Bad Rock Peak or Rattlesnake Peak?

Where: near Sedona, Arizona
When: April 2009
Partners: Walt Hutton

Contemplating mortality at the crux

Walt asked me to join him in his third attempt of an unclimbed peak near Sedona, Arizona. With little (read: no) knowledge of what to expect, I agreed to be his partner and set out to tackle this bad boy.

Nearly stepping on a rattlesnake on the hike in, we soon reached the base of the first "weakness". Studying it, we both chickened out without effort. We moved on around the base of this thing in hope of another (easier) way.

Eventually reaching a dirty face above a loose, brushy seam, Walt agreed to lead up. Half a rope length up, he bailed - too nasty, he said.

Taking the sharp end, I started up an adjacent chimney. With easy climbing, I was soon at a point that required me to climb around a bulge via an easy but unprotectable face. It appeared that easy climbing was above. But it wasn't worth the I downclimbed to Walt.

Walt again took the sharp end, hoping to push through where I'd bailed. Reaching the same point, he agreed that it was too spicy without the pro, and so we unroped and continued around in hope of yet another way.

Before long, I spotted an arete that looked mostly easy (with a short, questionable face near the top). Again, I agreed to lead out over stair-steppy terrain to gain the arete. After about three moves, the loose and dirty, down-sloping terrain was too much for me. Like the loser some might argue I am, I headed back down. 'Here, Walt. Your turn (again).'

Walt tried my way, but didn't like it either. Instead, he popped around a corner, then did a committing move or two around another corner over big exposure in order to gain easy terrain leading to a belay. He brought me up.

From the belay, we eye-balled the questionable face I'd spotted from below. Questionable, alright. No more than 5.7-8 but with little/no protection...and brush in your face to make things more interesting.

For looks, I agreed to lead, knowing full well that the gnarly, unprotectable moves to get through to easier terrain didn't interest me. Scampering up a short bit of class 3-4 terrain, I stared face-to-face with the upper face - and it was awful. I headed back down.

Walt then took over, giving it a valiant effort...before also agreeing that it wan't meant to be. And so we set up a rappel station and bailed off this thing.

Walt's third failure on the peak he was ready to dub "Bad Rock Peak". The worse rock in Sedona, he said.

A photo from Walt:
CP holding a deer skull found on the approach