By: Ted Brasket
On February 27, Jeanette and I stopped by Kofa Mountains on the way back to Prescott, Arizona. We had ropes, runners, webbing, etc. so we did the "Rusty Bailey" route on a cold, windy day with no sunshine at the head of Palm Canyon. To me, the crux move was at the first fixed piton on the second pitch. It was pretty much a smear with finger-tip handholds. With cold, numb hands, it seemed more difficult than it really was. There's great fixed protection with four pitons, one in a shallow cave where Jeanette anchored to belay my lead, and a very good two-bolt, two-plate setup on top to belay and rap off of. It had two-ply of webbing and I added another. We did this in hiking boots.
The gear we used was one 100 foot 11mm rope and one 85 foot 8.5mm rope. That was enough to rap back down to the cave, then the 11 mm on down to the canyon bottom. We took three short runners to clip into fixed protection and extra webbing. No "sticky shoes." No need for nuts or friends.
This route is safer than the one we did in 1994. The route is several hundred feet down the canyon and is described in the Adventuring in Arizona book. There's a 5.6 unprotected wall and you traverse up and right. Belaying from where you top out would give your partner an exciting swing if he or she came unglued. There was no register the last two times we were here, but this time we signed Larry Tidball's register recently placed on the summit.
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