Kinda Hard to Climb Hayden Butte When You're Staring at Brady Peak!

Hayden Butte (near top-center) from near Point Ensanada

In what was once a typical CP move, I did something blockheaded one day and set out with Dow Williams to climb Hayden Butte, a small temple situated just off the North Rim of the Grand Canyon. The blockheaded part of it was neglecting to bring a map, opting instead to bring nothing more than a print-out of one of Harvey Butchart's old trip reports, written, oh, about 1960.

Reaching one of the parking areas along the North Rim, we looked out and spied our objective...or so we thought. Following Harvey's directions, we began a tortuous bushwhack descent through the Coconino layer to what we hoped would be an easy traverse on red sand and talus to the base of our climb. But within minutes, the brush was too much. I, of course, a veteran of Zion backcountry bushwhacks, was perfectly fine having my clothing torn to shreds by thickets of acacia, but Dow was not! So let's find another way!

Returning to the rim, we drove over to Point Ensanada, right near the foot of our objective (again, or so we thought...) and worked down through trees, brush and steep sand in hopes of finding remnants of an old trail Harvey had suggested would break through the Coconino.

And so we eventually found ourselves in a committing spot with only a 100-foot rappel to ground that would surely ease up and allow us to walk to the base of our objective. The problem, of course, was the nagging feeling that we were looking at something else, something other than Hayden Butte, and that returning up through the vertical Coconino Sandstone would prove terribly challenging.

And so with the slightest touch of aggravation (read: kicking myself for making the long drive so ill-prepared), Dow and I decided to call it a day and drive back to his place in St. George. The desert tortoises were out and about enjoying spring in Snow Canyon, the brush was too much here...and, well, there was the uncertainty of it all.

As it turns out, we hadn't put forth so much as effort #1 toward Hayden Butte. The whole day we'd been staring at Brady Peak, a delightfully attractive, litle peak in its own right. The wrong friggin' peak!
Brady Peak

Now that I've since scored the semi-classic Grand Canyon Summits Select by Pernell Tomasi, I shall return and do them both! Someday soon...