Baboquivari Peak, Superstition Mountains, Weavers Needle
1-Apr-95 (Private trip)
By: Rich Gnagy
Pete Yamagata and I arrived at Apache Junction, AZ on March 31 and called Brian Smith at work in California and told him to meet us at the Village Inn for Breakfast in the morning. To find this meeting place one must drive about 2 miles north on SR 88 from the intersection of US Hwy 60/89 and SR 88 to the second signal, turn left to another signal (about 1 block) where the Apache Trail comes in from the right. The Village Inn is just ahead on the left across from a Burger King on the right which is next door to the Dirt Water Springs Restaurant.
The rest of the day was spent exploring the Apache Trail (SR-88). We finally had dinner at the Canyon Lake Cantina overlooking the Lake. Nice view from the dining room and adequate food. After dinner we drove to a nearby campground and spent the night.
The next morning we drove back to the Village Inn. Brian showed up shortly after we ordered, after having driven all night from L.A. We were very lucky that he found us, since I had told him the wrong name for the street he was to turn left on. (How was I to know the name changed when the road hit the Apache trail?).
After breakfast we drove to the roadhead for Superstition Mtn. The climb of Superstition went just as the guide said. It was a beautiful hike in, with more wild flowers than I had seen in the California desert this year. There was a fine view of Weavers Needle from the summit. We enjoyed the Indian petroglyph site on the way out. After driving back to the Dirt Water Springs restaurant for dinner in Apache Junction, we drove to within a fraction of a mile of the roadhead for Weavers Needle and spent the night.
The hike into Weavers was just like the book says. The hardest part of the climb was the tedious, brushy, cross country from the trail to the base of the climb. The first pitch is not particularly hard, but I was very careful since the first protection was a knob about 2/3 to 3/4 of the way up which was perfect for a sling. Above the sling the route goes up and to the left into the main chute where there is a bolt and an old bombproof chromoly piton for belaying and rappelling. Above here there is really no problem up to the notch. Above the notch it's about the way the guide said it would be, except for one unexpected hazard. a colony of honey bees in the rocks right where it would have been easiest to climb. On the descent it would be possible to rappel off the west side of the notch from a large boulder with three bolts for rappelling. Pete had left some of his gear at the bottom of the east side, so that was not an option for us.
It was fairly late in the afternoon when we got back to the cars, so after a cold one we headed for Baboquivari. We had a late dinner in Tucson and got to the Baboquivari Campground in the middle of the night.
We started up the trail early in the morning. Again the trail was as described in the guide. There was one easy third class move on the traverse around the bottom of the rock to the bottom of the one roped pitch. There are three bolts on the roped pitch rather than the two mentioned in the guide. The third one is located at the bottom of the steel rods described in said guide. Above the third bolt the route is essentially second class up to the belay tree which is an oak not a pine tree. There is a heavy cable around the oak tree with a steel ring a little larger than a carabiner to rappel from. Above the roped pitch there is a good second class use trail clear to the summit with one third class boulder where the route goes up after traversing to the right from the belay tree. Overall the weather was excellent although I thought it was quite cold belaying people up to the belay tree. There were still a few small patches of snow on the north side of the mountain.
We got back to the cars in the middle of the afternoon and said our good-byes as Brian started another all night drive back to southern California. Pete and I camped out near Ajo and drove home the next day to Sacramento.
It was a great trip and one which was very satisfying since we were successful in getting some of the best peaks on the DPS list.
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