Trip Report
Taking The Chise
Monday February 26, 2018 9:10pm
A first time trip to Cochise Stronghold

Sun sets on the Westside of Cochise Stronghold
Sun sets on the Westside of Cochise Stronghold
Credit: Ed Hartouni

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

view along the Westside of Cochise Stronghold
view along the Westside of Cochise Stronghold
Credit: Ed Hartouni

our encampment was a relatively short walk from the Sheepshead area.

Sheepshead area
Sheepshead area
Credit: Ed Hartouni

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.

Linda at the crux of Hear the Sirens, 5.8
Linda at the crux of Hear the Sirens, 5.8
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Ingrid joins us for some climbing to celebrate a significant birthday, our camp is a little large, the weather is too...

base camp
base camp
Credit: Ed Hartouni

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.

Bela leading Rabbit's Feet, 5.8
Bela leading Rabbit's Feet, 5.8
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Linda at the crux of Rabbit's Feet, 5.8
Linda at the crux of Rabbit's Feet, 5.8
Credit: Ed Hartouni

many more crags, and climbs in this area

the area around Trad Wall
the area around Trad Wall
Credit: Ed Hartouni

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...

Arch above Road's End
Arch above Road's End
Credit: Ed Hartouni

cactus in the snow
cactus in the snow
Credit: Ed Hartouni

and a seemingly infinite set of climbing possibilities.

Credit: Ed Hartouni

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.

Petroglyphs at Council Rocks
Petroglyphs at Council Rocks
Credit: Ed Hartouni

We found ourselves alone in camp appreciating the silence of place.

Credit: Ed Hartouni

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

Pitch 3 of Ewephoria, 5.8
Pitch 3 of Ewephoria, 5.8
Credit: Ed Hartouni

and Bela launching out on the incredible plates on the fourth pitch.

Bela starts pitch 4 of Ewephoria
Bela starts pitch 4 of Ewephoria
Credit: Ed Hartouni

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.

start of pitch 1 of Mystery of the Desert, 5.9
start of pitch 1 of Mystery of the Desert, 5.9
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Linda takes us through the overhang on the second pitch to the slot and Bela gets the money pitch four (Linda graciously swapped leads).

Bela surmounts the crux of pitch 4 on Mystery of the Desert
Bela surmounts the crux of pitch 4 on Mystery of the Desert
Credit: Ed Hartouni

Then back down to camp to brace for a cold (26F) 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.

Credit: Ed Hartouni

Credit: Ed Hartouni

Credit: Ed Hartouni

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!

  Trip Report Views: 1,879
Ed Hartouni
About the Author
Ed Hartouni is a trad climber from Livermore, CA.

Comments
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Mungeclimber

Trad climber
Nothing creative to say
  Feb 26, 2018 - 09:18pm PT
Thx Ed! Glad to see you all had a good time!

We didn't a chance to visit Chise on the way back from our New Mexico trip. Need to go back now!

cheers,
Munge
neebee

Social climber
calif/texas
  Feb 26, 2018 - 09:59pm PT
hey there say, ed... wonderful share...

thank you very much!!!

nice to see all this pics!!!
Steve Grossman

Trad climber
Seattle, WA
  Feb 26, 2018 - 10:39pm PT
Lots of fun to be had in them parts.
If you get to the east side make sure to check out the Amerind Foundation on a rest day. Really fantastic historical native American anthropoligical exhibits out in the middle of nowhere.
I hope that you enjoyed some great Mexican food in Tucson.
The last couple of times that I went climbing in the Stronghold I simply bought a bunch of great food to go and took it camping.
Jon Beck

Trad climber
Oceanside
  Feb 26, 2018 - 10:17pm PT
Fun stuff, bad luck on the weather. A bit of a drive but super quality.
mcreel

climber
Barcelona
  Feb 26, 2018 - 11:12pm PT
Thanks, looks like some good climbing.
Jaybro

Social climber
Wolf City, Wyoming
  Feb 27, 2018 - 01:35am PT
Very nice! After half a dozen or so trips to the east side, I've yet to go the west side,will have to amend that!
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
  Feb 27, 2018 - 03:01am PT
Nice report Ed....thanks! Love the place, go there every year. Are you coming to the Creek this Spring?
Nick Danger

Ice climber
Arvada, CO
  Feb 27, 2018 - 06:23am PT
Ed, That looks like a righteous way to spend a week in the desert. It has always amazed me how cold one can get in the desert, but I have always treasured any time spent in the desert.

Also, nice climbs, thanks for sharing this little adventure with us.
ontheedgeandscaredtodeath

Social climber
Wilds of New Mexico
  Feb 27, 2018 - 07:46am PT
Thanks for the TR and I'm glad you enjoyed your trip! So much great climbing there.
7SacredPools

Trad climber
Ontario, Canada
  Feb 27, 2018 - 06:53pm PT
Thank you for that post Ed.
The place looks amazing, maybe I'll get there one day!
GarryR
moosedrool

climber
Andrzej Citkowicz far away from Poland
  Feb 27, 2018 - 07:25pm PT
Nice list of climbs!

TFPU

Moose

mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Feb 27, 2018 - 07:47pm PT
That's the way to get after it, Ed.
Nice report and pix.

"When you're hot you're hot.
When it's cold you're cold,"
sounds especially true
at Cochise Stronghold.
--ChiseLover
BrassNuts

Trad climber
Save your a_s, reach for the brass...
  Feb 27, 2018 - 07:53pm PT
Great place, glad you finally got out there :-) Wishing you warmer weather on your next trip there.
Fritz

Social climber
Choss Creek, ID
  Feb 27, 2018 - 08:09pm PT
Ed! Thanks for taking the time to share your fine photos & report.

Heidi & I were in the area, but just hiking before the weather went to hell, about Feb. 11th. It was calm winds & temps in the high 70's every day earlier by afternoon. Perhaps just a little warm for climbing on those wonderful west-facing spires?

Fritz at about 75 f. on Feb 9th, hiking in Chiricahua National Monument, one range east of Cochise Stonghold.

Credit: Fritz
SC seagoat

Trad climber
Santa Cruz, Moab, Bozeman, the ocean, or ?
  Feb 27, 2018 - 09:32pm PT
My favorite, funnest group of people.

You folks got a lot accomplished and it looks like some beautiful camping.


Hope to see you all back around this neck of the woods, er desert soon!

Susan

micronut

Trad climber
Fresno/Clovis, ca
  Feb 27, 2018 - 09:49pm PT
Way cool. Looks like a fantastic, low commitment time on great rock. Thanks for the report. Appreciate your effort in putting it together. Looking forward to more!

Stay stoked!


Scott
Ezra Ellis

Trad climber
North wet, and Da souf
  Feb 28, 2018 - 03:16pm PT
I love that place,
Thanks Ed.
NutAgain!

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
  Feb 28, 2018 - 04:48pm PT
Thanks for the share- and thanks Fritz for that cool looking place too! So damn many good and varied places to soak up just in the western USA.
Timid TopRope

Social climber
the land of Pale Ale
  Feb 28, 2018 - 05:06pm PT
Great write up of a great if chilly week. Nice photos. Thanks for the share.
phylp

Trad climber
Upland, CA
  Feb 28, 2018 - 05:42pm PT
Nice, Ed! Its always such a great adventure to go to a place for the first time.
H

Mountain climber
there and back again
  Feb 28, 2018 - 10:34pm PT
Nice report Ed. When I was there 2 years ago I was surprised that a lot of people I knew hadn't been there yet. Thanks to Jefe for showing me around.
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