I took Saturday off to enjoy college football. In hindsight, I should have joined 3 guys who were making the climb to Cathedral Rock on a beautiful sunny day with highs in the mid 70's. One of them for sure (probably all 3) is the real deal, Gary, who discovered Kirchner Caverns and an experienced climber with appropriate gear. But, instead I decided to do the CR hike on Sunday. Yes, the same hike as last Sunday during which I missed a turn and thus missed CR. The more I read about the place, the more I want to visit. This Sunday morning, 6:30am, clouds still in the area at Sabino Canyon State Park.
Although the clouds were forecast to depart from an overnight cold front, they always linger in the mountains for an extra day so I was not optimistic. It could very well be raining up there, making the rocks slick. I understand the final push to the top is over a class 4 scramble which has exposure so not a place to be if the rocks are slippery. I hoped the clouds would clear as I was going up and if not, it would just be a good workout.
The clouds add to the usual beautiful views to the south and west.
Climbing out of Cardiac Gap, I am encouraged by the patches of blue sky but....
....still very ominous looking farther north where the trail goes.
Esperero Spires to the southeast. There is a route up to them from Cardiac Gap but ropes are needed to ascend.
Now at mile 6.5, at a spot where I can stash my backpack and proceed with a lighter dayhike pack for the final 3.5 stage but still not looking good. I sit and wait for awhile to see if conditions improve. I'm no more than a couple hundred feet from the cloud line and it's fascinating to watch the clouds so close, drifting up and down, obscuring and then revealing features. Other than the potential danger of hiking on wet rocks, it would suck to get to the "Inner Sanctum" of Cathedral Rock, stand in pea soup and not be able to see the views. So, I turn around and head back down.
Reaching the bottom and looking back, the clouds still linger while elsewhere it is sunny.
A roadrunner pauses long enough for me to snap an image.