Baboquivari Bushwhack From Hell Via Thomas Canyon

December 31st, 2017
Baboquivari Southeast Arete
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Boboquivari is one of the more memorable peaks on the Sierra Club Desert Peak Section list.  It's spectacular to look at, fun yet not trivial to climb, and is also a painfully long drive from Orange County.

I've been up the Forbes route from the west twice before and I've been saying ever since that my next time up I wanted to do one of the technical routes.  This was an attempt at the Southeast Arete Route approaching from the east via Thomas Canyon.

The Southeast Arete can be done from either side I just wanted to see a different trailhead and as it worked out that this was only a short drive from Elephant Dome.

Beta on this side was somewhat mixed with some people claiming the use trail was good (it's not) and some citing challenging route finding.  It's quite possible the comments saying it's not bad are a bit outdated as we found the route to full of thorny vegetation that was almost impossible to avoid.  The more succinct comment I read about this side was a simple "Probably best approached from the reservation (west)" and I strongly agree.

Elephant's Trunk Route on Elephant Dome Mendoza Canyon Arizona

December 30th, 2017
Elephant's Trunk (5.7) on Elephant Dome  
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

Wednesday I flew back in from spending Christmas with family in Texas and after two grueling days of life in civilization I was ready to get out again.  Fortunately that following weekend was a three day work holiday thanks to New Years and after some slightly harried planning I settled on a return to the Tucson area.

A few years back Jen Blackie, Jeff Atijera, and I did a New Years trip out there that had included caving, technical climbing, and even a facial assault by a skunk.  It was awesome except for that last part and the shots Jeff had to get to his face.  Beyond that the only other bummer was that we weren't able to summit Elephant Head due to route finding issues and an extended attempt to make something marginal work so I'd always wanted to go back.

Also since it's -ish in the area I wanted to add in one of the technical routes on Baboquivari since I'd heard it was an amazing climb.  Unfortunately due to the painfully long drives involved it's difficult to combine those two effectively with limited vacation days.

In the end we settled on driving out Friday night, not getting a lot of sleep, climbing Elephant's Dome on Saturday since it should have been an easier day, doing Baboquivari from the east the following day, and then if everything went well setting up for Elephant Head Sunday followed by a long drive home.  And hopefully not getting attacked by any skunks or drug runners.

It was an aggressive plan and things started going wrong also immediately when Kristen Lindbergh had to drop out due to some issued likely related to her unfortunate habit of consuming the flesh of innocent fish leaving just Jen and I leaving Friday night.

Enchanted Rock & Turkey Peak In The Texas Hill Country

December 26th, 2017
Enchanted Rock (1,825')
Turkey Peak (1,680')
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

While a good number of my weekends are spent running amok in the outdoors Christmas is one that is always claimed by family.  And this year that meant a trip out to Texas.

I love spending time in Texas but the mountain climber in me is always a bit sad.  Other than Guadalupe Peak which is pretty much a New Mexico mountain that ended up on the wrong side of the state line the peak potential is pretty limited.

Behold a map of the 2,000+ ft prominence peaks in the US from

A bit limited.  A few years ago when I was out this drove me to aim lower and look into county high point listing.  Behold where my grandparents live in Gillespie County.

Gillespie County High Point at Peakbagger

Yep, it's so flat out there that it lists 9 points as candidates for the county high point and a few of them involving trespassing.  I'd post the Texas prominence map but as near as I can tell no one bothered to make on.  You get the idea.

After discovering all of this a few years back I basically gave up on doing any satisfying inter family visit peakbagging and settled for visited the old standby of Enchanted Rock.

Fremont Peak & Red Mountain Mojave

December 17th, 2017
Fremont Peak (4,584')
Red Mountain (5,261')
Fremont: 1.4 miles, 750'
Red: 3.9 miles, 1,800'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [MapF] [MapR]

Yesterday our group climbed nearby Dome & Klinker Mountain before doing some sightseeing at the Owl in Red Mountain.  Today the plan was to start with Fremont Peak and then run over to climb Red Mountain and then hopefully make it home at a decent hour.

Since we camped right under the peak Saturday night this writeup covers the access and camping options rather than include them with the previous day.

Dome Mountain, Klinker Mountain, Steam Well Petroglyphs, and a Visit to the Owl in Red Mountain

December 16th, 2017
Dome Mountain (4,974')
Klinker mountain (4,562')
10.4 miles, 2,400'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

This trip came about thanks to Ross Doering who has been eyeing Fremont Peak for a while now since it sticks out rather dramatically along the 395 south of Red Mountain.

He mentioned it while we were driving back from a Sierra trip this summer and I jumped at the chance to lead something new.  So a few months later here we were with Dome Mountain, Klinker Mountain, and Red Mountain thrown in to fill out the weekend.

2017 Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade Paddle

December 14th, 2017

Each year Newport Beach runs a Christmas Boat Parade for five nights in mid December.  Boats and yachts are decked in lights and decorations that vary from reasonable to full on pyrotechnic overkill and cruise around the harbor while the unwashed and slightly tipsy holiday masses watch from the shore or docked boats.

In 2014 Jen Blackie, Kristen Lindbergh, and I had bought our kayaks and started paddling around the harbor regularly after work.  When Christmas came around we decided to head out and join the parade with our kayaks and we ended up having an awesome time.

We were back out in 2015 despite it being a bit cold and *slightly* rainy.  In 2016 we had relatively good weather but returned to find Kristen's car had been broken into and her passport stolen.  Right before she was scheduled to fly out of the country.

This year marked our 4th time paddling out to join the parade.  For once the weather was damn near temperate and we'd done this enough to where we thought we had our plan down.  And then we checked and saw they changed the route.

Jubilee Mountain, Ibex Peak, & American Mine Death Valley

New American Mine entrance
December 3rd, 2017 
Jubilee Mountain (2,526')
Ibex Peak (4,751')
Jubilee: 2.16 miles, 1,200'
Ibex: 6.6 miles, 2,100'
[Pics] [CalTopo] [MapJub] [MapIbex]

Yesterday Jen Blackie and I climbed Ashford and Desert Hound peaks to the west and today we had a few other random peaks in the Zdon Peak List to choose from.  We decided to grab Ibex since I had seen the name pop up a number of times on Peakbagger radius searches and Jubilee since it was straightforward and along the way.  With the sun going down so early I figured we probably were not going to have time for anything else which did turn out to be the case.

We ended up spending extra time around Ibex due to the New American Mine / American Mine located on the southwestern slope.  We took a longer route to climb the peak and found one of the more extensive mines I've come across lately.

Ashford Peak, Desert Hound Peak, Ashford Mine Death Valley

December 2nd, 2017
Ashford Peak (3,547')
Desert Hound Peak (4,472')
7 miles, 4,000 ft
[Pics] [CalTopo] [Map]

I'd been back in civilization for a whopping four days following the epic six day Thanksgiving Turktacular trip to Escalante but an open weekend is an open weekend and I wasn't about to sit around at home. 

Since I finished the Sierra Club Desert Peak Section list last year I've been looking for new lists to work on and one of those has I've been toying with is the list of peaks which are in the Andy Zdon Desert Summits book.

Zdon Upper:
Zdon Lower:

The guide itself I've never cared for since it doesn't include any maps which makes it a lot of work if you are looking for things to climb vs checking for beta on a specific peak.  But hey, Peakbagger to the rescue and it is the closest thing we have to a Secor like reference to the desert.

Jen Blackie and I decided to head out to the cluster of peaks around Ashford Junction west of Shoshone and see what we could get done despite the short days this time of year.

On the plus side that meant the drive was only going to be about 4 hours which is a nice change of pace.  We might have even gotten to sleep before midnight *except* I managed to forget my boots meaning by the time we backtracked and grabbed them we didn't actually get away until 9 pm.  Ah well...