As you all know, my fondness for off-the-beaten-path adventures
sometimes often goes awry, but in this case, I found surprisingly good skiing on Kendrick Peak, just northwest of Flagstaff, Arizona.
Kendrick Peak, elevation 10,425', is a handsome lava dome, part of the extensive San Francisco mountain volcanic field.
The views from all aspects of the mountain are stunning, with the Grand Canyon clearly visible to the north, the Painted Desert visible to the northeast, the red rocks of Sedona and Oak Creek Canyon visible to the south, and of course the wonderful San Francisco Peaks immediately due east.
It felt a little strange to turn my back on the Peaks and instead start hiking blind into the thicket of the Coconino National Forest, but what ensued absolutely qualifies as one of my favorite tours.
Yes, the approach was long.
At least four miles from Highway 180 to the base of the mountain, which made for quite a grind. But there is something irresistible about passing through perdition and finding unexpected salvation in the end.
Note that part of the approach woes here are a direct result of the City of Flagstaff's war with Phoenician snow play traffic—which makes it very hard to find legal places to park along the highway when it is snowbound.
With less snow along the highway, it should be possible to shave a full mile off that approach distance. Still, I don't get the sense that this will ever become a particularly popular ski destination, especially given the mountain's proximity to the San Francisco Peaks.
Strange small bumps! Hope you enjoy it. :)
— February 23, 2023
Andy Lewicky is the author and creator of SierraDescents
Mark Ikeda February 28, 2023 at 7:55 am
Hey Andy - Congrats on the LA Times article; "The chance of a lifetime..." Been a long time reader of this blog and appreciated your writing and film short narratives!
gregg February 28, 2023 at 10:08 am
Saw the LA Times article! Fun stuff.
Congrats on the second descent (Four of us came up Earl. There were two others just behind us that came up from Deukmejian).
Wes February 28, 2023 at 10:35 am
"Stick around, it does get better." Thanks Andy, these words really landed with me today. Appreciate you.
Brad Brown March 1, 2023 at 11:33 am
Ok, where’s the link to the Times, your being too shy? And no talk of SB mountain closures and June, dare we dream of July SoCal BC season? Dude I really liked the video, Andy riffs are entertaining as hell.
Beatdowns are a part of this SD lore and of life. I stumbled through my own from mental to cancer to our chosen
sports. And it does get better even if it doesn’t. The power of the mind to overcome is legendary though hard to have faith in whilst in the middle of the poop storm. Big days in the mountains have a similar pattern. Can’t find the trail head in the dark, fires, unsafe conditions, scary bad weather events, longer/harder days than you thought, equipment fails, nav errors when you can least afford them, ad inifinitum. And yet we love what we do, bc it gets better, though some marination may be required. The view rewards, the bragging rights reward, the pride rewards, the joy in retrospect after you heal rewards, the learning of who you are and what you got perhaps rewards most of all. No different for life’s challenges other than perhaps less choice. Enjoy the process, the journey.
Andy March 2, 2023 at 9:05 am
Gregg that's awesome -- did you get to enjoy summit views or was it already socked in?
randy March 2, 2023 at 2:16 pm
Andy...love this stuff!! Would love to get out with you sometime. The article in the LA times was great too.