When approaching from the West side (Baboquivari Camp), there is an easy to follow pack trail to the Lion's Ledge. When I last went on Sept '01 there was a gauntlet of cat's claw and pointy branches on the trail, so long pants are recommended. Also recommended are a high clearance vehicle for the 12mi dirt road to the camp and trip scheduling on a cool day. On a hot day on hot rocks, 4L went easily. Leave extra gear near base of the Great Ramp. From there, the trail to the West side climbs and the Southwest arete goes through brush and descends shortly through a rock hole. In general, stay near the wall when following this trail on the Lion's Ledge. The trail ascends to a west-facing arete, then descends (past a bolted route next to a water stain near the base), then ascends to the SW arete. The arete base is wide and the start of the route is easy to pass unless you keep a eye out for the identifying landmarks (ridge of hills leading to the arete, dead pine tree and groove to right). A compass and topo map might help save time on a first trip.
West approach: There is one clear trail to the Lion's ledge, and the trailhead is found near the end of Baboquivari Camp. The sign might have fallen, as it was on my last trip.
Browse More Classics in West Face/ Southwest Arete
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for West Face/ Southwest Arete:
Forbes Route (West Approach) 5.6 Trad, 1 pitch, 60 feet
I'itoi Dance 5.10 Trad, 9 pitches, 1000 feet, Grade IV
Cloud Man Got Angry 5.10 Trad, Sport, 8 pitches, 1000 feet, Grade III
Born of Water 5.10c Trad, Sport, 9 pitches, 1000 feet, Grade III
Featured Route For West Face/ Southwest Arete
Forbes Route (West Approach) 5.6 AZ : Southern Arizona : ... : West Face/ Southwest Arete
An ascent of the Forbes Route is an outing not to be missed, earning three stars not for the technical climbing, but for the experience as a whole. The mountain will make you earn its summit; with a lengthy approach, unmarked trails, fickle weather by Southern Arizona standards, and virtually unprotected yet straightforward climbing, it defines the classic Arizona mountaineering experience. Hikers who know how to belay and rappel can ascend this route if accompanied by an experienced c...[more] Browse More Classics in AZ