Sunday, May 27, 2012

Camelback Mountain Chuckwalla - the Sonoran Desert's Iguana

Hey, big fella. Enjoying the view?

This one's wife was joining him for an afternoon basking session.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Camelback Mountain Rattlesnake Video

Shot this yesterday out on Cholla Trail. Quite a handsome little fellow. A small crowd gathered around the rock he was hiding under. One onlooker suggested he was a timber rattler. I don't think so. The markings aren't correct and timber rattlers aren't western U.S. snakes. I believe he was probably a speckled rattlesnake.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Camelback Phoenix: The Blog About Camelback Mountain Hiking, Climbing and Exploring

This is the 50th post for this blog. I don't really consider it a blog. The older posts -- most of them, anyway -- shouldn't be considered "old news." The site is a collection of stories, information, news, photos, links and other tidbits about my favorite mountain. It's a place for the outside world to better know Camelback Mountain, and the adventures I and other people have had there. On Camelback Phoenix, you can find info about hiking, rock climbing, the wildlife, the visitors and their trip reports, parking and anything else Camelback Mountain that I can think of. Some of this info you'll find in the provided links. For instance, sites are listed in my blogroll that give you precise directions to Echo Canyon and Cholla Trail, including the city of Phoenix Parks and Recreation site. The blogroll is automatically prioritized by Google Blogger depending on how often those other sites are updates. Summitpost is an example of a great site that pulls in trip reports and climbing info from uncountable cyber-commenters.

This site is mainly about spreading the Camelback love.

Another interest is to get a larger variety of info out there about Camelback Mountain as possible. No single site or book exists that compiles everything on it. Even Gary Driggs' famous coffee-table book, Camelback, (which I intend to jabber on about in some future post), doesn't offer as many details as I'd like to see, especially as a climber. Camelback's history deserves to be preserved, and I'd like to help do that.

As I continue to post here, feel free to comment and share links or other information. Years ago, I met a guy at Headwall named Ken who told me there are at least 70 climbing routes at Camelback -- far more than you'll find in any guidebook. There is much left for me to learn within these rugged 400-plus acres.

Okay, now it's time to update some of the Camelback stories, pictures and videos I've seen on the Internet...


I want to bring attention to a few posts done on Mountain Project by a "clichtenberger," as well as the Camelback pages on MP's site in general.

I assume that's stands for C. Lichtenberger, but I'm not sure. Whatever his or her name is, I'm jealous of the quality time this climber spent with friends on various Camelback routes at the end of last year. "Clichtenberger" has new postings on routes that I've been wanting to climb, like (Aerial Combat and Chimera, both 5.9), as well as some I've done, like Hard Times and Beehive. (I wished for photos of the latter two, though, for nostalgia's sake.)

When I clicked on the photo above that Clichtenberger took of his buddy "Lauren" on the 3rd pitch of Hart Route (4th pitch, the way they climbed it), I had a visceral response and flashback to my 2010 freesolo of the route. Maybe that freesolo wasn't such a good idea.

Tons of videos

At this link, you'll find a collection of more than 100 videos about Camelback Mountain. A couple of examples:

This one's kind of cute and courteously short. Skateboarding, nice splicing and a great Beatles song.

Another video has a weird sky serpent and a song by Godsmack:


Want more info on a phenomenal, three-pitch adventure climb with the scary name of Suicide? (C'mon, it's only 5.5!) Click here.

Where was that rescue?

Last November, I read about a couple of kids who got lost while scrambling around. I'm fascinated by the tale of how they climbed down something they could not get back up. Usually, it's the other way around. Of course, the TV stations never nail down for the viewer the precise site. Check back for a future post that will have the GPS coordinates. I'm also trying to find the coordinates for the spot where a guy in his mid-50s was freesoloing and attacked by bees. He was stung 120 times. I think that's information you or I may need to know someday. Phoenix Fire is supposed to get back to me on that one.

Climbing routes

Next to Suicide Direct is a 5.10 I'd like to try someday called Black Direct.

Some routes at Camelback Mountain, however, are best done just once. Misgivings is one of those. This isn't one that I've led, and I vowed never to do so after watching one of my friends fall on a sketchy piece near the top. Had he not put that piece in, or had the piece popped out, he very well might have decked.

A place to have real adventures

In searching for other posts out there about Camelback, the ones I enjoy the most capture the thrill and seriousness of the park -- like this one, entitled "This is crazy."

This one by also captures the spirit I look for, though I think the type of pushy hikers he describes is more often found on Piestewa Peak.

Photos, paintings and other Camelback Mountain art

You paint it, I'll showcase it. (The above painting is by Michael J. Liebhaber.)

See you on the trail.