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Agassiz Peak is the most striking peak that is seen from the city of Flagstaff, so it is commonly mistaken for Humphreys Peak (the highest point in Arizona). Agassiz Peak was named after Jean Louis Rodolphe Agassiz, a Zoologist from Harvard who conducted fossil studies for the interstate railroad. The interstate railroad was the key feature to Flagstaff's settlement in 1881. Agassiz Peak's terrain has a turbulent history since its designation as a Wilderness Area. Conservation groups have fought vigorously against the development of Snowbowl Ski Area, the use of recycled water to support the snow pack on the mountain, and developing hiking trails that would endanger the San Francisco Peaks Groundsel, a dwarf alpine species of the sunflower family that is found solely on the flanks of Agassiz Peak. All of these conservation issues were lost, except for the Groundsel issue which was won in 1985. Since 1985, Agassiz Peak has been restricted to hiking to protect the Groundsel. Hiking is still legal during the winter, as long as snow covers the fragile tundra of the mountain. Agassiz Peak can be climbed by three main ridges—all are 1st and 2nd class routes. Because of its unique, dominating height over the region, Agassiz Peak, and the surrounding mountains, regularly experience strong winter winds and violent summer thunderstorms. Most mountainous terrain in the world experiences similar weather, but Agassiz Peak can catch people off guard because of its gentle, non-threatening surroundings.
Summit Humphreys/Agassiz Snow Climb 03/21/2005
Agassiz Peak, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona
Humphreys Peak, San Francisco Peaks, Arizona
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