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.
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.
Start matched on the head high obvious main jug/flake at the prow of the main upper boulder. Go up to big jugs and top out. There are many variations to this. Use good crash pads and spotters as the landing could be nasty!...[more]Browse More Classics in AZ
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.
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?
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)
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.
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!!!
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.
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.