I must admit, with all the news swirling about the virus and economy, it was nice to escape the end of a tough winter and enjoy near perfect conditions in the exciting granite mountains of SW Arizona!
However, the climbing there is very old school, by which I mean spicy, thin feet, tad run-out, earn your pro, etc. Fortunately I have tons of experience with such treachery, yet it is still very engaging for me though. Much is at stake with the lower angle potential falls, great care is taken. I was intimidated immediately with our ambitious introductory route, but hey, first climb of the “rock season”, why not go for Absinthe of Mallet!?? Well, it is quite an onsite, let me say. I had to grab on a bolt to relieve the strain on a “5.9+” pitch. I thought Index was sandbags, but this is next level, and lower angle to boot. You never know what culture you will step into! Most of the climbing was quite reasonable, but intimidating still at times. Very nice to camp out there too.
Day 2: We backed off of the intensity and did a very fun 5.9 6p called Mystery of the Desert.
Day 3, Pick up Jenn at the airport and fit in an afternoon blast up The Wasteland, an amazing 5.8 on the East side. All I can say is wow, and don’t try it with a party of 3 unless they are bad-asses like my partners are! Rope drag with 2 ropes is not fun. Traverses are exposed, and committing, yet this route is a gem for the grade.
Day 4: rain led us to the Arizona/Sonora Desert Museum! ( and a much needed rest day for me…)
Day 5 Mt Lemmon, Chimney Rock had the perfect testy trad routes and great access , and got Jenn back to her afternoon flight, no problem.
Day 6 Lane and I sample the insane sport routes of the Backhand crags. What an incredible week ! Now back to the strange life of social distancing? I will bolt to Utah soon, nothing better to do right now..
Good luck everyone and thanks for being a medium of communication, even if it is one way.