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1 - Lower Highway

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Amateur Hour Crag 
Boot Hill 
Bug Spring Wall 
Business Time Wall 
Choo Choo Rock 
Club Med 
Crags Against Humanity 
Five-Thirteen Wall 
Forgotten Wall, Control Tower & Up The Creek Wall 
Garc Onilom 
Gatehouse, The 
Hairpin Boulders 
Hairpin Turn Area 
Hidden Jewels 
It Cliff 
Lost Wall 
Molino Basin Boulders 
Pinhead Wall 
Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabayashi) Area 
Ruins, The 
Stonewall (aka Airmen Peak) 
Sun Spot Crags 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle Crag 
Wall of the Flying Scorpions 

1 - Lower Highway Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 2,500'
Location: 32.33746, -110.69046 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 65,508
Administrators: Greg Opland, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Jul 11, 2010

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View from Thimble Peak lookout before a monsoon


This area covers climbs from the bottom of the highway (milepost 0) up to Kessler's Corner (milepost 8.6).

The lower portion of the Catalina Highway offers varied climbing in a Sonoran Desert setting. Warm temps among towering saguaro cactus make climbing here a unique experience.

Rock quality in this area tends to be poorer and more varied than higher on the mountain, so take that under consideration. Still, in the winter months, the crags here are hard to beat for climate and accessibility.

Getting There 

Catalina Highway

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.6 miles from here

498 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',86],['2 Stars',256],['1 Star',140],['Bomb',4]

Classic Climbing Routes in 1 - Lower Highway

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for 1 - Lower Highway:
Hammer of Hate   V8 7B     Boulder   Molino Basin Boulders
Guanica   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 2 pitches, 140'   Hairpin Turn Area : Left Hand Wall
Cheers   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Boot Hill
Dragon's Back   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabay... : Dragon Tower
Blood Book   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 60'   Forgotten Wall, Control Tow...
Big Bull   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 90'   Hairpin Turn Area : Backhand Wall
Medicine Bag   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   The Ruins
Virgin's Airline   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 115'   Forgotten Wall, Control Tow...
Go Speed Racer   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 80'   Pinhead Wall
English Breakfast Crack   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Sun Spot Crags
Black Feather   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch   The Ruins
Rosie   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Hairpin Turn Area : Right Hand Wall & Hairpin
It Crack   5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   It Cliff
Armed Robbery   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabay... : Jailhouse Rock
Solar Flare   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Sun Spot Crags
Moms Rock   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 90'   Hairpin Turn Area : Backhand Wall
Crime and Punishment   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch   Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabay... : Jailhouse Rock
Solar E-clips   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Sun Spot Crags
Sentenced To Hang   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 50'   Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabay... : Jailhouse Rock
Jailbreak   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 40'   Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabay... : Jailhouse Rock
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in 1 - Lower Highway

Featured Route For 1 - Lower Highway
Rock Climbing Photo: Canada Eric sends Perfect Storm

Perfect Storm 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a  AZ : Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalin... : ... : Weathertop
Dean and I did this route back in 99 or 2000. never gave it a name and never got back on it until this year. I've lead it twice now and I have to say it's as good as any 5.12 sport route in southern AZ. A hard bouldery start leads to continuously pumpy and tricky moves all the way to the chains. Slightly overhanging with finger friendly holds on great rock. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of 1 - Lower Highway Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: stick and move or bob and weave
stick and move or bob and weave
Rock Climbing Photo: Reachy for me...
Reachy for me...
Rock Climbing Photo: Blinded by the Light (5.10a), Mt. Lemmon
Blinded by the Light (5.10a), Mt. Lemmon

Comments on 1 - Lower Highway Add Comment
Show which comments
By Derek Anderson
From: Tucson,AZ
Dec 27, 2010
Hello fellow Mountainprojectors(ha) Just wondering if anyone could help me find out any beta for an area. The crag is just before the pay station and the pull out everyone shoots at, It has 3 bolted lines up the first face( directly off the road)with various trad slings on other lines in the surrounding area. I see people climb here a lot, but I'm not sure on the beta. Any info would be helpful! Thanks and climb on!
By Jimbo
Dec 29, 2010
Chris Pruitt did these routes I believe. PM him for more info. He also did a bunch of stuff at the Butterfly Wall.
By Chris Prewitt
Jan 2, 2011
I climbed several trad lines on those cliffs but never got around to actually bolting anything, and I think Tony Lusk said they climbed there WAY back in the day. A couple months ago I saw some folks on that wall so I'd expect they placed the hardware. Not sure who it was. What I did climb was fun enough given the amount of effort needed to get to the crag. Rock quality varies greatly.
By Derek Anderson
From: Tucson,AZ
Jan 10, 2011
Cool , thanks for the info. Chris/Jimbo if you get a chance
to try the bolted lines there let us know what you think, ;)
By Jimbo
Jan 11, 2011
EFR and I stopped by several weeks ago and did the 3 bolted lines.

The two on the right were good. Worth the stop for sure. 5.9ish maybe easy .10.

The left hand one was bolted strangly and contrived if you tried to stay one the line of the bolts. Still worth doing but the worst of the 3 for sure. Some 5.10 moving on this one.
By Derek Anderson
From: Tucson,AZ
Jan 17, 2011
cool ty for the info/beta.. I kind of leaned that way on the bolted lines aswell Jim. Seemed the left one was contrived.
By JMo
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 6, 2015
does the left one have you repeatedly returning to blocky holds on the arete and clipping bolts out right, and at one point committing briefly right to a questionable flake with a fingerlock and then an undercling? if so, then i say (at the risk of incurring The Interwebzian Wrath of Jimbo), that i disagree and found it superfun. definitely pull on stuff with caution.
By mikehilbert
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 18, 2015
As yet, the crag in question here (just off the road on the right going downhill from Molino Vista) is still not listed on MP and I'm unable to find any beta beyond this thread. So, I'll throw in my 2 cents...

I found three bolted lines. From left to right, they go 5.10a, 5.9, and 5.6 (imo). Leftmost climb offers a contrived 5.10a first half, then fun juggy climbing above. Middle climb sports a blocky start up to a roof/arete, pulling left around the arete is the fun 5.9 crux (watch crumbly left hand sidepull here - it blew on me). Rightmost climb is a blocky 5.6 that is consistent to the grade the entire way with solid clipping stances making for a good potential first lead. There may be other lines here that I didn't see (since bolts and chains are camoed) but I took a pretty thorough look around.

Some of the rock here is hollow/crumbly and belayers should definitely wear a helmet. Nice camoed bolts and 2 minute approach. Still unsure of who put it up but thanks for bolting and camoing! Curious to know the FA's thoughts on names/ratings for these climbs.

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