Gary Weber had driven past Hitchcock Pinnacle many times - saying to himself that "it would be a good idea to get up there sometime."
Sometime arrived one day last week.
Weber and several friends - using ropes and technical climbing gear - scaled the rock spire at Windy Point in the Catalina Mountains.
"This is an icon," Weber said of the pinnacle, which poses short climbing routes ranging from moderate to quite challenging.
Novice climbers find the easiest route on Hitchcock Pinnacle to be an excellent place to literally learn the ropes.
Experts zip up and down the route almost effortlessly. On more than one occasion, they've hauled some unexpected baggage to the top - including a barbecue grill.
"I love this rock!" said Corinne Bee, who joined Weber and others on the climb.
A STONE WONDERLAND
If Hitchcock Pinnacle is perhaps the most evident climbing site at Windy Point along the Catalina Highway, it's merely the tip of the "stoneberg," so to speak.
The Windy Point area is a wild wonderland of comely cliffs and tall towers ranging from pretty steep to dead vertical or overhanging.
Sites known as North Fin, South Fin and Mean Mistreater Wall offer a rich array of climbing routes - from fairly easy or moderate to super-challenging.
A practice cliff across the highway from Hitchcock Pinnacle is a place to learn some basic moves.
It is essential for novice climbers to make their first efforts under the guidance of experienced climbers or professional guides.
GET TO THE ROCKS
To reach Windy Point, take Tanque Verde Road to the Catalina Highway and follow the highway to the site near milepost 14. The U.S. Forest Service charges a $5-per-vehicle fee.
Contact reporter Doug Kreutz at email@example.com or at 573-4192.