On Thursday, March 9, I met Dave Kohnke at Bates Well Ranch off of the Bates Well Road in Organ Pipe National Monument. I had spent the previous night camped nearby but Dave has started his day by driving some three hours from Tucson. Our goal this day was to climb Kino Peak, the highpoint of the Bates Mountains.
Winter of last year I viewed Kino Peak from the north along the Bates Well Road and admired its steep and prominent appearance. Kino Peak has 1537 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 143rd most prominent peak in Arizona. More significantly, it has a reputation of difficult route finding to gain the summit above impressive cliffs. Fortunately, we had found good route information online, including descriptions and photos. This gave us some confidence that we should be able to summit the peak.
On Saturday morning, January 28, I left Tucson and drove west to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument. My goal was to climb Diaz Peak. Diaz Peak lies immediately south of Mount Ajo in the Ajo Range. Diaz Peak has 1501 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 153rd most prominent peak in Arizona. It also has a rocky and complex structure. I hoped the GPS track provided by Matthias would guide me as I climbed to the summit.
I drove the Ajo Mountain Drive past Mount Ajo and parked off the road at Stop #15. It was later in the morning than I had expected and Diaz Peak looked far away across the desert. So I set a tentative turnaround time for myself. It was going to be a close call as to whether I would be able to summit by then.
On Saturday, January 14, I attempted to climb Mohawk Peak in the Mohawk Mountains of Southwest Arizona. Mohawk Peak (Hawk Benchmark) has only 1975 feet of elevation. But it has 1435 feet of topographic prominence and a remarkable summit horn that has drawn my attention as I pass by on Interstate 8.
I left Tucson Saturday morning and drove to a parking spot to the north of Mohawk Peak. The weather was overcast with showers expected that evening and overnight.
On Saturday, December 31, I joined Dave Kohnke, Peyton Kohnke, and Annie Fahey for a Southern Arizona Hiking Club climb of Table Tooth above Pima Canyon, near Tucson. Table Tooth has only 280 feet of prominence, but is a rock tower requiring some exposed scrambling high above the canyon.
I climbed Table Tooth four years earlier, and found an alternative route gaining the exposed summit ridge that avoided the most difficult part of the climb. Dave hoped I could share that with him on this day, and I hoped I could remember how to find it.