Cochise Stronghold is a spectacular landscape of rugged canyons and towering granite domes. While those seeking traditional, multi pitch climbing will have a special appreciation for climbing here in the Dragoon Mountains, Isle of You offers an opportunity for the sport-inclined clip-up artist to enjoy this beautiful landscape.
There are three adjacent rocks that comprise this area; Rad Rock, Trad Rock, and Glad Rock. They host several excellent climbs of varying grade from 5.6 and up. But beware, the easier climbs tend to be on lower angle slabs. For some climbers, broken ankles have been the price of a blown clip.
Bring a 60 m rope and quickdraws.
In regard to new lines, ask yourself if you are truly contributing something of quality to the area. While there is lots of rock in the Stronghold, most of it has been explored and you may be looking at a line that has already been done! Ask around and, please, think before you drill.
Additionally, this area is of great cultural significance to many people. Treat it with due respect.
Though it does not affect Isle of You, a large portion of the climbing in Cochise Stronghold is closed annually for raptor nesting. Current closures are from February 15 - June 30 and include the entire Rockfellow Group and What's My Line Dome. Check with the Forest Service for changes and current closures.
For more information and some interesting background on Cochise Stronghold, see Bob Kerry's guide 'Backcountry Climbing in Southern Arizona.'
From Tucson, had east on I-10 to exit #303 (Tombstone/Bisbee). Turn right (south) on Arizona Highway 80 and drive for about 20 miles. Just before Tombstone, turn left onto Middlemarch Road. Follow this rough gravel road for almost ten miles to Forest Road 687. Make a left, towards the West Stronghold and follow this dirt road another two miles north. Make a final right turn on a dirt road that leads to a circular parking area. The crags are visible from the road.
GPS: The left turn onto Middlemarch s N31.73482 W11007771, The next left is N31.84694 W110.00329, The next right is N31.87078 W110.02101, The parking area is at N31.87342 W110.01665, and finally the crag itself is at N31.87455 W110.01490 at 5083 ft elevation.
Tried to get out to Trad Rock last weekend - we parked at the top of the circular parking area, and found a decent trail with a little bit of fine gravel/sand leading up along the side of a rock face. I don't think this was Trad Rock, but it was bolted with about 6-8 routes up some pretty good face climbing. There were 2 big trees at the base of the rock and on the left-most part of the clean rock face was a nice rolling section you could probably scramble up to get at some of the anchors up top. Any info on this area? What is an easier way to find my way to the REAL Trad Rock? Thanks very much
thinking maybe what we were on was on the way to sweet rock - do you walk down a narrow sandy trail past a face shorter than sweet rock on the way? past where we were was a nice horseshoe shaped rock alcove that looked more similar to the pics i'm seeing for that area. also the climbs we did looked to be shorter than the ones i'm seeing on here - there were definitely not any climbs over single pitch - probably all less than 90 feet or so. sorry i can't give a better description/provide pics...
I am headed out west on a road trip and have a couple questions about the Isle of Ewe...
1.) Can I camp out at this area? I keep finding things about parking, but no camping information other than the one area off ironwood road, which is kind of far. Any suggestions on the whole camping topic would be helpful also!
2.) What is the current access situation? Do I have to pay to get to these areas? It seems like there is conflicting information on this...
Any other tips or even recommendations for ANY other good one pitch routes (I'll have to come back later for the multi-pitch)that are currently listed would be awesome!
JP, The Stronghold has an East and West side. The [end of] Ironwood road area is a pay area over on the East Stronghold with facilities but there is plenty of non-facility, free camping over there as well. You will be on West Stronghold if you're going to the Isle of Ewe though.
There are no facilities on the West Stronghold but parking, climbing, and access are free. There are several campgrounds and campsites in the Isle of Ewe area. You shouldn't have any trouble finding a spot out there.
Plenty of good climbing out there to keep you entertained. Check out Rad, Trad and Glad rocks for stuff in the Isle of Ewe area, and Sheepshead, Muttonhead, Squaretop, and Westworld Dome for multipitch areas on the west side. There are plenty more than i listed but those will give you somewhere to start.
I was last at Trad Rock in spring of 2005 - and am planning to return soon. At the time, I seem to recall at least a few bolts and some of the anchor bolts (not just the hangers - but the bolts themselves) being suspiciously loose on climbs along the left side of the crag (can't remember exactly which routes). Does anyone who climbs here more regularly know if any these have been replaced / repaired since then?