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Gloria's is a beautiful maze of boulders and low cliffs of dacite at the foot of Mount Elden, intertwined with caves and surrounded by a cool ponderosa forest. Largely developed by Bob Murray in the 80s, this area has long been a locals' playground, its easy access from downtown Flagstaff making it a popular lunchtime/after-work spot. The climbing tends to be thin and technical, with a good mix of old-school moderates and crimpy testpieces, though several bold modern lines exist. The Elden dacite (a silicic volcanic rock reminiscent of slick granite) is notorious for being rough on the hands, so, prepare accordingly. A lot of the problems are quite tall and landings vary: while some are perfect, others are sketchy or downright scary, and some problems require multiple pads and good, attentive spotters. Many little-trafficked toprope routes exist on the cliffbands and larger boulders - bring an assortment of gear for natural anchors. Climbing at Gloria's is generally best in the spring and fall, though it is fairly easy to chase shade in the summer, and many of the problems outside the caves dry out quickly in the winter. For the adventurous, there is tons of exploring to be had around the caves and upper boulder field.
From downtown Flagstaff: Take San Francisco St. north through downtown until it intercepts Forest Ave. Make a right on Forest, pass Buffalo Park on the left (at some point Forest Ave. turns into Cedar), then make a left on West St. (there is a stoplight with a Safeway shopping center here.) Turn left on Paradise Rd. and park at the end of the cul-de-sac, careful not to block any driveways or mailboxes (this is a neighborhood, be respectful of the residents.) Walk through the fence and navigate the maze of trails, trending generally toward the base of Mt. Elden. Look for a silver metal pipe sticking out of the ground that marks a trail straight to the boulders. Approach about 5 minutes.
Tim Toula's A Cheap Way To Fly includes a bit of information and a topo, which is thorough but might be somewhat confusing for first-time visitors. A CD-R electronic guide is available from Vertical Relief that includes all the major problems with quality topos and color photos.
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Flyswatter V8 7B AZ : Northern Arizona : ... : Bill Boulder
Well-known as a historic Flagstaff area testpiece, and for its use as a benchmark for V8 on Sherman's V-scale. Tip-rending crimps, slick knobs and small footholds lead from the lip of the overhang out the pretty bulge. Cold weather, fresh skin and intuitive footwork will come in handy. Surely one of the state's most classic boulder problems....[more] Browse More Classics in AZ
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