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Battleship Mountain - Superstitions
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mini location map2010-12-10
8 by photographer avatarjuliachaos
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Battleship Mountain - SuperstitionsPhoenix, AZ
Phoenix, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 10 2010
juliachaos
Hiking12.50 Miles 2,693 AEG
Hiking12.50 Miles   9 Hrs   30 Mns   1.32 mph
2,693 ft AEG
 no routes
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners partners
BobP
joebartels
johnr1
snakemarks
"Pucker Factor 9.8"
~register entry at the summit

I went into this trip knowing full well that it was going to be a real mental challenge for me, having read several trip reports and discussing exposure issues with those who have done it before. Those I rock climb with have known from the beginning that I have an intense fear of heights. I climb with the intention of overcoming that fear in small increments, while having a lot of fun and developing my skills at the same time. It's been a bit of a rollercoaster, with some times being better than others, but so far I've survived everything I've put myself through. Having a good skill base helps a great deal, but I've found that support from friends is often what really gets me through the rough spots. A little push can go a long way, and this trip was no different.

As I'm sure everyone knows already, things got hilarious pretty much right away. The car ride there was a treasure in and of itself. Bob was being so nice to Joe, turning down the music and pampering him with pillows. Unfortunately, the comfort stopped when the car did, and we had to get out into the chilly morning air. Joe commandeered my jacket, and somehow I was the only person who didn't get a picture or ten. We met up with Kat and John and then followed the leader(s) down the trail to the dry creek bed. The really fun part starts after leaving the creek (this part is really easy to miss, btw). The trail climbs up the hill, and then the route takes a lefthand turn into the rough. Just beware of those Christmas Cholla!

Now for the fun part! We got to climb up and around several sections, stopping at one point to chill in a cave (not an alcove). Once at the top of the first major section, we headed north. I kept expecting some crazy near-invisible rock traverse to appear (think Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade.. yes, my imagination gets outta control), but for the most part it wasn't that bad. Actually, I'm probably just saying that because I allowed almost three weeks to go by before writing this triplog. I distinctly remember clinging onto any rock hold I could find, and double checking each scree-covered step that I took. Everyone else seemed to be having a grand old time, though. Bob was running marathons around us as usual, and Kat was prancing along the edge as often as possible to help elevate our blood pressures. We made our ways over and around and through, sometimes having to squeeze through tight sections or take off packs. Then, suddenly, we were at the spot I'd been fearing. And it was even worse than I'd expected!

My brain had been imagining some sort of thin exposed rock bridge that I'd be able to just scoot across slowly. Instead, I find out that it's rounded and sloping and dives right into a cactus! A 15 ft drop on one side, and a 300 ft drop on the other. I almost stopped right there, imagining myself not being able to keep my balance and rolling off to one side, or tripping over my clumsy feet into the cactus and then rolling off to one side, or being able to get down the rock, but tripping over the cactus anyway.. I think you get the picture. A couple tears welled up in my eyes while urges to push on wrestled with needs to survive. I couldn't do it! Then, I felt a firm hand on my shoulder and knew John was there to help me down. Joe had backtracked his route as well, and offered a hand from below. With their assistance, I made my way down the slide rock and past the cactus. Golden! The peak was good as bagged at this point, and we maneuvered and climbed our ways to the top.

Once at the summit, we enjoyed varying forms of sustenance (Kat's cookies are AMAZING, in case you haven't heard it enough) and read over register entries with giddy delight. I wish I'd taken a picture of some of those entries; they definitely made the trip even more worth it. After goofing around some and then arguing over which area was actually the tippy top, we decided it was time to head back the way we came. Everything was much easier going back, but once we were down it was still almost a six mile slog back to the lot. I was happy to be down, though, and even happier that I'd been able to actually make the summit. I know while being up there, I told myself "never again," but now that it's been a while I'm beginning to think again of that small section and how it needs to truly be conquered.. hmm. ;) Definitely the scariest hike I've been on so far, but not the most scared I've ever been on a hike.

Thanks everyone for the great hike/climb, and Kat it was great to meet you! :DANCE:
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johnr1
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160 Photosets

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