31 Mar 2015 - by Jim Morehouse
I drove up to the Baboquivari camp ground after completing a climb on Ajo(on the Tohono O'odham Indian Reservation) and filled out a permit to camp and hike the mountain. There is no charge for doing this, although I think there was at one time. I found the trail head marker and camped right next to it. I was the only person there after a few day use people left in the late afternoon. After a quiet night I started hiking up the trail about 6:20 a.m. and found the trail rocky and eroded in places, but otherwise in good shape. It gains an average of 1000' a mile for just over four miles, where the class 3 ramp is found leading up and to the left. I believe this is known as the Lion's Ledge. At the top of the ramp is the 100' class 4 wall. I carried 200' of 9mm rope with me for the descent, so I off loaded everything I didn't absolutely need at the bottom of the wall, put on my rock shoes, and carried the rope up to the top of the wall. As described in the DPS guide, I started on the left side and worked my way up and to the right, passing an old bolted hanger about 15' up. It was so rusted that it blended in with the rock and would be easily missed. I wouldn't trust it. There is a ledge here where one can pause and study the route continuing above. The next one was another 15' or so higher. The rusty metal rods were sticking out of the rock on the right side of the wall as advertised, and I used one of them as a hand hold over one difficult spot, but over all the rock was good and there was always a toe hold or finger hold to get me up. I dropped my rope and harness at the famous "bomb proof" tree, where a pair of new bolts, hangers, and chains were found, similar to the chained anchor at the top of Weaver's Needle. From here there was one more class 3 to 4 section of about 12' or so to climb up and around a large chock stone, and then an otherwise brushy walk up to the summit. It was fantastic. I really felt like I was at the top of the world. The mountain can be seen from nearly 100 miles in most directions, and the views from the summit are equally good. It's no wonder it's a sacred mountain to the Tohono O'odham people. I left a set of Tibetan prayer flags behind on the summit cairn. On the descent I set up my rope through the chains and dropped it off the top, but it hung on a ledge just below, so I wrapped it around my leg to act as a brake so I could use both hands to untangle it and get it straightened out. The rest of the rappel went easily and I was down in no time. The hike back down was in full sun. I think this (March 31) is the tail end of the season for comfortable temperatures on this peak. Of all the DPS peaks I've climbed so far, this one is definitely one I'd like to climb again.
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