Monkey Face is an often photographed and climbed rock tower at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon. Linda Topping and I climbed Monkey Face on June 11, 1995, 26 years ago. The climb was an exciting and memorable experience. We fondly remember the climb when we see Monkey Face on our hikes or bike rides in the area. But we have never repeated the climb.
In the view of Monkey Face above, “Bohn Street” is the ledge just above the notch on the left at the base of Monkey Face’s neck. The “bolt ladder” leads up the overhanging neck to the right side of Monkey Face’s mouth. From there we climb out of the left side of the mouth up to the nose, a large rock block with anchors, then scramble up through an eye socket to the top. The overhanging rappel begins at the right side of the nose block.
On Tuesday, April 13, I climbed Maricopa Peak, the summit of Javelina Mountain and the highpoint of the Sand Tank Mountains. Maricopa Peak is visible to the south from Interstate 8 about 20 miles east of Gila Bend, Arizona. It has 1484 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 155th most prominent peak in Arizona. It is located in Area A of the Sonoran Desert National Monument.
Last December Linda and I explored the access road to Maricopa Peak. I found the road passable with high clearance to a parking spot close to the peak. We considered returning sometime to camp there to make the trip a family outing. But the opportunity to return did not arise before the desert became too hot for a pleasant camping trip. I was running out of opportunities to return this season so I decided to give the peak a try in spite of the warm temperatures.
On Sunday, March 14, Matthias Stender, Scott Peavy, and I climbed Wood Mountain in the Northern Chiricahua Mountains. Wood Mountain has 1446 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 162nd most prominent peak in Arizona. But we climbed 3000 feet from Wood Canyon to reach the twin summits and return. It was a more challenging and interesting climb than we had expected, and it was satisfying to summit this rarely climbed mountain.
Wood Canyon lies south of the town of San Simon, Arizona. I scouted access to Wood Mountain two weeks earlier. On my drive I met Eva Morin who with her husband Howard owns the Morin Ranch close by up canyon. She wondered if I was off route to Portal. I explained that my friends and I hoped to visit Wood Mountain in the near future as part of our “peakbagging” activity. I verified with her that we could use a nearby primitive campsite and cross the land from there to the peak.
On Saturday, March 13, Matthias Stender, Scott Peavy, and I climbed Whitlock Peak northeast of the town of Bowie, Arizona. Whitlock Peak lies in the Northern Peloncillo Mountains, separate from the Whitlock Mountains to the west. It has 1691 feet of topographic prominence, making it the 107th most prominent peak in Arizona, and is remote from paved roads – I was glad to have company.
Matthias, Scott, and I met in Bowie and drove in 28 miles to our parking spot in Poppy Canyon. This was a long drive on gravel, dirt, and rocky roads. I had driving waypoints from the Southern Arizona Hiking Club and scouted the driving route two weeks earlier to be sure of the route and to verify it was still open to the public.