“Vineyard Cove” is a small, secluded granite alcove in Cochise Stronghold East. It's in the shade til 9 am or so and has shade again by 2:30 pm (so it's very bearable climbing even in the hottest months)
It is best found by turning right into the “84b” free camping area of the NF (National Forest) It’s basically the second right after the wooden NF sign on the main road into the Stronghold. If you take the first right (“84a”) just follow that dirt road around until it almost reaches the main gravel road again. Find a fence with an open gate under trees and park here. A level trail (1 minute approach) will take you to the wall.
The alcove wall features 3 chain anchors, but only the middle route (“Jacob’s Ladder”, the longest route at about 60 feet, is bolted. The other two climbs can be easily set up as top-ropes by lowering off “Jacob’s Ladder” ‘s chains and swinging either right or left. (Outside the alcove to the right is "Camper's Delight") Print out the Beta Photo.
The climbs, from left to right: 1) “Di-vine Inspiration” (5.10d) A very challenging finger crack system with a stiff 10 start that mildly eases up as it heads up to the anchors.
2) “Di-vine Connection” (5.10) A couple variations at the start. Fun positive holds start you out and run into thin face crimpers eventually leading onto the last half of Divine Inspiration.
3) “Jacob’s Ladder” (5.7) a fun and varied sport climb with 7 bolts. 2 possible variations. Chain anchor.
4) “Gizunghas” (5.8) Thought provoking face climb that shares an anchor with Jacobs Ladder.
5) “Midnight Oil” (5.8) can be climbed either in the diagonal corner or on the face to the left of that. (We found it a fantastic night climb, and thus the name!) 2 variations. No bolts, chain anchor.
6) “Camper’s Delight” (5.3) an unprotected (as of June 2007), long route up an easy slope to anchors on the outside to the right of the alcove. Great for first-timers and children.
5 OR MORE POSSIBLE ROUTES TO THE SAME T.R. ANCHOR!
Update: there are now 2 bolts in the first third of the climb, then you’ll find a horn to sling and a crack system to place pro.
Directions to Cochise Stronghold East and the Vineyard Cove:
Coming from Tucson, Take Interstate 10 going East.
Take exit 331 (“Dragoon”), turn right and drive 3 miles to Dragoon. Watch out as the road curves and crosses train tracks right in the tiny village of Dragoon.
Continue for another 7 miles or so, turn right onto Cochise Stronghold Road.
Drive south on Cochise Stronghold Road until it ends, turn right onto Ironwood Road.
The pavement ends and you continue on the gravel road until you cross a cattle-guard and see a wooden National Forest Service sign. Continue straight and take the second right turn which has a small brown sign “84b”. It’s basically the second right after the wooden NF sign on the main road into the Stronghold. If you take the first right (“84a”) just follow that dirt road around until it almost reaches the main gravel road again.
Find a fence with an open gate and park here. A level trail (1 minute approach) will take you to Vineyard's alcove.(By he way: great, free camping right there by the fance.)
2) “Jacob’s Ladder” (5.8) a fun and varied sport climb with 7 bolts. 2 possible variations. Chain anchor.When you climb this one at night be carful of scorpions on the first ledge!! A climber got badly stung by a scorpion last year!...[more]Browse More Classics in AZ
Vinyard Cove is probably the one and only climbing area in the Stronghold that has practically no approach! Yes, it has rattlesnakes, but the routes are SO uncharacteristically easy (for Stronghold Standards!) that one could free-solo in case of sudden rattlesnake danger. :-) "Camper's Delight" has 4-5 GREAT routes for kids and beginners. Or for mock-leading exercises.
Great beginner area with some good variation between face climbing and a stiff finger crack. Great bolt placement on JL to get things rolling on the outer routes as it's the only thing bolted. Also, the middle bolted route is a great first lead for beginners.
Many thanks to Nic and Jonathan for all the effort!!
I think the rating for Devine Inspiration is low. I'm not experienced enough to know a 10c from an 10a. When I compare this route to other 5.10's that I've done, such as Stone woman in the Isle of You area, Stone Woman is not quite vertical maybe 85 deg and has small holds and worn flakes. This route is beyond vert maybe 95 to 100 deg, has a crack that's one knuckle deep and requires a fair amount of stamania and grace. If the rating were changed to 5.11, I doubt there'd be many overrating complainers.
Jacobs ladders is a great route to learn: easy access, short hike, belay out of a chair, top rope, easy walk on or off the back, go left near Devine connections start for harder climbing. Fun, fun, fun.
Hi Neil, sorry we missed you guys out there yesterday. Point well taken on the finger crack. I was really on the fence about it but didn't want to over rate it. The main reason i kept it in the 10 range was bc the route isn't sustained at 11 and actually runs milder, by the foot, down to a 5.8 range at the end. I'm going to move it to an 11a and let the consensus ratings take it from there. Thanks for the input!
anyone have contact or know Scott.. and if he is the fellow who developed The big Lebowsky crag? We met him recently in Red Rocks on a route, and would like to find a topo for that crag..any help is greatly appreciated.
This crag is also known as "Rattlesnake Cove" and has been used for years by Outward Bound, NOLS, and The University of Arizona Outdoor Adventures. Believe it or not all of those groups utilized the wall without sport anchors.
It is a bummer that opening up climbing areas to all involves moving away from teaching and learning basic climbing skills like how to build solid gear anchors and set up top ropes.
Luke, Similar comments could probably be made for numerous developed climbing areas nationwide. For the record, I didn't establish the sport area; I only maintain it. I don't think I agree that the sport anchors here interfere with any potential traditional gear placements that could be used for teaching and learning basic climbing skills. In fact, the changes made might expand the skills that could be taught at that area (leading, cleaning, belay escapes, etc). I'm just trying to understand how the installed hardware would interfere with any courses that may have been taught there.
If there is a further point to be made, I would urge you to open a thread under "General Climbing" to discuss the impact on "teaching and learning basic climbing skills" that permanent anchors have made. I would sincerely be interested in what others would contribute to this discussion, however, i don't think this is the place to do it.
Apologies if I came across to harsh here; please take my comments with a grain of salt. Let's keep it peaceful.
"Similar comments could probably be made for numerous developed climbing areas nationwide."
I hope we don't use the above statement to help rationalize how we treat our climbing areas. In my opinion the anchors do not interfere with teaching and it is true that they might actually add to it, but when I started climbing (not all that long ago), and now that I teach it I make sure people understand that fixed protection usually goes in when other gear can not. I know that many areas don't abide by this. In fact, I enjoy climbing at many of them. It just so happens that the this area has had a history of being used without the fixed gear so I was bummed to see that the crag got bolted from top to bottom.
Hello Ringell, The weather should be gorgeous during your visit. There is plenty of dispersed camping around the area. That won't be an issue at all. At the end of the road, there is an actual paid campground if you need hookups. Check out Campers Delight around the corner from the Vineyard Cove wall. It's rated 5.4 i think but, as someone else mentioned, is almost fourth class. Good training route or for children & new climbers.