Forum Index > Trip Reports > 12 peaks in 7 days (AZ Ranges list finish) - March 2024
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Gimpilator
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Joined: 12 Oct 2006
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Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
infinity/21M
PostFri Mar 22, 2024 6:01 pm 
In January, 5 years ago, Matt and I made the first known exploration of Kelbaholt after about 50 years had passed since the first ascent party. Iíd like to say we made the summit that day, but a goofy thing happened. Both our phones switched to AZ time and spooked us into descending, because we thought we might be caught high on the peak, after sunset. We were not far below the summit when we turned around and the main difficulties were over, but we didnít know that at the time. We built a number of cairns as we were descending so as to return as soon as possible. Since that day, it seems everyone and their uncle has done Kelbaholt. The first party there after us even commented on our cairns, with the idea that they might be from the 1970ís party. Nope, that was us. 3-5-24 Kelbaholt Peak Ė 3688' Last year we got into position, only to notice a bad forecast for the following day, with very strong wind. But today! We were finally back, and ready to finish what we started. We followed the same route as the first time. Near the top we crossed the final slopes to reach the upper ridge crest. I was expecting some class 4 here somewhere, based on another recent report, but it was only class 3 the way we went.
northern Turtles
northern Turtles
Kelbaholt
Kelbaholt
vertical terrain
vertical terrain
summit ridge
summit ridge
5 years later...
5 years later...
South Kelbaholt Peak Ė 3609' The USGS marked the main peak and a distant south peak with the same elevation (1124 meters). I brought my new sight level to try to settle this matter. Looking at the south peak from Kelbaholt summit, the hand level showed it to be lower, at least 20 feet. But to be certain, we would have to take the reverse reading as well, so we headed over there. It was necessary to drop almost all the way to the bottom before heading up the main gully system. From that south summit, Kelbaholt was clearly higher. No competition. Furthermore, my GPS track indicated a difference of about 100 feet.
Chalcedony (we did last year)
Chalcedony (we did last year)
Kelbaholt seen from the south peak
Kelbaholt seen from the south peak
Carsons Benchmark
Carsons Benchmark
3-6 Gavilan Peak Ė 1602' This was my first time in the Indian Pass Wilderness. Stav said this was a nice peak, so we hd to check it out. Matt was impressed to find about 20 different species of flowers in a small patch of ground, next to our camp. We followed the main wash over to the peak and then went up a ramp to the north ridge crest. Pretty good rock and just a touch of class 4.
Gavilan
Gavilan
ramp
ramp
gaining the ridge
gaining the ridge
summit over there
summit over there
class 4 bit
class 4 bit
Peak 1560 Since these are small peaks in this area, and it was still early morning, we went for a nearby bonus peak. No signs of previous ascents. A lonely sheep was running around the summit area, calling for the other sheep in itís herd. It came close to us and seemed as though it had never seen humans before.
sheep
sheep
summit
summit
Picacho Peak Wilderness High Point Ė 1430' Sort of a volcanic-boulders lump of a peak, but nice views.
Gavilan
Gavilan
Peak 1500
Peak 1500
3-7 North Ajo Peak (Attempt) - 2776' Unfortunately, the best thing about this peak is itís appearance. Thereís plenty of loose downsloping rock and untrustworthy holds. I turned around on the loose class 4 crux, when Matt reported a 2nd crux which he said was definitely 5th class, with death exposure. I regretted leaving the rope in the car, because I would have at least finished it that way. Matt got the summit and was a bit shaken upon return.
North Ajo
North Ajo
too bad it's loose  :(
too bad it's loose frown.gif
South Ajo Peak
South Ajo Peak
first crux, I went half way, but too loose for me
first crux, I went half way, but too loose for me
3-8 Squaw Tits (renamed Isanaklesh) Ė 2478' A sign on the approach road warns of smuggler activity in the area. We definitely saw some of that. Matt was incredulous because it was his first time observing such things. It rained hard the evening before our hike. The lupine in the area is dominating the flower show, more than one species.
heavy rain coming
heavy rain coming
The volcanic ledges turned out to be trivial. Thereís exposure, but the ledges are wide and you can walk most of the way with scrambling only required in one spot. The military thought it would be cute to use helicopters to deposit 50 gallon drums painted pink on both summits. The pink has long faded away and what remains is clear evidence of the lack of respect for land, and blatant misogynist, juvenile humor.
first ledge
first ledge
3-9 Eagletail Peak Ė 3300' My good friend Matthias was to be finishing an important list on this day, the 199 Arizona Range High Points. His last peak is the hardest on the list, Eagletail (a pitch of 5.8). I thought it would be fun to meet him at the trailhead and say congratulations. Matt and I had plans to climb a few peaks nearby anyhow. He showed up in the morning with Aaron. Aaron would be guiding the climb and to our surprise he said we should join them. Matt and I scrambled to quickly repack our packs for a much longer day and I carried my new rope since it was lighter than Aaronís.
Eagletail, the left spire is the summit
Eagletail, the left spire is the summit
Aaron made the 5.8 pitch look pretty easy, but of course heís done it a number of times before. Matthias is a decent climber, but he made that pitch look a bit hard. I was next up after him, and I struggled just as much, in the two overhanging crux sections. Exhausting! Out of the 4 of us, Matt was the only one who didnít pull on any gear. So, 75% of the group aided the 1st crux. It is what it is. I donít feel bad whatsoever. We climbed Eagletail, and Matthias finished a long multi-year project. His second big list finish. I was doubly honored to attend both.
Matthias at the first crux
Matthias at the first crux
Matthias at the second crux
Matthias at the second crux
Matthias 199/199 list finish!
Matthias 199/199 list finish!
Matt coming up
Matt coming up
3-10 Peak 2320 Matt and I resorted to our original plan for the previous day. This was a peak which Stav had puzzled out recently with his superstar crew. In retrospect, I find it extremely likely that they made the first ascent and this would be a 2nd. Based on beta Stav texted me, we circled around the north side and ascended a steep gully. Near the top, this gully was subdivided by some vertical fins. I knew to be looking a for a chock stone in this area to indicate the right little gully.
Peak 2320
Peak 2320
north gully
north gully
Beyond the sketchy chock stone moves, we followed ledges around to another gully on the southwest side. This led up to the base of a technical but easy rib, the only option to go higher. Matt led this and belayed me up.
technical rib
technical rib
We then followed along a split in the mountain, with several ups and downs, finally turning an exposed corner to reach a large bowl right below the summit. A little more class 3 and then we were on top. What an amazingly intricate route! This a very very unique peak and I didnít know whether to be more amazed with the route, or the fact that Stavís party was able to suss it out. I left a register and we built a cairn house for it.
following the split
following the split
large bowl and summit
large bowl and summit
2nd ascent!
2nd ascent!
Eagletail
Eagletail
split
split
We made two rappels. The first was off a couple saguaros. Matt didnít want to rappel off cactus. Heís a biologist and told me cactus donít have good roots, but I told him yeah-yeah Iíll go first and it will be fine. During the 2nd rappel Matt got tangled up pretty bad in some catclaw and he was picking thorns out for days after that.
saguaro rappel
saguaro rappel
catclaw rappel
catclaw rappel
Peak 2681 I went to solo a nearby peak on the way back to the car.
Eagletail
Eagletail
Double Eagle Benchmark Ė 2293' Greg had been texting me on this day after doing Planet Peak. He was going to be passing by the area with Sarah, so I told him to stop in for a bonus peak. They came with just enough time before dark, so we rushed up there.
3-11 Horn Peak Ė 2223' On Mattís last day it was going to be super-hot, so we picked a little peak for the morning. I carried the same 60 meter again. The west ridge of Horn is mostly solid rock, pretty good stuff, and there are two vertical steps nearer the top. The first can be avoided on the left side, with a class 4 chute. The second step is low 5th only briefly, but a few holds are coming off in this section. Matt belayed me for the second step. The 60 meter was more than adequate to rappel past both cruxes.
Matt on rappel
Matt on rappel
Thanks for a great trip Matt! And big congratulations to Matthias!!!

Summitpost | YouTube | Peakbagger

Nancyann, Prosit, fffej50, SeanSullivan86, rubywrangler, Now I Fly, RichP, neek  awilsondc
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Now I Fly
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Now I Fly
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PostFri Mar 22, 2024 8:24 pm 
Congratulations!!!! Just amazing what you are accomplishing!!! Such a great report! Thank you so much!!!!! Can't wait to read your book!!!! smile.gif B

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belowfellow
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Joined: 22 Feb 2009
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belowfellow
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PostSat Mar 23, 2024 8:36 am 
excellent trip with a number of firsts, most notably the cactus rappel and cartel presence.

"Wilderness is bliss"

Gimpilator
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Prosit
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Prosit
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PostSat Mar 23, 2024 12:18 pm 
Gimpilator wrote:
This was my first time in the Indian Pass Wilderness.
I made my first visit there a couple days after you did. Too bad we didn't meet up. Our objectives differ some, but it would have been fun to run into you and climb something together. Next time. I didn't see any sheep there like you did, but I did see some wild burros, and heard them braying in the washes each dawn and dusk. Phacelia were blooming riotous on some interior slopes. Really beautiful.

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Gimpilator
infinity/21M



Joined: 12 Oct 2006
Posts: 1684 | TRs | Pics
Location: Edmonds, WA
Gimpilator
infinity/21M
PostSun Mar 24, 2024 4:36 pm 
Prosit wrote:
I made my first visit there a couple days after you did. Too bad we didn't meet up. Our objectives differ some...
It would have been great to meet up. Did you climb Peak 1500? I've had my eye on that for a number of years, but haven't tried it. Likely unclimbed, unless you got it. Stav's group tried it but turned back.

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Prosit
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Prosit
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PostMon Mar 25, 2024 7:18 pm 
Gimpilator wrote:
Did you climb Peak 1500? I've had my eye on that for a number of years, but haven't tried it.
I didn't climb it, but it's a nice looking spire. Good luck!

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