It was my last weekend in Arizona before I was once again banished to the Midwest. Something epic needed to be attempted. Danger suggested Baboquivari, “This one looks like it’s going to be way over our heads.” ”Perfect,” says I.
We decided to do the Eastern approach and climb the Southeast Arete. So we drove to basically Mexico and met some boarder patrol guys in in the middle of the night.
Nov 27, 2002
|The most important thing to know is how to pronounce the name Baboquivari. It’s bad enough that you’re traipsing around on O’odham creator I’itoi’s sacred domain. To be making gringo mispronunciations within earshot of the Man himself isn’t going improve your chances of making it back to the camp by nightfall. I believe the correct stress is on the KEE syllable. It is _Bab – oh – KEE – var – ee_, not _Bab – oh – kee – VAR – ee_. It’s said like _den-of-thievery_, not like _bought-a-Ferrari_* or _shot o’ Bacardi_.|
“Descending from the summit of ‘Babo’ can be notoriously epic. It is customary to bring a small gift to the summit to appease I’itoi. This, and some detailed beta, should help greatly with the descent.”
We took a different dirt road than the one in the approach instructions but miraculously ended up at the Baboquivari “trail-head”. The eastern approach seemed to have had a trail sometime in the 60′s but now its completely overgrown and non-existent for at least 3/4 of the way. Next time I’m going to take the Western Approach since it took us about 6 hours to fight our way through a jungle filled with a great variety of thorny plants and cacti.
The approach was way more sketchy than the actual climb. We ended up roping up at several points. Although we were off route if there was indeed a route to be off of.
Cut Rope! I’m going to write an angry letter to sterling because their rope could not withstand 100lb boulders dropped from 40ft.
We get scared and decide to rappel. Note scared face. This was probably the low point of the trip. Even though neither of us mentioned bailing we were both thinking it. We ate some candy and decided that we could probably make it to the summit before nightfall. We considered doing an easier route but eventually decided that we were going to press on and do the SE Arete route anyway.
Post tea we found what we thought we found the start of the route and I climbed a chossy crack that turned out to be pretty neat. Danger informed me that we were off route; but thanks to the Baboquivari mountain god, I’itoi there was a kind ledge that took us 50ft to our climb.
Around this point a dense cloud bank moved in around Baboquivari, visibility was around 15ft. Climbing in a cloud is a super surreal experience. It is like being on another planet or different dimension.
We left our offering of a fine red wine stored in a painstakingly cleaned hot sauce bottle to I’itoi and began the descent. The descent turned out to be not that bad. We sort of knew where we were going. The rappels were not too difficult to find and we ended up getting back to the car before we suspected that we would.
Then we met up with our friend Matt Estland in Phoenix. I ate an extra large pizza by myself over a period of six hours and drank a lot of victory wine in Matt’s pool.
Food we brought with us for a day and a half: 4 candy bars and a can of Chef Boy.