Trip ReportTaking The Chise
A first time trip to Cochise Stronghold
This dramatic sunset represents the general state of the weather last week at Cochise Stronghold, unsettled, rainy, mixed cloud cover, cold wind. Not quite what I had imagined.
But even with the hopes of warmth and dryness dashed, the place delivered on climbing goodness.
Our overly ambitious plan rested on the weather, we'd go into the Westside, climb for a few days, then take a rest day to move over to the Eastside, climb a few days, and return. In the end two days of weather had us staying on the Westside, and stationed below Sheepshead. But there is more than enough excellent climbing to do
our encampment was a relatively short walk from the Sheepshead area.
Having driven in from the Bay Area, picked up supplies in Benson, and setup camp, we still had time for a some climbing on the "Call of the Sirens Wall" each of us, Bela, Linda and I leading the 5.8 Hear the Sirens and from those anchors top-roped the 5.11- Thelxiepeia.
Ingrid joins us for some climbing to celebrate a significant birthday, our camp is a little large, the weather is too...
But we journey out to "Trad Wall" to play on the moderates there. Eventually we would have done Baby Jr. 5.8, Rabbits Feet 5.8-, OK Corral 5.8, Now It's My Turn 5.10 and Stone Woman 5.10- all "single pitch" bolted climbs.
many more crags, and climbs in this area
Monday turned out to be a rest day taken in Tombstone and Tuesday a weather day we used to go out to "Roads End" to check out the crags there.
Hiking up to the arch we were met with snow...
and a seemingly infinite set of climbing possibilities.
On the drive back we stopped at Council Rocks and viewed the petroglyphs, making a connection to those incredible people who figured out how to live in the pre-Colombian vastness of North America.
We found ourselves alone in camp appreciating the silence of place.
Wednesday finds us on Ewephoria 5.8 a wonderful 5 pitch climb on Sheepshead as two teams of two.
Here is Ingrid following Bela on the amazing 3rd pitch
and Bela launching out on the incredible plates on the fourth pitch.
A strenuous push on the original finish and we find ourselves heading for camp quite satisfied. We say our goodbyes to Ingrid and plot the next day's climb on a formation adjacent to Sheepshead, Muttonhead, the climb Mystery of the Desert.
Another cold and windy morning has us at the start around noon-thirty, Bela starts on the bolted route to the right avoiding the original sketchy start.
Linda takes us through the overhang on the second pitch to the slot and Bela gets the money pitch four (Linda graciously swapped leads).
Then back down to camp to brace for a cold (26ºF) night.
The forecast called for a cold day and breezy, and that prospect was just too much to go back up and try to overcome the shivers for yet another long route. We opted to go to "Naiches' Nest" which turned out to be a perfect wind break and sunny for a short day of short routes. Naiche's Bow 5.8, Kaeli's Clean Start 5.8, Cochise Was A Smooth Dude 5.11, The Rest of the Story 5.10 and Borland's Story Line 5.8.
That night the cold wind was blowing and we improvised a dinner in the van and retired to our snug tents. Greeted with frozen water in the morning, our time to leave had finally come.
I regret not visiting earlier, Gabel always sang the praises of the place, but Cochise Stronghold has many many climbs and our short visit only opened up the possibilities.
Thanks to Bela and Linda for conspiring to make this trip, and to Ingrid for her indomitable spirit!
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