Written by Timbo, copy/pasted by David
This was our first time climbing in Arizona. We had a couple areas to choose from but ended up selecting Cochise Stronghold for its unique climbing and adventurous reputation.
Our first decision to make was where to stay. It is a 2 hour drive from Tucson making it a long day trip. There is camping on both the east and west side of the area which in fact is how the climbs are divided up. We stayed at the Shaw House, a historic stone cabin, managed by the Forest Service and 5 minutes from the trailhead; highly recommended for the convenience.
Since the cabin is located on the east side of the mountains, we focused our climbing on East Stronghold. An examination of the internet, Mountain Project and otherwise uncovered the highly-rated Endgame route on the End Pinnacle in the Rockfellow Group. This became our objective for the trip.
On the drive in you will pass the access points to several of the other major walls before the parking lot parking, most notably The Wasteland dome. You’ll know when you’ve reached the trailhead when you see the big boulder in the middle of the road. There’s about 10 parking spots, no fee required.
The approach to the Rockfellow Group is straight forward up the main drainage climbing a single track, past several big boulders, and a number of climbing walls. When given the option stay left and always above the creek until near the top where you travers out across a slab to gain the saddle. At the top of the drainage the trail flattens out and we began winding our way through the creek, around the north side of the group, to a major split in the trail that cuts left to End Pinnacle. The approach took us about an hour.
After racking up (about 18 quick draws, Camalots .5 to 1 and a set of nuts) I started up pitch one. This was a sustained and intimidating pitch. A mix of slab and face climbing. If you get through it you’re good, the rest of the climb will ease up. David took the lead on pitch two, big run outs at a moderate grade. Take note that the traverse after the first bolt stops at the arête. There is no bolt at the end of the traverse, instead just keep going up.
Pitch three was the money, David and I both agreed this was one of the best pitches we have ever climbed. A long traverse underneath a roof with massive exposure and solid holds, well protected, with one spot to place the only cam we used that day.
David dispatched of pitch four quickly with a couple 5.9 slab moves and we both agreed pitch five felt a little harder than its 5.8 grade.
We finally topped out after five hours of climbing, walked down to the other end of the summit and found the large pine tree to rap off. You can do this with a single 70 in 5 raps. Just keep an eye out for bolts, working your way down through the large chimney.
It was a 10 minute walk back to the backpacks, then we raced out to the car before nightfall. Our lovely partners Andrea and Maddie were waiting for us in the truck with a case (mostly) full of tecate’s. We are lucky guys.
This climb and trip was a treat and already has us dreaming of our next Cochise adventure. Special thanks to David’s parents Julie and Rich for operating as our base camp/bacanora bar/Arizona family in the lovely town of Tubac.