Topic Author's Original Post - Jan 22, 2013 - 04:59pm PT
I'm heading to the US from the UK in March with my girlfriend and (through hard-nosed and lengthy negotiation) have agreed a few climbing days here and there during the trip. I'd really like to get in to Cochise Stonghold to get on some of the routes there like What's My Line, Moby Dick and Isle of You etc. BUT we'll only have a regular hire car and am a bit nervous about trashing it off-road and getting stuck. So...any tips about the state of the access trails for non 4WD vehicles and just climbing in the Strionghold in general would be really gratefully received!
My last experience there is from about 10 yrs. ago, so things may have since changed.
I'd say it's definitely not a problem for the East Stronghold, but I recall being very thankful I had a high clearance vehicle (4Runner) going all the way into the West Stronghold to access Moby Dick, etc. Granted, there's a fair bit you can get too in the West Stronghold on decent roads without driving all the way in, but the road's end might be tough.
Just curious, if you're coming to the States and have only a few days of climbing, how did you decide on what has to be one of the most out of the way places? Great place, but not close to much of anything.
but I recall being very thankful I had a high clearance vehicle (4Runner) going all the way into the West Stronghold to access Moby Dick, etc.
We were there two years ago and had no problem at all in a tiny little rental car. Some kind of cheapo thing with very little clearance. Not only was it fine all the way to the end of the road on the west side, it was fine for the crossover (can't remember the name... Middlemarch Road or something?) from West to East.
Fat Dad - my other half is big-time into tennis but suffers to be dragged up climbs that aren't too desperate on occasion. So the plan is to take in the opening weekend of Indian Wells tennis before heading off on a circular tour that should allow a few days each in Joshua Tree, Cochise Stronghold and Red Rocks - and doing some of the obligatory visitors stuff in between. Happy days!
We lost the plastic cover that sets below the engine in my old diesel benz on the West Side many years back. Of course there were four of us in it and I was driving way too fast. If you take the dips at a slower rate, you'll do just fine.
Be sure to camp on the West side (more wild feel than the East side IMO). Bring your own firewood and water. Take the GF into Tombstone one evening for a meal and drinks. Maybe she will extend your visit...
Dunno about your time frame but it's about 450 miles from Indian Wells to Cochise and almost 500 miles from Cochise to Red Rocks.
I haven't been on Moby Dick for some time, but FYI, the rappel / abseil is safe but quite exposed, free hanging and you have to squirm over the edge while holding the chains before you weight your rap (ab?) device. No biggie for a climber but if your GF is just tagging along to humor you it might be a good idea to have a plan to ease her mind about going over the edge. Wow, that's a lot of info about one rappel!!
Thanks also for the beta on the Moby Dick descent. I think SWMBO will be OK rapping off the domes - she's done a fair amount of climbing in the UK including rapping into some fairly intimidating sea cliffs with lively seas running and doesn't get easily phased.