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North America, United States, Arizona, Dragoon Mountains, Cochise Stronghold

Dragoon Mountains, Cochise Stronghold. There are many waves and spines of granodiorite in outline along the ridges and flanks of the Dragoon Mountains. The northern side had apparently never been visited by rock climbers. In February Phil Warrender, Greg Bender and I made first climbs of three spectacular towers: The Symbol, The Fist, and Birthday Tower. They are most obvious and located at low-level on the escarpment, west of the ranch at road’s end. Rock is excellent; the climbs range from F4 to F7. Later in winter John Rupley and I were literally blown off Vortex Tower (north side of Rocketellow Dome) by high winds, but returned to complete the five-pitch climb, a very satisfying route on friction slabs and jam-cracks.

Fred Beckey