Baboquivari Peak, Weavers Needle, Superstition Mountains
By: Dale Van Dalsem
11 bleary-eyed people signed in at 0600 on Good Friday at a clump of buildings near milepost 16, 29 miles S of Robles Junction on Ariz. 286, after a 570 mi. drive from L.A.(or 700 fr. Sta. Barbara) The Papago Tribe refused permission to go in from the west. We took the dirt road just south of the buildings west 2.7 mi, right at the fork to the fliggs Ranch, about 8 miles in from the highway. High clearance necessary for the last mile or so. We were welcomed by the Arizona Nature Conservancy's resident representative, a charming lady senior citizen volunteer, "4ohriny" Fisk, who is also a life member of the sierra Club,ed vtd~birdwątcher' We got on the trail about 0810. The trail is a well-worn use trail that follows the Forbes Route to the top, interrupted by 3 pitches of class 4. Cross Thomas Creek several times, then, as the canyon gets steep, the trail climbs the ridge on the right, then contours west toward the pe8.k, crosses upper Thomas Canyon again & heads up to the saddle immediately N.E. of the peak. From here, the Forbes Route ascends thru the notch on skyline that is visible from the saddle, curving around to the west side to join the westside route at the base of the old stairway pitch, First Pitch 25 ft. Wriggle under the big chockstone (bolt above) or come up the face on the right (2nd bolt; ideal for rappels). Thru notch several hundred feet to Second Pitch: Basically a big friction slab. Bolt about 50 ft up the steep left gully. Second bolt about 100 ft up middle of slab. Use both, in parallel. Continue up & traverse S along W. face to third Pitch: Bolt about 50 ft up. Good tree w permanent cable and ring 100 ft up. We used two ropes from tree only. Up to a lO-ft cl 3-4 stepup. Some may want a belay here. Then, into an icy gully that leads on up to the top. Bring one ice axe if you do this peak between Thanksgiving & Easter. A magnificent peak. Let's move it to California & make it an Emblem Peak.
Back to the ranch by 5:30 & highway by 6:45. Bad Luck: Owen Maloy got to dirt road at 06:40, saw our dust (we were 10 minutes ahead of him) & tried to catch up in low clearance auto. Bashed in trans pan 7 miles in. He & passenger Sue Carlson walked to hiway, got a lift 55 miles into Tucson, from Linda McDermott, bought oil, rented a car, and hired a tow truck.
After dinner in Tucson, we found the Peralta goad turnoff (Big sign) between Florence Jct & Apache Jct, went to the end and had our second 1 A.M. camp. Off at 7:30 to Bluff Saddle on Dutchman's then Needle Trails, cross-country to notch on east side of Weaver's Needle (One fat rattler, quietly coiled, almost scored). Ignored dangling manila rope and bolt 60 ft up; anchored two parallel ropes around good horns about 100 ft up, and third rope past two 9-ft steps up into notch. Then one Cl 3-4 step of 12 ft out of notch. 200 ft of Cl 2, 30 ft of Cl. 3-4 & 100 ft to summit. 16 signed in we ate lunch & encountered traffic jam with Ariz Mountaineering Club 14 strong who duffle-bagged up the 5.2 west side of the notch & spent the night on top. Last rope coiled at 5:30 & we went back to Peralta Camp in 3 groups, each of which encountered a different rattlesnake (or a very fast ones) Total snake count: 4 for the day. Stragglers were in camp about 7. We used 5 ropes on the Needle, leaving lower ones fixed, as on Babo, saving a lot of waiting & rope-handling time.
The campfire featured both Basic Bota Bag and Advanced Bota Bag Sign-offs. Neither is described in the LRB, so Dennis Lopez had to keep demonstrating. Dolores Holladay showed the best form with Bill Bradley a close second. Bob Wyka and Carless Owen tied for the purple shirt award for missing their entire faces on occasion.
On Easter morn we drove back to the highway, turned right 1.5 mi to King Ranch Road (Another "can't miss" sign). Three miles in to a crossroads, right almost a mile to the end of the road after "a 900 turn to the left" (Bill T .R. 's great Sage write-up) "The road end is near a house, and a chain or gate is across the road which becomes a driveway. The trail starts on the other side of a fence which parallels the road. There is a narrow passageway thru the fence that blocks cattle". We headed up Hieroglyphic Canyon, following a good use trail on the right that sometimes is 40 ft above the stream bed. At about 3750, take the right of two equal forks, then bypass two dry falls and some brush by taking a ledge on the left about 20 ft above the stream. Reached the saddle S of Pk 4790, ate lunch in shade, walked south to peak, going to the right of all gendarmes except the last (of course). One Cl 3 step and the summit is 2-3. 16 signed in and we went back via the much faster (for going up, too) ridge route. This well-ducked route passes by Pk 4402 and then heads almost due west into the canyon, passing thru the "yp" in Hieroglyphic Spring on the Goldfield 7.5 topo. Nearly all went for a long dip in the pool below the Indian Hieroglyphics. (It was 100° in Phoenix that days). Dennis, very er, tired, from the night before, slept most of the day. It was about 5:30 by the time all were back from the pool. Many ate in Miner's Camp in Apache Junction (good if you're really hungry) and we drove the long way home, taking ever-shortening turns at the wheel. Most arrived home about 5 AM Monday, having had 15 hours total sleep since Thursday AM. Trips with over 400 mule drive home should schedule an extra day for the drive home. Many thanks to Chuck Stein for the excellent Forbes Route description from Dean Slough at the U of A, Tucson. Thanks also to Bill Bradley, George Davis, Ted Pinson, Norm Rohn, Brian Stone and Dennis Lopez for doing all the dirty work handling belays and rappels while the leader had the fun leads, --- Dale
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