We departed Flagstaff at 5 AM, heading for the Grand Canyon, which was blanketed in snow. Initially planning for multiple summits, we adapted our plans due to the closure of the Desert View Road and focused on Whites Butte, accessible off the Boucher Trail.
Despite packing microspikes, anticipating icy conditions, we were pleasantly surprised. Being the first to tread the fresh snow meant no ice, making our journey smoother than expected. The Boucher Trail, as always, offered breathtaking views of the canyon and the river below.
A notable change was the rock fall scramble, which was in much better condition compared to my last visit in March. It seems someone had recently cleared a more defined route, easing our ascent.
We reached the summit of Whites Butte around 11 AM. The summit was straightforward with multiple marked routes. We opted for a more thrilling approach, scrambling up the front faces. The views from the top were extraordinary, offering a panoramic view of the canyon and teasing us with glimpses of other summits we've yet to do.
Our return journey was just as remarkable, characterized by easy trails and stunning vistas. Our solitude was broken only once, by a solitary hiker at the Hermit junction.
Easy summit. Awesome January day.