Exploring the East Side of the Strongholds, Cochise, AZ

Our base camp.

Climbing at Vineyard Cove, a minute walk from camp.

Charlie coming down Jacob's Ladder.

Mara trying Di-vine Inspiration, 5.11, while we keep warm.

Trailhead to Zappa Dome. Once again, very happy to have a Westy Syncro to bring us there.

Down into a canyon we go. It doesn't feel like the desert at all anymore.

A stream! Water! It's been so long since we saw water on a trail.

And the stair-master from hell climb starts.

But the view is very rewarding.

Mountain goats.

Not a bad spot for sunset. We just had to make sure to be back to the Westy before it got dark. None of us wanted to do that trail back down by headlamp.

Here's a video I made with our friend's Jason's drone shots. It is such a beautiful place! I hope you'll enjoy the images and music (The Pursuit of Happiness by Beyries).

It was our first time on the East side of the Strongholds Mountains. You might remember that we camped and climbed on the West side twice in the last year. We found a great free campspot on this side too. The big plus of the West side is that the routes are right by the campsites and the approach are minimal (if any). We also found the routes more fun on the West Side. However, the view from Zappa Dome (the main sport climbing sector on the East side) is beautiful (you earn it though!). The is now a guidebook that has been published for the West side and on is supposedly underway for the East side... it is about time! The only sort-of-useful topo is handdrawn (in Mountain Project) and we ended up on the wrong route more than once... The first time we got there, we sent Mara to lead a 5.7... that turned out to be a 5.10a... Ahem.  As you can see from the video I posted, the routes are long and exposed. We found a little crag with 3 routes just by the campsites and had fun there too.

We love the Strongholds! What a rugged place it is! You can still feel the presence of the Apache and can easily imagine Cochise and his troop hiding in the heart of those mountains. It's a real maze.