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Gate's Pass

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Big Bulge Easy 
Big Undercling 
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Gunfight Slab Center 
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Hidden Traverse 
Left Arete, Small Upper 
Left dihedral Bulge Variation 
Left-Right Traverse - Small Upper Boulder 
Lower N. Face Traverse 
Main Upper Prow Jug to Left 
Main Upper Prow Jug to Right 
Middle Inside Corner, Lower 
Negative, The 
No Feet Traverse 
North Arete - Big Lower Boulder 
Northwest Arete  
Northwest Face - Big Lower Boulder 
One Move Wonder 
Right Dihedral 
Roof Problem 
Scary Fall of Death 
Unnamed Upper Boulder V5 

Gate's Pass 


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Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Jul 26, 2002
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Self portrait on an easy (V0-) but aestheic arete.

Description 

Gate's Pass, best known for its spectacular sunsets, is also your best bet for some bouldering close to downtown Tucson. The area containing the boulders, while not part of Gate's Pass proper, is actually quite nice in the winter months.

There are enough boulders close to the road to keep you busy for a day, with established problems from V0 to V7. There are likely many more problems to be found, depending on how far uphill you are willing to walk. One can only assume that the short season and abundance of better rock on Mt Lemmon has limited climber's interest here. Still it's a nice place to spend a day when temps are right.

Gate's Pass provides a great opportunity to climb in a true Sonoran Desert setting, among some of the best saguaro stands in the world. It is also thick with evil jumping cholla and rattlesnakes, so be extra careful, especially with pets around. Don't forget to stick around for the sunset!

For a topo and handful of established problems, see the Arizona section at www.drtopo.com. Photos can be viewed at www.tucsonbouldering.com. You can also pick up a copy of tyler McMillen's new Tucson Bouldering guidebook at Summit Hut.


Getting There 

Driving time 15 min. from Downtown Tucson.From Tucson, drive west on Speedway Blvd into the Tucson Mountains. Drive past Gate's Pass and down the steep hill. Park at the second pullout on the right or left.

The boulders should be visible from the road. They are located on the south side of the road (your left driving down from Gates Pass). Find trails leading up hill to the boulders. Please stick to established trails.


25 Total Routes


['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',7],['2 Stars',15],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',0],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',3],['V2-3',10],['V4-5',8],['V6-7',4],['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 Gate's Pass:
Gunfight Slab Center   V0 4 PG13     Boulder, 25'   
Big Bulge Easy   V0 4     Boulder   
Left-Right Traverse - Small Upper Boulder   V1 5     Boulder, 20'   
Big Undercling   V1 5     Boulder   
Main Upper Prow Jug to Left   V4 6B     Boulder   
Broken Rubber   V6 7A     Boulder   
One Move Wonder   V7 7A+     Boulder   
Browse More Classics in Gate's Pass

Featured Route For Gate's Pass
The Negative climbs up the faint arch to the left of the streak.

The Negative V2+ 5+  AZ : Southern Arizona : ... : Gate's Pass
Start right of a bush, at the bottom of the arch feature. Move out right to hold under mini-roof, then up. There is a cool vertical slash on the upper face that makes for a great hold if you get the body position correct. Loads of great feet on this one so there goes that excuse....[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of Gate's Pass Slideshow Add Photo
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Upper boulders, hardish looking traverse. (This is the start.) PHOTO BY HILLARY DAVIS.
Upper boulders, hardish looking traverse. (This is...
Saguaro Photo by Caleb
Saguaro Photo by Caleb
more at night
more at night
Unknown boulderers at Gates Pass
Unknown boulderers at Gates Pass
gates pass night bouldering
gates pass night bouldering
night climbing
night climbing
night  <br />
night
West face of the big lower boulder.
BETA PHOTO: West face of the big lower boulder.
Son of Broken Rubber, NW face.
BETA PHOTO: Son of Broken Rubber, NW face.
Mono Face and the roof boulder. These are adjacent to the upper boulders to the SW.
BETA PHOTO: Mono Face and the roof boulder. These are adjacent...
Really nice boulder a couple washes over from the main lower boulders.
Really nice boulder a couple washes over from the ...
North face of the Broken Rubber Boulder (left), north face and arete of the Main Lower Boulder (right).
BETA PHOTO: North face of the Broken Rubber Boulder (left), no...
night sky at gates
night sky at gates
Other Upper Boulder, south side. This is a panoramic image, so the right side of the image is slightly distorted. You get the point.
BETA PHOTO: Other Upper Boulder, south side. This is a panoram...
Calvin on a fun (but lowball) traverse on the left side of the Upper Boulders. Jan 09.
Calvin on a fun (but lowball) traverse on the left...
long exposure at night
long exposure at night
Short Western, located just west of the upper boulders. Only about 10 feet tall, but it's more climbing.
BETA PHOTO: Short Western, located just west of the upper boul...
Broken Rubber Boulder, east face.
BETA PHOTO: Broken Rubber Boulder, east face.
Way Upper Boulder, east side.
BETA PHOTO: Way Upper Boulder, east side.
Son of Broken Rubber Boulder, north side.
BETA PHOTO: Son of Broken Rubber Boulder, north side.
Split Boulder, east face.
BETA PHOTO: Split Boulder, east face.
Son of Broken Rubber, east overhang.
BETA PHOTO: Son of Broken Rubber, east overhang.
Angie climbing at the Upper Boulders. Jan 09.
Angie climbing at the Upper Boulders. Jan 09.
Other Upper Boulder, west side. Traverse from left to right. Staying lower is a little harder and easier to dab.
BETA PHOTO: Other Upper Boulder, west side. Traverse from left...
Way Upper Boulder <br />8 on the Topo.
Way Upper Boulder
8 on the Topo.
Mono Face
BETA PHOTO: Mono Face
Lower Boulders @ Gate's Pass
BETA PHOTO: Lower Boulders @ Gate's Pass
Way Upper Boulder, north face. This panoramic image is very foreshortened making the boulder look much shorter than it actually is.
BETA PHOTO: Way Upper Boulder, north face. This panoramic imag...
Gate's Pass Upper Boulders
BETA PHOTO: Gate's Pass Upper Boulders
Way Upper Boulder, south side.
BETA PHOTO: Way Upper Boulder, south side.
Gates Pass Bouldering <br /> <br />1. Main Lower Boulder <br />2. Broken Rubber Boulder <br />3. X Boulder <br />4. Son of Broken Rubber <br />5. Other Upper Boulder <br />6. Mono Face <br />7. Roof Boulder <br />8. Short Western <br />9. Way Upper <br />10. Split Boulder <br />11. Gunfight Boulder
BETA PHOTO: Gates Pass Bouldering

1. Main Lower Boulder
2. Br...
Lower Boulder
Lower Boulder
Comments on Gate's Pass Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 10, 2012
By eMurdock
From: Tucson, Arizona
Nov 11, 2005

Someone placed two bolts on top of the large upper boulder with the sweet overhanging section. These boulders have been climbed for a LONG time without these bolts. The advent of pads has made the landings safer so there is absolutely no need to toprope a 12 foot boulder. Beside the fact that there is no need for these bolts, they are poorly placed and are both spinners. I am certainly not against bolts, but these are lame and unnecessary. If you really want a TR, you could sling the boulder or use a slingshot setup. If you have placed these bolts, please remove them. I will bring a wrench with me next time I go out to Gates Pass and the hangers will be re-used on Mt. Lemmon or the Stronghold.

By jbak
Feb 15, 2006

Bob Murray put a bolt on top about 25 years ago.

By eMurdock
From: Tucson, Arizona
Feb 17, 2006

Jon, are you thinking of the lower boulder? Regardless, the newest set of bolts on the upper boulder were not where Murray placed bolts and they were half hanging out of the rock. Have you seen them for yourself?

By jbak
Feb 17, 2006

Oh, yeah, lower boulder. Reading comprehension > me.

By brad schierer
Jul 24, 2006

i agree, the bolts should be chopped.

By Andrew Ryder
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Sep 6, 2007

Some of the OTD routes on the big lower boulder can be toproped using the bolt mentioned above; access it easily by scrambling up the south (far) side of the boulder.

By Derek Anderson
From: Tucson,AZ
Sep 15, 2009

i have to agree about chopping/removing the bolts/anchors at the top of the upper section, I was there with my lil brothers and friends and they wanted to TR there, I had my rope with me to TR the lower part on the way down , and had to explain it wasnt safe to TR with those bolts/anchors....
Lower however, I think is fun place to TR newbie climbers and or children* ( the lower part anchors are placed well enough)

By CaseyK
From: Tucson, Az
Apr 16, 2010

Here is a link for the topo.
www.drtopo.com/xarizona/gatespass.pdf

By Dwook
Jun 9, 2010

Be careful of Scorpions...I was checking out a problem looking over at my friend and then I looked back and a tiny scorpion was half an inch from my hand going for it...Also there are birds that nest in the pockets. Usually whenever I go there now I check every pocket before climbing...I suggest you do this. Also, like the intro said watch for snakes.

By Trey Lewis
From: Glendale, Az
Apr 13, 2011

PACK IT IN, PACK IT OUT!!! This is something everyone should abide too. I went to Gates today and I found 5 empty gatorade bottles laying around the lower boulders. STOP LEAVING TRASH BEHIND YOU LOSERS!!!

By 1Eric Rhicard
Apr 14, 2011

If you are implying it is other mattress people you could be very wrong. Tons of knuckleheads go there and they are losers but not usually climbers. I think Steiger caught a loser spray painting his name on one of the boulders once and came close to beating the shit out of him. Lucky for both he didn't. Ask him at the slide show on Friday night.

By MarkDonoher
From: Tucson, Arizona
May 13, 2011

Does anyone know much about the Gunfight Boulder? Checked it out today and it seemed like there were some nice lines and was wondering if any of them have been documented anywhere.

By Scott M. McNamara
From: Tucson, Arizona
May 13, 2011

math.fullerton.edu/tmcmillen/TucsonBouldering.pdf

By Chris Prewitt
Feb 10, 2012

The bolts atop the lower boulders are multiplying. There are now 3 new bolts above the main face in addition to the one old 3/8", and 2 new bolts above the slabby west side of the Broken Rubber boulder. Does anyone else find this troubling? Whatever happened to setting up a natural TR if you weren't comfortable with the fall? They must not teach that in school anymore.