Baboquivari Peak, Kino Peak, Superstition Mountains, Weavers Needle
26-Nov-92 (Private trip)
By: Mark Adrian
KINO PEAK - Guide 8.7 DRIVE/CUMB ROUTE A:
Our group, of six, met Wednesday evening and we camped at the cattle guard just outside the Organ Pipe National Monument boundary. The 12.3 miles of dirt road to this point is still in excellent condition. Thursday morning, we drove 4.0 miles on poor dirt to Bates Well/Route A. Since Bates Well is a fee area, I mailed a check to obtain a permit in order to avoid driving down to Organ Pipe HQ. Write ahead to:
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument
Route 1, Box 100
Ajo, Arizona 85321
Attn : Fee Supervisor
Explain your schedule/itinerary and intention(s). Make your check payable to the National Park Service. For more information, call OPCNM/ORPI at 1-602-387-6849. I paid $3.00 per vehicle. FYI : We noticed that the 2ND edition DPS Guide Book labels the Bates Well Trailhead as Route B.
We were off by 8:30 A.M. in good weather, and in several hours we arrived at the broad saddle at 1800'. From this vantage point, Kino's sheer E face and imposing N face seem insurmountable. From the saddle, the prominent pinnacle at 308 degrees is clearly visible. Once beyond this landmark and back on the ridge line, the route begins to become vague. It was at this point, our route finding skills were challenged. The Guide directs you to "continue to a point just below the cliffs on the skyline ridge'. There was much deliberation amongst our group as to just HOW FAR 'JUST below the cliffs' the intended route was. After much scouting, both too high and too low "JUST below the cliffs on the skyline ridge', we FINALLY found the crux duck where you 'turn left' (S), traversing under the base of the cliffs on steep, loose ground'. I estimate that the (crux) 'turn left' is about 150 feet vertically "below the (top of the) cliffs on the skyline ridge". From this point, the route is well ducked and goes remarkably easy, even with several pitches of easy C13, to the 'U' notch between Kino and its lower northern neighbor. From the notch, per the Guide, the route "snakes its way up' the seemingly impossible N face where the summit is easily-gained. The canister and register are in good condition. The return route went well, and we arrived at the trucks near sunset, enjoying the late-afternoon-hazy-orange-sun as it silhouetted the Organ Pipe Forest. After a quick snack and change of clothes, we departed for the cabin at Baboquivari Campground. Summiteers : Bob Pinsker, Russell Glavis, Suzanne Booker, Terry Flood, Gerhardt Japp, and Mark Adrian (author)
Arriving an hour or so later in Sells, AZ. we had to locate the Baboquivari Park Ranger's house in the dark (an adventure unto itself) where we picked up our group permit - $20 for the four vehicles. After another half-hour of driving, we were at the Baboquivari cabin. The 12.2 mile dirt road is good for the first 10 or 11 miles, but it seems to have gotten a little worse (more rocky) the last mile or so since I was there last year - still, though, not too bed. We were welcomed at the cabin by Fred Bright, our technical leader, and another group from San Diego, led by Richard Hughes, who had done the peak that day. After dinner and lots of tale swapping, we finally got to bed around midnight.
11/27/92 - BABOQUIVARI PEAK - Guide 8.9 :Presuming you obtain your permit at the Baboquivari District Office, the drive in, per the Guide's 8.9 road map, goes well. However, we had a slight detour, since we had to locate the Ranger's house Thanksgiving evening, where we picked up our permit.
We were up before dawn, and departed the cabin at twilight. Crossing the campground to the trailhead, we met Bill Oliver's group, who were just getting started as well. Since our group arrived at the 80' fourth class wall first (near 10:00 A.M,), our technical leader, Fred Bright, skillfully led the pitch while on belay from Terry Flood. As usual, it was cold at the bottom of the pitch, even though the weather was sunny and clear. Our group ascended the pitch in good order and unanimously agreed how COLD the rock was - it felt like ice! It's interesting to note that in Annerino's Adventurino in Arizona book (Page 105), he describes the crux move on this pitch as an'...unprotected, lichen-covered 5.6 move to the first old stairway anchor". You may find this rating subjective, as we did. Fred belayed up a climber from Bill's group and then our group continued on up the peak. We were disappointed to see that the old glass bottle register had broken and the contents blown away. I guess this is more befitting than having the register buried in some library's basement. Using a zip-lock bag and some scratch paper, we made a new register - a better one should replace this. We lounged at the sky-island summit, enjoying the warm, almost summer-like sun, and incredible views, until Bill's group arrived, at which point, we departed and left the summit to them. Back at the "wall", Terry Flood was our first rappeler, and helped steady the ropes while the remainder of our group followed in turn. While we were packing our ropes etc., for the return hike, numerous day hikers hovered around the base of the pitch, some of which were attempting alternate routes, seemingly unconcerned about any dangers. Back at the cabin near 4:00 P.M., we regrouped and finally departed about 5:00 for the Weavers Needle Trailhead. Summiteers : Fred Bright (leader), Terry Flood (co-leader), Suzanne Booker, Russell Glavis, Gerhardt Japp, Bob Pinsker, and Mark Adrian
After a short stop at Bashas in Sells, we took AZ 19, AZ 86, then AZ 15 (all good roads) to Casa Grande for dinner. From there, 110 to the newly-completed AZ 360 (Superstition Freeway) all the way to Apache Jet., where it gracefully merges with AZ 89, and finally, to the well-signed Peralta Road. We camped 100' from the trailhead's parking lot in a small, but sufficiently sized, parking niche on the S side of the road. Several campers found a convenient concrete slab nearby to sleep on. After setting up for the night, Terry and I scouted nearby camping areas, looking for Dave Jurasevich and Les Hill, our technical leaders. Dave's landmark "red Toyota Truck" was no where to be found; I had also failed to rendezvous with Dave on our HAM radios (most likely because we arrived later than planned). However, we did find Bill's group, and they agreed/suggested we head out first in the morning for the Route A climb.
The next morning, about 5:30 A.M., we were relieved to be awakened by Dave and Les, who had driven out (incognito) in Dave's Toyota sedan, the day before. Within an hour, our group was ready to go.
11/28/92 - WEAVERS NEEDLE - Guide 8.4/CLIMB/ROUTE A:In great weather, the approach hike went well, except for a short, sandy wash a couple of miles in on the Bluff Springs Trail, where it fades, but then picks up again, about 200' upstream. There was also some deliberation about where to leave the Terrapin Trail near Bluff Saddle. The peak is more than obvious from this area, so plus-or-minus a "bump" after leaving the Terrapin Trail won't stop you from bagging the summit. In our case, we were "plus a bump" insignificant, in my opinion, compared to what lie ahead. Continuing up steep and brushy 2nd class terrain, we reached the base of the first pitch on the sun baked E face of Weavers Needle about 10:00 A.M. where we donned our climbing harnesses. Here's where the "fun" began as we watched rock-madman (and all around good guy), Lester Hill, free climb the first, and crux, pitch. Next, expediters Fred and Terry, were belayed up (thanks Les), then they went on to setup belays for the next two C14 pitches. As the last of our group ascended the first pitch, Bill's group arrived, and, as on Babe, we belayed up the leader of their party. The next two, belayed (thanks Fred), short, and awkward C14 pitches went without incident to the V-notch. After the next (fourth), short, belayed (thanks Terry) C13/4 pitch, we regrouped, and followed Dave to the base of the next and final (fifth), exposed C13/4 pitch. Once again, leader Les (Rock Doctor) Hill, free climbed this obstacle and belayed (thanks Les) us up to the summit's C12 slope. Exhilarated at the top, we were once again disappointed by a missing (ammo-can) register, which Dave searched for adamantly. Nevertheless, we had great views, good weather, and enjoyed a well-deserved rest until Bill's group reached the summit. Disrupting our solitude at the top, a helicopter buzzed the area several times (sorry, no HPS dropoffs). On belay from Barbie (thanks Barbie), Les, Dave, Terry and Fred down-climbed to setup belay and rappel stations for our descent. After the final and more-fun-than-a-climber-ought-to-have "E-ticket" rappel, we left our ropes/anchors in place for Bill's group, and began the trudge back to the trailhead. In our euphoria, we somehow managed to miss the Terrapin Trail and followed a well-ducked, plausible route. Unfortunately, we were lured by the deceptive ducks and the route degraded into thick brush as it followed a bouldery creek downstream. Nevertheless, we were still in good spirits and pushed through until we rejoined the Bluff Springs Trail. I think we were somewhere W of the Bluff Springs Trail, maybe in Barks Canyon, or on the trail into/out of Geronimo Cave. We arrived back at the trailhead about 6:00 P.M., 11.5 hours after our departure. A BIG thanks for the cooperative leadership and technical skills of Les Hill, Dave Jurasevich, Terry Flood, and Fred Bright, without which, the rest of us could not have bagged the peak. Other summiteers : Suzanne Booker, Russell Glavis, Bob Pinsker, Gerhardt Japp and Mark Adrian
That night, Les and Dave drove back to L.A., Fred headed back towards San Diego, and the rest of us stayed at the same campsite. About an hour after our return, Bill's group came strolling in, dropping off our ropes, and mentioning they followed the same return route we had. The following morning, we drove a short 13 miles over to Superstition's Route A trailhead.
11/29/92 - SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN - Guide 8.3 DRIVE/CLIMB/ROUTE A :The somewhat complicated drive in goes well since it is mostly through a rural residential area. There are numerous, new-looking, housing developments and a golf course along the drive in, and a realtor's FOR SALE sign near the trailhead. This somewhat detracts from the typical remote desert "atmosphere" accustom to most DPS peaks. The hike in to Hieroglyphic Canyon is easy and the Indian petroglyph site is impressive. The real work begins here when you start up and hike the ridge. Someone has been "kind" enough to paint white spots on big rocks along this route. Occasionally, the "artist" was creative and made arrows instead of dots. The only obstacle en route is a short, yet, challenging, pitch of C13, shortly before the summit. Once this is overcome, the summit is near and is best approached from its SSW side. I took a more WNW route which was an annoying mixture of brush and low C13 boulders. The weather was still in good shape, as was the canister and full register. To the E we had great views of Weavers Needle's W face; to the W, the expansive development as a result of the Superstition Freeway corridor; and way W, the skyscrapers of downtown Phoenix. After a short stay at the summit, it was back to the trucks, where we encountered numerous day hikers and horses coming into the petroglyph site. While everyone else bulleted back to San Diego, Bob and I camped W of Gila Bend, near Sentinel on 18, savoring one more night in the desert. Summiteers : Terry Flood, Suzanne Booker, Russell Glavis, Bob Pinsker, and Mark Adrian
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