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Sheepshead Area (Southwest)

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Carnivore Pinnacle & Lappy McDome 
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Sheepshead Area (Southwest) 


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Location: 31.87036, -109.99397 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Aug 20, 2002
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Chance of a Thunderstorm
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The West Stronghold on a gorgeous November night.
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Description 

Cochise Stronghold is a spectacular landscape of rugged canyons and towering granite domes. While there is certainly something for everyone in this vast area, those seeking traditional, multi pitch climbing will have a special appreciation for climbing here in the Dragoon Mountains.

The amount of climbing in Cochise Stronghold is absurd, and most of the rock is of outstanding quality. Many super classic routes, put up by pioneering young climbers since the 1970's, ascend the various spires and domes in the area. Most of the quality crack climbs in Southern Arizona are found here, as are some of the longest routes in this part of the state. Many of these routes are difficult, committing, and very runout. If you cant climb them this way, go climb something else. Though bolts have made their way into the Stronghold, placing fixed gear here is still frowned upon. Additionally, this area is of great cultural significance to many people. Treat it with due respect.

Climbing is Cochise Stronghold is a true backcountry experience. The remote setting, coupled with the committing nature of many of the climbs here, require preparation beyond that of roadside cragging on Mt Lemmon. The terrain is rugged and maze-like, and it is generally easier to get lost than to get where you are going. Allow plenty of time for approaches and err on the side of caution.

While current closures do not effect the Sheepshead Area, 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.'


Getting There 

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 north. Make the first right turn on a dirt road that leads past a windmill to the road's end. Park and hike across the grassy field to the obvious domes.


36 Total Routes


['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',22],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',3],['5.8',1],['5.9',4],['5.10',17],['5.11',11],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Sheepshead Area (Southwest):
Ewephoria   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, Sport, 5 pitches, 750'   The Sheepshead
Mystery of the Desert   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 5 pitches   The Muttonhead
Absinthe of Mallet   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 7 pitches   The Sheepshead
Ides of Middlemarch   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 700'   The Sheepshead
The Climb Too Tough To Die   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13     Trad, Sport, 6 pitches   The Sheepshead
Unknown (right of stampede)   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 600'   The Sheepshead
The Peacemaker   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 7 pitches   The Sheepshead
Barnyard Wall 2   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   The Sheepshead
Ghosts of the Past   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 500'   Mt. Chaktar
Tour Buses Welcome   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 4 pitches, 320'   The Muttonhead
Unknown (corner 15' left of Peacemaker)   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 6 pitches, 790'   The Sheepshead
Great second pitch.   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   The Sheepshead
Unknown (Right of The Peacemaker)   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 7 pitches   The Sheepshead
Get The Flock Out Of Here   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 5 pitches, 650'   The Sheepshead
Stampede   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 7 pitches, 800'   The Sheepshead
The Inevitable Awaits You   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 3 pitches, 300'   The Muttonhead
Steep Short Green Streak   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 60'   The Muttonhead
unknown (left one)   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   Mallethead
Mad Cow Disease   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, Sport, 6 pitches, 740'   The Sheepshead
Sheep Thrills   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Crisis Center
Browse More Classics in Sheepshead Area (Southwest)

Featured Route For Sheepshead Area (Southwest)
Greg on the superb traversing first pitch before the surprise finish.

unknown (se arete) 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A0  AZ : Cochise Stronghold : ... : The Muttonhead
engaging climbing on muttonhead's eastern side. 1st pitch has height dependent crux that most mortals will probably end up aiding. bolts on harder ground and run-outs on the easy stuff. one of the first routes of the sheepshead complex to see morning sun....[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of Sheepshead Area (Southwest) Slideshow Add Photo
The approach to the Sheepshead
The approach to the Sheepshead
Cattle grazing near the Sheepshead
Cattle grazing near the Sheepshead
Some really cool lighting during a snow-enforced rest day at the Sheep's head.
Some really cool lighting during a snow-enforced r...
Evening in the West Stronghold
Evening in the West Stronghold
Last light in the West Stronghold
Last light in the West Stronghold
Yes, Marcy, you're right about all the awesome shots like this -- but, since I didn't see any "storm gathering" ones, I added this, from Sat. evening after the cold and wind drove me down from Peacemaker!
Yes, Marcy, you're right about all the awesome sho...
windmill near sheepshead parking lot
windmill near sheepshead parking lot
Evening in the West Stronghold
Evening in the West Stronghold
Uyeforia 5 pitch climb on Sheepshead Portal-Cochise Stronghold
Uyeforia 5 pitch climb on Sheepshead Portal-Cochis...
Heading back to camp at sunset.
Heading back to camp at sunset.
Sheepshead and environs, March 2008
Sheepshead and environs, March 2008
Pitch three on "Ewephoria"
BETA PHOTO: Pitch three on "Ewephoria"
This is the (well bolted 5.9 arete) that goes left of the 5th. pitch anchors. It offers a lot more exciting climbing than the standard finish..
This is the (well bolted 5.9 arete) that goes left...
Yet another sunset photo
Yet another sunset photo
Descending off Sheepshead Jan 3, 2011
Descending off Sheepshead Jan 3, 2011
A shot of the Sheepshead area in the southwest of the Stronghold, from the approach trail.  Sheepshead is the largest dome in the middle of the photo.
A shot of the Sheepshead area in the southwest of ...
Found some friends at Sheepshead...
Found some friends at Sheepshead...
Another beautiful day in the Stronghold.
Another beautiful day in the Stronghold.
Sheepshead
Sheepshead
View for the top of Sheepshead
View for the top of Sheepshead
Sheepshead under a full moonlight.
Sheepshead under a full moonlight.
The friendly locals
The friendly locals
Sharon Legg, slinging a small plate on the 3rd. pitch of "Ewephoria".
Sharon Legg, slinging a small plate on the 3rd. pi...
Cold start!
Cold start!
New Year's gift: beautiful bluebird day delivers Daryl, Alex and I to the top of an as yet unnamed, unrated Ayers route on the Sheepshead.  What a great climbing team!   <br /> <br />January 2, 2010
New Year's gift: beautiful bluebird day delivers D...
From the bottom of peacemaker
From the bottom of peacemaker
Comments on Sheepshead Area (Southwest) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 30, 2010
By Wes Turner
From: az
Dec 16, 2004

Well, you have to follow the sun. Obviously the east facing cliffs are going to get sun first and shade last. So the rckfellow groups east side is an option in the morning....ex: "forest lawn" etc....The Out of towners dome should be good in the AM..And the wasteland dome should be an okay AM hit. .Whats my line dome should be okay earlyish....PM climbing would consist of the west side of the Rockfellow group ex :"End game", "days of future passed"...Climbs Like "absinthe of mallet" at the sheepshead would have to wait till at least noon I would think. I would recommend following the sun around the Rockfellow group. If it is a windy day it doesn't matter how much sun ya got when your 600' + up...its still gonna be pretty cold..If I were there I'd be out no matter what...Cochise is the best..have fun

By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Apr 13, 2007

"Residents and guests may fly into the Tucson or Sierra Vista airports by private jet, then drive in. Or enjoy a personal limousine or helicopter escort to the property."

Damn where I'd put that helicopter of mine?

"Welcome to Bachmann Springs, a tabernacle of well-being"

-where body, mind, soul and spirit can live in peace and harmony
-a place of great spiritual tranquility
-where prejudice does not exist
-where people can value humankind and find a sanctum for the lights of their lives "

If you gotsta a helicopter, then we won't be prejudiced against you hahaha...who writes this crap?

www.bachmannsprings.com/index.html?1

By miamitom
Aug 21, 2007

Several years ago I met the guy who owns / owned a ranch nearby and learned quite a bit of history about the area, and was digging thru old photos and found this one.
www.flickr.com/photos/miamitom/1137901230/
And one of the obvious things I learned was why they called it Sheeps' Head ... ;) Once you 'get it' it's unmistakable ... had no idea it was a great climb ... cool to see you folks enjoy it. There is a hill nearby called Haberstock Hill that has a US Geo marker on the top, no real challenge for climbers but provides a nice view of the area in all directions.

By Chris treggE
Administrator
From: Madison, WI
Nov 7, 2007

Are you meeting in the parking area or at the dome? Cuz it would be easier for you to meet in the parking area and hike out together. The directions to the parking area on this site are spot on. Do not take a low clearance vehicle like a Civic on the roads if there has been any rains, we had a Malibu and bottomed out frequently on the way to the Sheepshead/Isle of You. So park at the north area of the parking "lot" for Sheepshead where the barbed wire fence has a gate. Go through the gate, closing it behind you, and trend north on the trail until you get to another barbed wire fence which will parallel the trail towards the Sheepshead. This is what it will look like at that point: mountainproject.com/v/arizona/cochise_stronghold/105967733
Follow the trail for 15 minutes or so up some hills and eventually down and back up out of a wash. You will see the dome up and to the left. The trail then goes through another fence gate, and winds its way up towards the dome. There are several spur trails and it probably doesn't matter which you take, but follow the cairns and it will get pretty steep/scrambly. At that point you are in full view of the dome and won't get lost. Once you get to the base, orient yourself to what climb you came up upon first, which will probably be Peacemaker. Kerry's backcountry guide and the Falcon guide to AZ are good, and print out the info on the climbs from this site also. We used a conglomerate of all 3 to find the routes. If you plan on doing Ewphoria, it was a little tricky for us to find based on the written description here, but keep going up the northwest side of the dome and you will find it. What are you planning to do?

By brent pohlmann
From: San Francisco, CA
Apr 30, 2009

What is the weather like at Sheepshead in mid-May? Too hot to climb?

By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 8, 2009

For those of you who have Google Earth, I have posted two files that may be helpful for you.

The first has driving directions to the Sheepshead, The second has the 1.3 mile approach and most of the major multipitch lines.

Both of these can be viewed in 3D from any aspect and printed.

You can download the files from www.geir.com/googleearth/stronghold/west/

Google Earth can be downloaded for free at www.googleearth.com

By TylerW
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 9, 2010

Hey Everyone,

I was out climbing on Sheepshead 1/2-1/5/2010 and I think I lost my orange olympus tough digital camera in the parking lot. it has a cracked screen and thousands of photos on it. Really I just want my memory card - if you found it and want the camera that's fine you can keep it as a reward. Either way, please just email me if you think you found it and i'll send you my address.

BTW, in early January the weather was perfect for climbing and damn cold for sleeping.

Thanks!

By TylerW
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jan 11, 2010

some good photos of a recent trip: picasaweb.google.com/tyler.williams/CochiseStrongholdSheepsh>>>

By Blissab
Mar 25, 2010

We recently completed some routes on the Sheephead this March. Really awsome routes. Totally underestimated the approach and descent time and effort needed. The climing seemed like the easy part.

Anyway, I would like to thank Geir Handal for all the topos and route descriptions for the Sheephead. Great work. I will be looking forward to returning to complete more routes.

AB

By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Mar 26, 2010

you're very welcome! :)

By Dan Carter
From: Las Cruces, NM
Dec 30, 2010

Does anyone know anything about a route to the right of Too tough to die? It starts in a nice finger/hand crack and goes through some buttonhead bolts and tough moves to a small seam and slab with little pro. There is an old piton to the right but I went straight up.

We did two pitches along this route and linked up with too tough to die in order to get off before dark. The route would probably keep going up, away from bolts. The first pitch felt like 5.11 but protection wasn't so good and the old bolts weren't very assuring.