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This is likely a great time to hike this trail!  Check out "Prefered" months below, keep in mind this is an estimate.

Baboquivari East Approach, AZ

no permit
71 10 0
Guide 10 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson SW
3.3 of 5 by 3
Warning! Technical climbing skills required. Risks include serious injury to death.  Risks are not eliminated by skill.
Climb Consensus (10) → View
Difficulty 5.5
Climb IV R Trad
Rock Granite Good
Length 100 ft 3 Pitches
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Difficulty 3.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6.11 miles
Trailhead Elevation 4,378 feet
Elevation Gain 3,430 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 8-12 hrs
Kokopelli Seeds 23.26
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack No
Dogs not allowed
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Photos Viewed All Mine Following
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30  2019-05-18 GrottoGirl
28  2018-03-09 writelots
7  2015-04-04 nonot
6  2011-09-09 rvcarter
Author nonot
author avatar Guides 93
Routes 236
Photos 1,969
Trips 476 map ( 4,511 miles )
Age Male Gender
Location Phoenix, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred   Sep, May, Aug, Jun → 7 AM
Seasons   Late Autumn to Early Spring
Sun  6:14am - 6:23pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Named place Nearby
Culture Nearby
Forbes Route
by nonot

Likely In-Season!
This is a hike and technical climb description for the Forbes-Montoya route.

Bring proper climbing gear, including helmets.

The Tohono O'odham Nation believes this mountain to be home of the creator, I'itoi. This deity turned ants into people, forming the first individuals of their nation. They believe he still watches over their people from his cave in the mountain. This will help explain some of the trinkets you find at the peak, which are offerings to their god. The tribe grants access to the mountain (with permit) from the west side, but asks all visitors respect the sacred nature of this place. The east side is currently not part of their territory and does not require permits.

From the ranch gate you will hike up the road. Be sure to obey all trail signs as you are travelling over private property. Thankfully, as long as people stay on good behavior, access is being granted by the landowners. After you pass the ranch the next mile or so of the trail is pleasant, wandering its way up the creek of Thomas Canyon.

After 1.5 miles total you will leave the creek and begin a series of steep switchbacks. At the top it gets eroded and you run into fire ravaged areas and a lot of dirt erosion slopes. It is easy to get off trail in a few places, so watch for cairns.

When you get through the worst and finally arrive at the saddle, you will run into a climber campsite. There is no water here but this is a good place to cache extra water you will only need for the hike back. From here try to find the good trail that heads up the ridge to your west (and a bit north). You are aiming for the obvious notch in the mountain. Scramble up to the base of the notch. It is an offtrail romp up a gully.

First pitch is about 30 feet under a boulder. It is easy except for one perhaps 5.5 move.

After this pitch scramble up the rest of a gully and contour around (counterclockwise around the mountain) until you see a slabby slope.

Second pitch is about 40 feet up this slab. It is perhaps a 5.1 climb.

From the top of this pitch walk up an exposed ridge and then turn toward the mountain and ascend up a bit higher, however, from here follow cairns to your right and down in elevation about 60 ft. Then go forward/left and back up about 50 feet to the base of the ladder pitch. This path of travel goes around a 6 ft metal bar you see sticking out of a rock way above you.

Third and final pitch is 100 ft, it zigzags a bit and goes about 5.3. Old bolts offer some protection placements but the route is run out.

From the top of this pitch you can leave the rope and harness, and scramble perhaps 0.4 miles to the top - you will go to the right, then turn left up a gully, then around the mountain to your left, doing a half circle around the mountain - look for signs of previous travel, and I recommend you carry a GPS to track your path and not get lost on the way back down.

The views from the top are great.

Return the way you came, solid rappel anchors exist at the top of each climb.

Water Sources
The creek on the first 1.5 miles may have water.

A bivy spot exists at the saddle, but there is no water.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Gate Policy: If a gate is closed upon arrival, leave it closed after you go through. If it is open, leave it open. Leaving a closed gate open may put cattle in danger. Closing an open gate may cut them off from water. Please be respectful, leave gates as found.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike & climb trip to support this local community.

2015-04-05 nonot
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Review
    Baboquivari East Approach
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Got an invitation I couldn't turn down to knock out this peak. I wasn't that familiar with this area and did some research, which left me with more questions than answers as there is a lot of conflicting information out there. The plan was the Forbes Route, which varies in rating between 5.3 and about 5.6 depending on what you read.

    The road in was a bit rough - mostly the bad parts are about the last 2 miles to the ranch. 4x4 high clearance is needed to make it to the end. The weather turned out just about perfect for this trip.

    I was a bit slow on the way up, especially on the scrambles up through the burned areas. The trail is good until about the last half mile to the saddle, it is fairly rough going the rest of the way and the top has burned. There is a small campsite (no water) that some people seem to use, by camping at the obvious saddle to the northeast side of the peak. From the saddle you scramble up towards the obvious notch. There is a trail for the first two hundred yards but quickly you have to scramble up a gully for another 300-400 yards.

    Soon enough we made it to the first pitch of about 30 ft. It has one move that seems about 5.5, but otherwise is pretty trivial. The lead climber can protect this move with a very small cam and quickdraw. After the first pitch you end up scrambling up a gully, then hooking around to the north side of the mountain to the second pitch which is basically a slab climb. This one goes 5.easy (5.1?) over the course of 40 ft, but I did make it more difficult by carrying both packs and not allowing myself to look up at what I was climbing :) . Above this you scramble up an exposed ridge, but then have to descend a bit and scramble back up to end up at the bottom of the ladder route. We ran into a slow group here visiting from California. They had come from the west, and were doing the only climb you face when coming from that direction. This ladder pitch goes about 5.3 and is the longest of the day - about 100 ft. The first bolts are at about 25 ft and the second at about 45 ft. That's about all you get in for protection in the first half. The second half is very low grade and probably offers some more placements but they did not seem needed.

    After this you scramble up the rest of the mountain - a GPS is useful for tracking the route and finding your way back down. The view from up top is great and there are some interesting offerings to the goddess of the mountain you can look at. There is quite an extensive summit log, but didn't see any HAZ folks who had done it recently.

    The way back down went fairly smoothly - we passed a large group from ASU making a late ascent, but after getting through the traffic jam at the rap station we finished fairly quickly.

    These routes are all way-run out, though the anchors at the top are pretty good. Thanks for the lead Todd!

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Strictly 4x4

    To hike & climb trip
    From Phoenix, head south on I-10 to Tucson, take the I-19 exit south, in 1.5 miles exit at highway 86 (Ajo Way) and go west. Continue until Three Points (Robles Junction), then turn left onto highway 186 (the road to Sasabe). Continue south until shortly after milepost 16. Turn right at a bicycle mailbox. Go straight for about 2.8 miles, then turn right onto a poor quality road (FR3716, though it is not signed as such). Proceed up this road, which gradually gets worse and worse, through 2 road gates, until you reach the final ranch gate with the sign that you can only proceed on foot up the trail. Park off the side of the road here.

    If you only have high clearance you can get about 2 miles from the TH.
    page created by joebartels on Apr 05 2015 6:46 pm
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