Moapa Peak, Baboquivari Peak, South Guardian Angel
By: Patty Kline
These were the 3 peaks blocking my :list finish. I had tried Moapa and turned back on the knife edge a year ago, and had made 2 stabs at South Guardian Angel, both as a backpack in October of 1996, and as a day hike in June of 1997. I placed an advertisement in the Sage as a last resort. Luckily, Ted Brasket answered. He took me up all 3 this spring. Ted is a very skilled climber and navigator. I had a great time.
First was Moapa. Ted, Jeanette Vincent and I started on Easter Sunday, April 14, at 6:15 am under a light drizzle. The rain soon stopped. What a joy to hike with these 2 people. Just below the knife edge summit area it started to snow, with the temperature lowering about 20 degrees. We hung out in a small cave for about 45 minutes while it blew over and melted. We saw some bighorn sheep nearby, who retreated over a ridge on the horizon. We were actually using :one of their homes to get out of the weather, as we could smell.
On top it was nice and sunny. Ted was very happy for me and called 3 people to let them know from his cell phone. After about 45-60 minutes on top, we made our way back to our vehicles, enjoying the great expansive views of the Nevada desert. No rope was needed on top, but one was used on one V; foot pitch of class 3 about 1/2 way up the mountain. At 6:45 pm we were back having a beer. It was 11-1/2 hours round trip, making a beautiful, scenic and leisurely day. This was actually the most difficult of the 3 peaks.
Pat and Dean Acheson, Rich Gnagy and I met Ted Brasket on the evening of Saturday May 23rd at the first gate below the Baboquivari Peak Ranch. The next day, Sunday May 24th, we took Route B from the east. It is a shorter hike with 2 more pitches to climb,, plus no Native American Reservation to deal with. In the future the Native American Reservation may extend to the east. I hope not. The route is nicely described in the "Issued for Review", November 1995 Sage and in the new Guid issued this year.
Our group of 4 started at 6:15 am from the locked gate at the Baboquivari Peak Ranch Ted had taken Judy Ware, Ernie Spiller and Jeanette Vincent up on Thursday. Today I had a miserable cold and could hardly breathe. Ted said it was no problem because Rich could lead Pat and Dean up the first of the 3 pitches as we were catching up. They were just finishing when we arrived. This is the hardest of the 3 pitches. Ted and I thought it was a 5.4 The climber goes under a chock stone about 30 feet off the ground. Ted had attached a rope earlier that week with loops tied in it for 8 feet on the crux located near the chock stone. A climber could use the rope as an "aid" in the form of a hand hold if needed. It came in handy. Rich had led pitch #2, placing a sling as protection about 30 feet up. Ted and I both felt this was another 5.4 pitch, but the first one being a little more difficult. Then we took a 10 minutes hike over to the base of the 3rd pitch where the trail from the Native American Reservation joins. Rich also led this pitch. Even though this was the longest, both Ted and I agreed it was only at 5.2 or 5.3 as a slab/face climb. From here we hiked up the bushy use trail towards the top, with Ted giving me a hand at a slippery chock stone 7 feet above a short crack.
On the flat as a pancake, sun bleached, reddish rock top, we had lunch and noted the Sauza bottle of Tequila "Hecho en Mexico." It had been there at least a month for all to partake of if desired, 2/3 full at this point. Good Stuff. No, we didn't drink the whole thing. We spent I hour up there before leaving at 1:45 pin to rappel down the 3 pitches and return to camp at 6:30 pm.
After beer, taco chips and salsa both Pat, Dean Rich and I left for a head start on the Memorial Day dive. Ted would do his shorter 7 hour drive all on Monday back to Prescott.
The following Friday, May-- 29, I started my drive out to Utah, spending the night at the Gold Strike in Jean, Nevada. Saturday I met Ted and Lori Brasket and Jeanette Vincent at a great BLM campsite near Virgin, Utah. I would recommend this campsite to anyone with the Virgin River flowing by and a great view of South Guardian Angel. Here are the directions from Ted: Follow drive directions from DPS Guide #7.1, North Guardian Angel, to Virgin Utah on highway 9. Turn left (north) on Kolob Terrance Rd. In approximately 4.5 miles and just across a bridge turn tight on an unmarked road BLM land not visible from the highway. Its approximately .5 miles from the pavement.
Sunday's 2:00 am rise got us started hiking the Wildcat Trail at the roadhead for North Guardian Angel at 4:15 am. Headlamps were off in 1/2 hour and the pleasant descent began past North Guardian Angel down a series of red sandstone terraces until we got about 200 feet above the canyon bottom. There was a little 3rd class in 2 spots that Ted helped me with. Just below this we dropped down at the base of the canyon 100 feet up stream from the "slime traverse." The stream was no more than a foot or two deep. Ted belayed us up the wall of the canyon exactly opposite of where we came down. Normally only a belay at the bottom of the canyon wall is needed. Because of the heavy El Nino rains and snow, the rock near the top of the canyon was very slippery. Ted led the slippery pitch too.
Hiking around the backside of South Guardian was very pretty. At the base of the mountain I left my heavy Raichle boots and put on an almost new pair of Five-Ten Guide tennies which proceeded to delaminate considerably as I climbed. So much for the quality control on this model, although the company makes great rock shoes. After passing some whodoes formation Ted led a short 8 foot pitch for Jeanette and me. Then it was flat for a while before the climb of the 1000 foot magical staircase of friction sandstone that SGA is so well known for began. The transition from red to buff was surreal. Just below the top, Ted led a short pitch where the angle of the mountain was fairly steep. I can't tell you how overwhelmed I was on top after 2 of my friends told me I would die trying to climb it. Well, I wasn't down yet, so I held back my exclamations until I was back at the campsite where we all celebrated with Coors Lite that evening, after an almost 17 hour day hike.
Moapa, Babo and South Guardian Angel went very easily thanks to the skilled, patient and expert leadership of Ted Brasket. Without him my dream of list completion could have no chance of being realized. "They said it couldn't be done," but I fooled them. With Humphreys in Arizona as my penultimate peak, I will finish the list on Saturday October 17, 1998 on Pleasant Point. Everyone is invited!
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