbed. Turn right at 0.2 mile just past the last houses and
proceed southwest on dirt, leaving the wider road behind as it goes due south and,
at 1.2 miles, cross a cattle guard and continue straight ahead. Turn right
again at 1.8 miles, leaving the power lines behind, and proceed southwest on
fair dirt. Here the road will curve south and then west. The crux move on this
approach is to go left at 2.0 miles, uphill. Proceed to the 2 water tanks you
can see from a mile back and reach them at mile 2.9. You will be just east of
spot elevation point 6,262. Do not continue to the end of the road by the house
but park next to the tanks. By the way, none of the roads on the topo appear to
match modern roads on the reservation at all.
Walk downhill south-southeast and cross a wash and make your way on a faint
trail up onto the first plateau. A poor trail meanders into the gully, passes
east of the 6,601-foot point, and heads towards the 6,823-foot point. Pass over
this plateau area, then approach the steep wall of the cliffs at about the
7,000-foot level, again on a faint use trail. No cairns. You will be directly
under the actual summit of Black Mesa. You need to angle to the right and make
for the lower weakness in the mesa edge, near the 8,000-foot annotation on the
topo map. To do so, you must climb slightly but stay under the most prominent
cliff band of rock for about 1/4 mile, while angling to the right (west).
Soon, arrive at the edge of a modest gully. Stay up on the left edge of this gully,
and don't descend into it. This gully edge will lead you all the way up to the
summit plateau. It is steep but reasonable, with some trees for shade.
It was about 70 degrees the whole day for us.
Once on the mesa top, follow it as in other
reports for a 1/2 mile or so to the east to the high ground. We found the cairn
after some searching and thought other areas on the rim were close to the same
height but a bit of wandering should satisfy all visitors. Great views to the
northeast from a lunch spot about 200 feet north of the cairn.
It took us 3:20 up and 2:10 down.
No one seemed to care about our presence. Somebody signed in and said they had
driven to within a 20 minute walk of the summit, although I have no idea what
they were talking about. The usual cast of suspects had signed in and we were
honored to join them. A very nice CoHP, earned by a tough hike.