Montezumas Head, Coyote Peak

Dec 1990

By: Fred Camphausen



In the morning I took lineman's pliers to trim the troublesome mesquite, and then drove south from Twelvemile Spring to check out the very rough road up the canyon south of Nopah. I published this route in 1979 and led a DPS climb in 1980, which cuts the usual long climb down to only 2-1/2 miles and 3000 feet of gain. Access is from the small Chicago Valley settlement (Tecopa 15' quad) with 4WD needed on the road up the fan. Later I hiked from the pass to Chicago Valley along the limestone ridge of the southern Resting Spring Range until the summit of VABM 3269, taking 1-1/2hours.

This past Christmas (1990) J Holshuh, Sue Leverton, Anna , and I wanted to climb Montezuma's Head, a 5.1. or 5.2 rock climb. Along with it we were going to climb (hike) Coyote Peak recommended by Gordon MccLeod, and Barbara Lilley. The first is located adjacent to Ajo, ant the second is just east of Kit Peak, near Tucson.

We followed Ron Jones description written in Sage #164. They are good. We hiked the four miles across the lush Sonoran desert, and ascended to the saddle. We continued up the ramp to the chimney, and started to climb up. This seemed much harder than I remembered doing it the last time. It was not exactly a chimney, more like a face with a right angle wall, and with a lot of loose rocks. In fact one large rock came loose and almost hit Anna on the head. Anna was willing to do this climb with us, and she got about thirty feet up; but due to the rock, no place to put protection, and the fact that I did not know where I was going, I asked her to stay below. She had to down-climb a fairly dicey section, which she did quite well. J, Sue and I continued by moving over on the rib and finally got to where things looked more familiar. We got to the "shoulder" and then everything came back to me and we ascended to the summit without any problems. We did not use any belays. When we got to the top we saw two F16s coming at the mountain, slightly below the summit. Then, as if he saw us, he pulled up, and screamed few feet over our heads. It was quite exciting! Another note, Anna and Sue saw two Bighorn sheep on the way up, and we saw many fresh droppings along the way.

On our way down, we down-climbed the hardest part without belay, then set up a rappel on a bolt for the rest of the way to the "shoulder". From then on we found the easy way down without any difficulty. We thought about taking Anna up, but it was getting late so we started back.

This evening we drove to the roadhead for Coyote, as Gordon and Barbara described. We took Highway 86 east to Coleman Road, which is just past Kit Peak turnoff, then tried to find the road going right, to the parking place. It was dark, and had started to rain, so we just found a suitable place to camp and waited till morning. The mileage that Gordon gave me was half a mile off, we finally found the place, after driving up all the roads. The name of the road is Dill, marked on the fence, and it is two miles from Hwy 86. The whole area was storming and the mountain was in fog, so we bagged it, and drove to Phoenix via Tucson.

In Phoenix, we visited Scotsdale and The Heard Museum. Museum hours: Mon-Sat, 10-5; Sun, noon-5. Great exhibits of indian artifacts, etc. Cost: $3.00. We also visited Casa Grande Nat'l Monument, not in Phoenix, but towards Tucson. It was interesting and worth stopping.

Coyote Peak next time!

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