Below the Coconino looking to Kwagunt!
View of Kwagunt from the Hermit below Atoka Point, Ocotober 25, 2000

Off Atoka Point!

Trip Report

 

 

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atoka2.jpg (19145 bytes)
The Route through the Coconino Break! There is 100' cable to sue as a handline.

 

Atoka Point October 25, 2000 Mike Mahanay

To get to the Trailhead drive out the Cape Royal Road and park on the right side of the road 1.5 miles past the new Roosevelt Point. There is a small pullout with room for a few cars. Head east through the woods until you reach the Rim. It should take about 20 minutes. I found a cairn and some blue flags in the trees that someone had put up prior to 1997.

The route down now became a mess. The deer trail had three inches of new snow that left the ground wet and slick. This area was part of the Outlet Fire from last spring. Many of the trees are still standing, but burnt through completely at ground level. They are just hanging by their limbs intertwined with other trees. A good wind will bring them down. All the trees and ground was black with soot. There was no underbrush left to hold rocks and logs in place. There were a few places where new Aspens are a couple feet high.

It is a steep descent to the top of the Coconino break. The Break is steep and has to be negotiated with care but would not be considered a climb. Harvey Butchart first rediscovered this route when looking for the route that miner Harry McDonald brought his burros off the Walhalla Plateau to his mines in 1891.

As usual, the Hermit is extremely brushy! A recently improved trail goes for a few hundred feet and then disappears. One must cross many bays to get around to see the Chuar Valley. In between the bays, I fought the usual assortment of oaks, thistle, and thorns. In some places the Outlet Fire even came down to this level! I tried to stay level, but usually ended up going up or down. I fought my way around to the point to have a lunch and enjoy the first partly cloudy and dry day of the week.

The view of Kwagunt is fantastic and worth the hike alone. There are also great views of the Navajo Reservation all the way to the Echo Cliffs over the Rim of Marble Canyon. Green/Ohlman say routes exist into Kwagunt in the main bed of Kwagunt and the first ravine east of Atoka Point. I have not done these two routes. One time I came up the first ravine east of Atoka, but was stopped by heavy snow before I could get through the Supai. One can also descend from the Kwagunt/Lava Saddle west of Atoka Point into Lava Creek and Hartman Natural Bridge. It is hard to find the break in the Supai and the Redwall requires a couple bypasses where packs will have to be lowered. Lava is nice route all the way to the River, and Unkar is reached from here.

 

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