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Battle Axe Butte 3,531 - Teapot Mtn Quad
8 Photosets

mini location map2012-12-22
50 by photographer avatarCannondaleKid
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Battle Axe Butte 3,531 - Teapot Mtn QuadGlobe, AZ
Globe, AZ
Hiking avatar Dec 22 2012
Hiking1.66 Miles 1,520 AEG
Hiking1.66 Miles   2 Hrs   54 Mns   0.61 mph
1,520 ft AEG      10 Mns Break20 LBS Pack
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
My original plan for today was to climb Granite Mountain and Peak 3870 in the Teapot Mountain Quad, but when I got to the spot where I was going to drive to my chosen trailhead I found the old track had been closed off. So now my modestly aggressive plan of a climbing 1800' in less than a mile followed by 6 miles of off-trail up & down would add on another took on another few miles to it. Since I had also planned to tack on a quick climb of Copper Butte nearby I decided I wasn't ready for that big a day.

So, as I drove on toward Copper Butte, again I was mesmerized with Battle Axe, and since I had a tentative route for it on my GPS, I figured I'd start with just a preliminary recon hike (yeah, right!) on the lower slopes of Battle Axe, then get back to copper Butte and knock it out.

As usual I had a change of heart and change of plan... the farther I climbed up Battle Axe the more intrigued I was with this terrible beauty of an awesome beast and I simply couldn't stop to save the full climb for another day. Today was to be the day! :y:

Parking at a small pullout just off Battle Axe/Rincon Road in full view of Battle Axe, I started off following a cow-path as it wound up from the road until it either faded or gave way to an endless number of cow paths. By then I already figured the best way up was simply to follow a number of interconnected ridges up the lower slope. Very early on I scared up a deer which bounded up the slope, giving me the bright idea that it may be using a game trail. By following in its tracks, for a short distance I had some easy going along the game trail.

Although the first half-mile was reasonably steep the footing was quite solid due to enough low vegetation to hold everything in place. As I closed in on the upcoming rocky section I scanned left-to-right in hopes of finding the best route, not only to get the next 100' up vertically, but hopefully would lead to the best route farther up as well. Quite surprisingly, my tentative GPS track was within 25' of what I found to be the best spot, which was where I set the waypoint I named 'Gap' on the soon-to-be-offical GPS route at: N33.15523 W111.08835

Once above the first rocky wall area, again there was enough vegetation but also some smooth rock areas which at first glance seemed to be steeper than I later determined so I stayed toward the right (west) and went in between a tall spire on my left and the main western peak on my right. But once through the choke-point I still had to traverse through some smooth rock as I continued climbing. Eventually I became comfortable enough with the smooth rock that I alternated between it and areas where there was enough brush to provide some good handholds.

After enough time spent scanning just far enough ahead for the next few steps I find myself at the very small saddle more-or-less centered east-to-west, which provided some great views southward... but still just teasers of what was to come at the top.

And now comes the real test... is there a path to the top that I (with an advanced fear of high places) can reasonably follow? There seemed but few options, so again I stuck to my tentative GPS track and went for it.

By now I'm truly in death-defyingly out of my comfort-zone-scary climb mode. :scared: Not only was I concerned about climbing up, but even more concerned about the return descent. It's one thing to see just a few feet ahead when climbing, but looking down while descending... well I don't like it one bit! But still I continued, wedging my boot into a crevice here, stepping on 1/2" nubs of rock there, as well as grabbing onto the smallest piece of vegetation to climb another foot.

All of a sudden I'm up top! But wait, awwww :pk: ... It's just the false-summit! Yes, it's within 10' vertically of the true summit, there's still 160' of horizontal travel across what for me is truly no-man's-land... at least not for this man! Even thinking about crossing the sometimes one-pointy-boulder-wide traverse all that came to mind was a 'swinging-bridge' over a 1000' chasm like in an Indiana Jones flick... :scared: :pk: :scared:

Already with a slightly compromised equilibrium due to a blocked left ear I've been dealing with the last few days, this is here I had to draw the line. Even if JJ happened to be there to show-me-the-way as he did on Ajax and Peak 4202 ten days ago, I still would not have attempted it. And today being solo, well, I felt discretion was the better part of valor. Better safe than :stretch:

I still had to descend through where I had a number of heart-in-throat moments on the climb. But since I made it up safely, all it took was a moment to reflect on that positive and I was on my way back down. Once past the real vertical rock-wall section, I was on a roll, seeking out a more direct route to the Gap I passed through on the climb. From here on it was a piece-of-cake, well at least it was mentally, but the knees definitely were not in agreement.

But who cares how much the body complains when one has such an emotional high from finally climbing a peak I've thought about for years, never once thinking I'd ever actually do it. :y:

And now that I've at least made it this far, hmmm, what chance do I have of dragging Tracey up here?? Slim-to-none? Less than that? WAY less? I daresay it's more like I'll win the lottery before that'll happen. [-(

Wow, full 10 dozen photos so I'm going to take some time to winnow it down to something manageable. As large a photoset as I ever want to pore through isn't even 50 photos, so I'll try to limit it to that. As usual, I'll have the full set on my web-site along with the 360-degree pan video soon.
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