They had stopped where they did because it looked pretty difficult.
I have to admit that, when I turned in that night, I was concerned about how successful we might be tomorrow. We were going to give it our best shot, so we all wore harnesses and carried a rope, slings and little else in the way of gear – oh yes, I brought my helmet too.
On the evening of February the 20th, we arrived at the base of Peak 1894 in the Mohawk Mountains. During the last bit of daylight left to us, we glassed the slopes. Without any prior knowledge of the peak, they had figured out the only sensible way up the first three-quarters of it.
I’ve never written about the Mohawks before, but they are an amazing range that has garnered my respect and admiration for thirty years. Goldwater bombing range in extreme southwestern Arizona and span 35 air miles from end to end. We pondered the route above their high point, but couldn’t tell much from our position due to the angle and the fading light.
Beyond that, we soon topped out on the summit – a steep eyrie with mind-numbing drops on all sides. The summit register bore the names of a few friends who had made it up before us, so we were in good company, a pretty elite group. The guys finally had their peak, and I had overcome my concerns about how it might go.
I’m always a little worried about down-climbing a steep peak like this one, so after maybe half an hour, tops, we started down.
We covered a whopping seven miles before calling it a day, parking near our next peak, the second-highest in the range.
Our plans for a fire and happy hour were dashed, however, as dark clouds rolled in from the west and the heavens opened. All we could do was hunker down in the trucks and wait for it to pass. Fog sits in the valley bottom, the light-brown sand dunes rear up above and the tops of the distant Cabeza Prieta Mountains are seen even higher.
Stuff like this, littering the landscape, is why you sign a hold-harmless agreement with the military before you are allowed to go into these areas.
The going was pretty good, with no major obstacles, until we came to a band of cliffs that stretched across our path.