Days 3 & 4

October 12 and 13, 2010

Day Hike to Malgosa Crest


Click on photos to see larger image.

Today's route stats: 

    Distance:  4.0 miles

    Elevation Gain:  2600 feet

    Elevation Loss: 1800 feet

Today we decided to do a day hike to Malgosa Crest, as described in Tom Martin's book Day Hikes from the River.  We expected a difficult hike, but also expected the fabulous views to make it worth the effort. 

Climbing Talus Slope from Camp. Up, Up & More Up. Ben Looking Down From Where He Came.


The hike began from our campsite by immediately climbing a steep talus slope on the downstream nose of Kwagunt Creek.  At the top of this talus, we continued on through another steep chute in the Redwall.  This is followed by negotiating a few chimneys and cracks and some difficult sections in the Supai.

Before we reached the top, we heard an extremely loud crash that lasted for at least a minute.  A huge rockfall had occurred on the other side of the River from us.  This was followed by a huge plumb of dust.  I've seen and heard a few rockfalls in the Canyon before, but nothing this large.

An Exposed Climbing Section in the Supai. An Exposed Climbing Section in the Supai. Huge Rockfall Across Canyon.


The views from the top were, of course, fantastic.  The area around the Crest is relatively flat (Esplanade).  Malgosa Crest, made from Coconino Sandstone,  sits on a base of Hermit Shale.  After a lunch break, we began looking for the way down into Malgosa.  We looked for the way down as described in Tom's book, but it all looked too steep to be the correct route.  We spent a lot of time wandering around, looking for a way down.  We finally gave up on Tom's route, and found a circuitous way down starting from the NW side of the Crest. 

View to the North. Nankoweap Mesa and Kwagunt Canyon. Malgosa Crest.


By this time it was getting quite late, and we all began to realize that we might not make it back to camp before dark.  We were almost out of water and so we hustled down as fast as we could, hoping to at least get to water in the Malgosa drainage before dark.  We made it to a small spring just before dark.  However, it was now too dark to hike.  And it was getting cold.  Although all of us were very experienced backpackers, none of us brought much in the way of emergency items.  Most of us had no extra clothes, food or matches.  Luckily someone brought a book of matches and we collected dry brush and branches to make a small fire.  Like me, some of us had only shorts and a t-shirt to wear.  We huddled around the fire all night.  It was not fun.

The next morning, at first light, we continued on down Malgosa to the River, the up-River and back to our camp.  We stayed at this camp for another night.

A Long, Cold Night. Small Fire to Keep Warm. Hiking Back to Camp the Next Morning.


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