I stopped at
Cochise Stronghold on my Arizona driving tour to check out the new
East Side sport climbing. Why go sport climbing at Cochise? Good
question. My answer is that it makes a good warmup the day before
trying a long multipitch climb nearby. It had snowed the day before
but I hiked up through two inches of snow. Great camping down below
in the trees. Take the first right after the cattle guard and follow
the dirt road uphill for half a mile. A 2WD can make it but it is
good up to the camp spots and better to walk the five minutes to the
end of the road. Right in front of you is the Batline Dome. There
are several nice mixed climbs here. Off to the right across the
gulley is Owl Rock and a great climb called Dream Catcher (5.9). You
can see Zappa Dome across gulley and uphill about 250 feet. I had
heard of Zappa Dome from several Arizona people. It is only a couple
years old. It took me a lot of effort to get the online guide. I
lost the web link but I printed a copy. I canít find it now on web.
I can send copies to those interested.
Zappa Dome is dark wall in back.
Wall to left is Batline. Photo taken at end of road.
There are 18 bolted
routes ranging from 5.7 to 5.11. Most routes are on the easy side
and only one 5.11. Hike into the gulley and follow it a short while
and then exit uphill following the trail to Zappa Dome. The climbs
look nice. I didnít see anyone and the weather was cold and cloudy.
The routes have lots of bolts and are about 80 feet. The Zappa Dome
is totally out of place in Cochise. The routes are very close
together and itís a regular climbing gym. The rock is great. It
actually looks better then the west side Isle of You sport area. It
is OK as a warmup for doing the classic long climbs of Cochise but
it is really out of place. If you arrive on the east side in the
afternoon and have half a day then go for it.