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Chessman Area

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1 - Pawn & Chessapeak 
2 - King 
3 - Checkerboard 
4 - Queen 
5 - Bishop 
6 - Knight 
7 - Lorax & Ball Return 
8 - One Day Wall 

Chessman Area 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,200'
Location: 32.36032, -110.71983 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 13,422
Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Hendrixson on May 12, 2008
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Adam Block joins the elite group who have sent Kin...

Description 

The Chessman Area is a sprawling collection of more than 50 routes. While climbs were established as early as 1979, the crag really blossomed in 2008 when Eric-Fazio Rhicard and Jim Scott started developing the area.

The Chessman Area makes for an easy day of cragging due to its low elevation and proximity to the road. It has the opposite aspect of windy point. The main walls have shade until approximately 2pm.

Chessman Overview
Chessman Overview


The breakdown of the area from left to right is as follows:
  • Pawn & Chessapeak: The Chessapeak Wall, which is the south face of the Pawn, contains ten routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.10-. A number of the routes are traditional or mixed. Additional routes such as Hour of Power and The Phalanx are in the vicinity.
  • King: Thirteen traditional and sport lines ranging from 5.9- to 5.12+. Serf's Up (5.12-) on the Rampart and King's Arete are classic. This area includes the King's Rampart sector.
  • Checkerboard: Five sport and mixed routes ranging from 5.8 to 5.10.
  • Queen: Five routes, one of which is gear protected, ranging in difficulty from 5.10 to 5.11+. Two Kings And A Pawn is a Mount Lemmon modern classic.
  • Knight: The six front-facing, sport lines range in difficulty from 5.10 to 5.11. Knight Owl and Knight Maneuvers are considered the best. The four traditional and mixed lines on the south face are 5.6 to 5.9+ and all are R rated.
  • Lorax & Ball Return: Nine routes ranging in difficulty from 5.9 to 5.10+. Some are gear and some are sport.
  • One Day Wall: Seven moderate sport and traditional routes with difficulties ranging from 5.6 to 5.9-.


Getting There 

When driving up the Mount Lemmon Highway pass the Seven Cataracts Vista, continuing a quarter mile. At approximately mile mark 9.4 park in a small, tree-lined pullout on the right that has a drainage.

Disembark and hike straight up the rocky drainage for approximately 15 minutes. The strenuous hike involves a small amount of scrambling but is over soon enough. A fork near the cliff divides the Queen and Bishop sectors. The former is reached by the left, uphill fork; the latter by the right, level fork.

This is also the currently accepted approach for the Pumphouse and the Andy Cook Wall.

Approach
Approach



37 Total Routes


['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',21],['1 Star',9],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',2],['5.7',3],['5.8',1],['5.9',5],['5.10',14],['5.11',7],['5.12',5],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Chessman Area:
No One Saw That, Right?   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 40'   8 - One Day Wall
Queen of Kings   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 90'   3 - Checkerboard
Nuts and Bolts   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 260'   5 - Bishop
Unknown (Left of Flogging The Bishop)   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 95'   5 - Bishop
Checkmate   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 80'   6 - Knight
Gamesmanship   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 50'   2 - King
Knight Owl   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 60'   6 - Knight
Two Kings And A Pawn   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 85'   4 - Queen
Knight Maneuvers   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 75'   6 - Knight
Hour of Power   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   1 - Pawn & Chessapeak
Heelium   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   5 - Bishop
Flogging the Bishop   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   5 - Bishop
King's Arete   5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   2 - King
Browse More Classics in Chessman Area

Featured Route For Chessman Area
John Steiger cruising the route. He made it look easy.

Two Kings And A Pawn 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c  AZ : Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalin... : ... : 4 - Queen
One of the best 5.11 sport pitches on the mountain, "Two Kings And A Pawn" ascends the most prominent face of the Queen formation. This route has amazing pockets, an interesting crack system, and an exposed roof bypass. Beautiful!...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of Chessman Area Slideshow Add Photo
Vince "do not multi-task me" on his way down after he serfs up the wall.
Vince "do not multi-task me" on his way down after...
An aspirant to nobility preparing for the toss on King's Arete. <br />Photo by Mike Gura
An aspirant to nobility preparing for the toss on ...
Maite, looking up Bobby Fissure, a great mixed route.
Maite, looking up Bobby Fissure, a great mixed rou...
Steeper than you think.  The Catalonian gettin' back to the belay on Serfs Up
Steeper than you think. The Catalonian gettin' ba...
The guard Coati patrols the Super mega Secret area for anyone climbing without authorization.
The guard Coati patrols the Super mega Secret area...
Don't forget your shoes unless you have this creative climber around.
Don't forget your shoes unless you have this creat...
An hour later, towering in the mist, same tourist but different shirt. <br />Photo by Mike Gura
An hour later, towering in the mist, same tourist ...
Peter Noebels on Serfs Up 5.12- at the super secret, not so new "show and tell" only area.  We would post it up but we don't want Isolation Canyon Manny ruining our cool new sport area by putting up trad routes.  Jimbo made me type this Manny.  We had a good laugh when we thought it up, hope you do too!
Peter Noebels on Serfs Up 5.12- at the super secre...
Jimbo crimping hard on a new 5.11 that he and Eric put up recently at the Chessmen. April 2008
Jimbo crimping hard on a new 5.11 that he and Eric...
EFR on "the project" 5.13 somewhere at the super secret area
EFR on "the project" 5.13 somewhere at the super s...
Aleix Serrat-Capdevila on the King's Crystal 5.12.
Aleix Serrat-Capdevila on the King's Crystal 5.12.
Somewhere in the Super Mega Secret Area!
Somewhere in the Super Mega Secret Area!
Chessman Overview
BETA PHOTO: Chessman Overview
Secret sport bolters only area.  Peter Noebels on a new 11- that we saved from becoming a trad route.
Secret sport bolters only area. Peter Noebels on ...
Maite Guarda redpointing Two Kings and a Pawn 5.11
Maite Guarda redpointing Two Kings and a Pawn 5.11
EFR's effort to show off his climbing skills would have been wasted if not for the admiring look from this passerby
EFR's effort to show off his climbing skills would...
Using Tiger Style to climb the 12- seam in the Chessapeak area.
Using Tiger Style to climb the 12- seam in the Che...
The crimpin' Catalonian on the uber classic Serfs Up 5.12-
The crimpin' Catalonian on the uber classic Serfs ...
Jim and Erica Nappin' on the ledge of the Rampart.
Jim and Erica Nappin' on the ledge of the Rampart.
"Don't worry, I have you on (hip) belay"
"Don't worry, I have you on (hip) belay"
Maite cruises Gamesmanship 5.10-, off the King's Rampart.  <br />The rope hanging out across the wall to the right is on Serfs Up.
Maite cruises Gamesmanship 5.10-, off the King's R...
Fun at the Rampart.  Climber crossing the Draw Bridge to reach the comfy belay ledge at the start of King's Crystal 5.12 and Serfs Up 5.12-
BETA PHOTO: Fun at the Rampart. Climber crossing the Draw Bri...
Jesse getting close to the redpoint of Kings Arete.
Jesse getting close to the redpoint of Kings Arete...
Peter Noebels on new route at the ..... area.  It is part of the show and tell only area we sport bolters are trying to keep trad climbers from ruining.
Peter Noebels on new route at the ..... area. It ...
Joe Lee on the classic 11-, Two Kings and A Pawn.
Joe Lee on the classic 11-, Two Kings and A Pawn.
Jesse Schultz working Kings Arete 13-
Jesse Schultz working Kings Arete 13-
Placing gear on the upper part of the seam.
Placing gear on the upper part of the seam.
EFR quits Flogging the Bishop (5.12) in his morning warm-up two days after sending his "Kings Arete" (5.13). <br /> <br />(video freeze frame)
EFR quits Flogging the Bishop (5.12) in his mornin...
Approach
BETA PHOTO: Approach
Comments on Chessman Area Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 2, 2014
By 1Eric Rhicard
May 18, 2008

Jimbo is only poking fun at some guys who seem to be isolating themselves in a canyon up north near the town of Pine. He tried to pawn this area off on some other folks the other knight but they felt that they were being rooked. He tried to tell them they could be king and queen of the castle but they were not buying his game. They said they wouldn't believe what Jim said if he was the bishop. Any way you should check it out mate there are lots of good moves to be made at the Super Mega Secret Show And Tell Only Area!

By Jimbo
May 20, 2008

You'll never feel rooked at the Super Mega Secret area. We always have a royal good time here.

By jbak
Jul 11, 2008

I got forked once.

By eMurdock
From: Tucson, Arizona
Oct 23, 2008

Erica B. redpointed Helium (5.12) at the Chessman today!! Another 12 for the tribe.

By Andrew McCallister
From: Denver
Mar 17, 2009

This area sounds like one I know from Squeezing the Lemmon?

By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Mar 17, 2009

Hehe If Eric M's post from 5 months ago doesn't spell it out enough, I don't know what would.

I kinda liked EFR's hiding-in-plain-sight approach better though.

By Neill Prohaska
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 28, 2010

Hmm...if some simple deduction and typing in the query "chessman" here at MP reveals the super uber secret area, it's not so super uber secret, now is it? Why this silliness anyway?

By 1Eric Rhicard
Apr 28, 2010

Jimbo is poking fun at the boys in Isolation Canyon.

By Neill Prohaska
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 29, 2010

Thanks! Just out of curiosity, why is the Chessman area not here on MP?

By Erock
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 30, 2010

haha I know where this place is. Definitely wanna go back...so when is the secret going to be let out?

By Jimbo
Apr 30, 2010

The secrete will be revealed as soon as the Isolation Canyon lads do a topo and tell people where that area is.
Or when Rhicard publishes the new Lemmon Guide book, which ever comes first.

By Neill Prohaska
From: Tucson, AZ
May 2, 2010

Well...at least it's not too hard to figure out where Isolation Canyon is... Someone just needs to do some reconn, I suppose... www.toddshikingguide.com/Hikes/Arizona/Tonto/Tonto13.htm

By A.P.T.
From: Truckee,Ca
Jun 1, 2010

Almost all newer routes have been posted here in the chessman area. Maybe some will be saved for the newer edition to "Squeezing The Lemmon?

By 1Eric Rhicard
Jul 10, 2012

Not sure where Nathan got his information but I just talked to the folks at the Catalina Ranger District (Mt. Lemmon) and the FOREST IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT CLOSED. There are fire restrictions.

By Hendrixson
Administrator
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 10, 2012

The comment was originally posted under Isolation Canyon (150 miles north of here). I'm no sure why it is showing up here.

By Bane
From: Flagstaff AZ
Dec 13, 2012

Hey I recently climbed a route on the queen formation perhaps??? It was located next to two routes that share a start. The climb was long and broken up half way by a ledge with a single perma-draw. It continued up a groove/shallow dihedral and pulled a bulge right before the anchors. Anybody know what route this is?

By 1Eric Rhicard
Dec 13, 2012

Is it up there on the wall next to the thin seems with the orange rock? You know the one that starts above the ledge with the bushes? You know the one with the carabiners and quick links at the anchors. A little more info would help. Except for the chain draw you just described half a dozen routes there. You might start by looking at the overhead in SQ II on page 44 so you know if you were on the Queen or not.

Is it left or right of the two routes that start the same? Is it to the right of the trail that leads up to the wall? But thinking about the Queen, I think there are 4 of 5 routes that have the same start. The only one I can remember having a chain draw is on the far right just before the big alcove gully. This climb starts on Handmaiden 5.10 (has a belay bolt with a small plate that has 101 ft. stamped on it) then works right. There is a hard move over a roof. Seem to remember a chain draw being on that one as it was hard to clip just the bolt. Can't remember the name off hand but do recall that it was 11+ or so. If Jimbo doesn't chime in with a name I will look it up when I get to my office.

By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Dec 13, 2012

The 11- just left of Flogging the Bishop/Heelium??? (ie far left end of the Bishop). Don't believe those two share a start but it could certainly look that way at first glance.

Can't remember whether it had a chain draw for cleaning or not, but since it leans left the whole way, would make sense if it did.

Not shown on my topo so don't know what it's called.

By 1Eric Rhicard
Dec 13, 2012

Cornickopia has a chain draw half way down in order to make cleaning easier.

By Thays
Nov 27, 2013

so where is Chessman then? Why flaunt pictures of the area and then withhold the location... pretty lame in my book. If your gonna keep it secret, keep it secret.

By Jimbo
Nov 27, 2013

Tyler, everyone, but you I guess, knows where the chessman is now. We originally posted it as a "super secrete area" as a tongue and cheek response to the Isolation Canyon developers. They posted loads of pics but kept the location secrete for quite sometime.

Anyway the first pullout on the right about a quarter mile past the 7 Cataracts Vista parking area is where you park for the Chessman. Just follow the drainage and trail straight up from the pullout. Lots of good climbs of all grades. Stays shady till 2:00 or so this time of year. So go late or wait for a warm day.

Cheers

By Thays
Nov 27, 2013

Thanks there Jimbo... not from here. Just lookin to climb while Im out here and found the description for this area obnoxious.

cheers

By jaspur
From: tucson,az
May 2, 2014

went out today to scout the crag. does anyone have a detailed topo? i was a little confused as to which route is which. beautiful area. cant wait to get on it and climb. the kings rampart is cool. super creative belay station. what routes start from that spot?