Best Rock Climbing in Arizona - Trail Climb Nation

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Best Rock Climbing in Arizona

Best Rock Climbing in Arizona

We hit up a subject this morning that we haven’t really tackled in awhile. We have talked a lot more about trails than climbing when it comes to TC Nation. Today we stick with our western theme after writing about Zion and tackle rock climbing in Arizona. I don’t know an awful lot about the area but hopefully one of our readers can chime in with a great spot. I want to take this time to remind everyone about our submit an event button. Feel free to start throwing out some of your group excursions and we can inspire everyone to get outdoors!

The wide open space of Arizona offers many types of climbing, from remote big walls to urban sport crags and prime bouldering spots. Choose granite, sandstone, limestone, quartzite or volcanic for your favorite moves and protection. You can find a great mix of mostly trad areas to nearly pure sport. The people are friendly, the animals docile but the plants can hurt you. We’d love to have you come visit and enjoy our spectacular areas. There are many quality destinations for ‘road trippers’. These include Mt. Lemmon(Tucson); Cochise Stronghold (Benson); Camelback Mountain, Superstitions and McDowell Mountains (Phoenix); Queen Creek (Superior); Granite Mountain, Granite Dells, Groom Creek (Prescott); Paradise Forks, Priest Draw, Le Petit Verdon (aka “The Pit”) (Flagstaff); Jack’s Canyon and East Clear Creek (Winslow); Sedona’s Spires, the Oak Creek Waterfall and the Overlook; The Grand Canyon (yes you can climb here); and many more. Arizona Rock Climbing…

Arizona is purported to have more exposed rock than any other state in the US. The bad news is that it isn’t ALL climbable. The good news is that tons of it is great for pulling on! Granite, qaurtzite, dacite, basalt, limestone, sandstone, gneiss, monzonite, welded tuff, and a thousand other kinds of stone to pull down on.
From the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff and Paradise Forks in the north, to the crags of Granite Mountain, the Superstitions, and Queen Creek, and finally south to Mount Lemmon and Cochise Stronghold, we have it all! Cracks of all sizes, wide, thin, edges, pockets, jugs, sport, trad, bouldering, big walls, no approach, big hike…whatever you’re psyched about! The one thing we’re a little short on in most areas is crowds, but that’s a good thing.

We also have the best year ’round climbing possibilities in the country with crags at just about every elevation imaginable. Between that and the large percentage of sunny days, there ain’t a whole lot more you could ask for!


What’s My Line? ascends the huge sea of chickenheads that grace the south face of Cochise Dome. While the climbing is easy at 5.6, exposure and runout will keep the attention of most moderate leaders. Additionally, an AO pendulum or 5.10b traverse is required to access this chickenhead highway. I have rated the pitches below separately, as the climbing is distinctly different on each pitch.

To access the first belay, it is necessary to gain a large ledge about a third of the way up the face. This can be done from the west (far left) end of the face. Some technical scrambling and scary fourth class are required to access the final v-slot gully that leads steeply to the route’s starting ledge. Chimney up out of this slot onto an exposed ledge. There are two bolts for the pendulum located at the far right end of this ledge.

Rock Climbing

Photo Courtesy of UANews – University of Arizona Mark Mellott looks over the city of Tucson after climbing Hitchcock Pinnacle, a popular climbing

Pitch 1 (5.6R A0): Set an anchor in flake behind ledge and lead out through two-bolt anchor. Leader may lower out and pendulum (A0) to chickenheads, or traverse over from ledge (5.10c). Once on chickenheads, climb generally straight up until you can get some pro. Beware of protecting too low, as you will either create horrendous rope drag, or doom your second to follow a terrifying falling pendulum. Double ropes are ideal for this situation. Climb up and right on sparse pro to a two-bolt anchor at the bottom of a huge brown water stain. NOTE: I have given this pitch an ‘R’ rating due to the runout climbing at the bottom of the pitch, and the potential for collision with chickenheads below in a fall.

Pitch 2 (5.6): From two-bolt anchor, this fun and easily protectable pitch climbs up and right for a full rope length or until the chickenheads run out. Belay on huge chickenheads just below final traverse.

Pitch 3 (5.6): From chickenhead belay, step up and left into seam. Continue traversing left past a bolt towards tree in corner. There are two ways to finish from here: either climb flake to bolt and finish up slabby face (difficult), or continue into corner and finish up easier gully to summit. Belay from three-bolt anchor.

Descent: Rappel from anchors on east side of block. Requires two rappels with one rope.


Dr. Rubo’s has gained in popularity over the last few years as one of Sedona’s best moderate multipitch outings. The climbing is pretty dang good, with the awesome splitter crack of the second pitch being the highlight of the ascent. The route sits on Summit Block Rock, found just left (west) of Coffeepot Rock.

P1) Climb the obvious slot on the left side of the face to a belay seat at bolts atop the limestone band.

P2) Thrutch up through the slot right above the belay to gain the splitter hand crack above. Once that peters out, follow discontinuous cracks to a belay on a sloping block.

P3) Follow the line of fixed pro (retrobolts and fixed pins) out right from the belay across the face. At the end, turn and climb up to gain the top of the ledge above. Belay.

P4) Climb east from the belay up broken ledges to the left side of the summit feature. Out on the left, find a single bolt, clip it, then make a sort of airy bouldery move to gain a small ledge, then scramble up easier stuff to the top.

Descent: Rappel (two ropes) off the east side into the saddle behind the formation. Scramble back to front.

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