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*Oak Creek Canyon

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*Oak Creek Canyon Rock Climbing 


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Location: 34.9524, -111.7543 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 65,625
Administrators: Greg Opland, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on May 27, 2008
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Sterling Pass from the air!

Description 

Oak Creek Canyon is a Grand Daddy of Mogollon Rim drainages! This expansive canyon takes root in Flagstaff, but really starts just south of town in beautiful Pumphouse Wash. Oak Creek Canyon runs all the way down until it opens up at the entry of Munds Canyon from the east rim, and empties into Sedona. This canyon holds a myriad of side canyons, sub drainages, and a staggering amount of stone, climbing, exploration, and adventure to be had right off the heals of HWY 89.

Rock Climbing Photo: Anne Mariah Tapp on the Second Ascent of the Golde...
Anne Mariah Tapp on the Second Ascent of the Golden Sweater, The Odyssey Wall.

Photo blakemccordphoto.com


There really is something for everyone in this canyon, starting out with the treasure of moderate traditional climbs to be found at the The Overlook. If you are learning to place gear, and get some leads under your belt, this is a fantastic area to create a foundation. Also a wonderful place to rip through them and enjoy the view for a day. Moderates hold the majority. I have moved this area to the *Flagstaff Crags Section due to it's proximity to town. Though this area clearly marks the entrance from the north, into Oak Creek Canyon.

Rock Climbing Photo: Youngharz on the exposed moves out to the arete on...
Youngharz on the exposed moves out to the arete on Angels Delight, The Overlook.


If you are looking for sport routes, then you have the options of The Doctor's Office which is the only "sport" crag in the canyon, or exploring the depths of Pumphouse Wash for more scattered moderate sport routes. Though the sandstone is soft, there are some excellent routes to discover, and some out of the way CLASSIC lines to track down.

Rock Climbing Photo: Free Refills 5.10, The Doctors Office Such an uniq...
Free Refills 5.10, The Doctors Office
Such an unique route!

Photo Credit to Moe Lauchert! moelauchert.com/


Pumphouse Wash, now listed under Flagstaff Crags, is also the stunning showcase of the The Ultimates these lines are a fabled collection of cherished, traditional routes that will test the best, up to 5.12+ fingers, and some burly offwidth if you are so inclined.... Lately some new multi pitch moderates have also been added. There is a lot to see down there, and some excellent "hot summer" swimming holes as well.

Rock Climbing Photo: Darren Mabe on the FFA  of Twist Of Fate 5.12, The...
Darren Mabe on the FFA of Twist Of Fate 5.12, The Ultimates Area, Pumphouse Wash.
Photo: Blake McCord


*The Waterfall now has well over 100 trad routes, with the majority of them going down in the 5.10+ through 5.13 range.You can expect splitter cracks, steep jug hauls, and very thin technical lines.The climbing really starts at solid 5.10 trad, and only gets exponentially better from there! Bring a 70M rope, a robust rack including a triple set of TCUs, and your game! Not a place for the faint of heart.

Rock Climbing Photo: Colin Cox on the 'all or nothing' redpoint crux of...
Colin Cox on the 'all or nothing' redpoint crux of There Will Be Blood 5.12+, The Waterfall.


And, on top of all that, if you want to get in a superb sandstone bouldering session, The Anvil Boulders are a collection of wonderful and rare blocks all conveniently (or maybe not so because of the creek crossing?) located 200 yards on the East side of Oak Creek just a hop and skip drive north out of Sedona. V-easy to V-super-hard- inspiring! Some very cool steep lines! Find this area in the *Bouldering Northern Arizona section.

Rock Climbing Photo: Shot taken by Ian Kiersey.
Shot taken by Ian Kiersey.


Oak Creek Canyon is a treasure to many, and a focal point to climbers in this area for harboring a wide variety of crags, which can be intimidating, but also accessible year round, if you play your cards right. It is an awesome place to visit, and climb in, and an arduous place to explore off the beaten path! Watch out for tourists, rattle snakes, rock fall, hard approaches- and mellow ones, slow drivers (with their cameras stuck outside the window), soft sandstone, hard sandstone, and impeccable stone as well!

There is obviously much more to be found in this expansive canyon than is listed here.... Be ready to "earn your burns", and engage with an environment that always seems to be coming after you! Yah, you personally....

An intriguing landscape!

Getting There 

Take 89 south from Flagstaff, or north from Sedona.

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.0 miles from here

203 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',42],['3 Stars',124],['2 Stars',30],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',4],['5.9',5],['5.10',41],['5.11',80],['5.12',61],['5.13',11],['>=5.14',1],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in *Oak Creek Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for *Oak Creek Canyon:
Smilin' Jay   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
Black and Tan   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
The Sword   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
Spite and Malice   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
Vertebrae   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
Lord Humongous   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
Natural Enhancement   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
False Prophet   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
Resurrection   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
Double Helix   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
The Chronic   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
Heart and Soul   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   Sterling Pass
Super Chronic   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
American Caesar   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
Valhalla   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 6 pitches, 600'   Insomnia Canyon
11:11 (AKA "Welcome to the Waterfall")   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
A Wonderful Life   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
Terminator   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
There Will Be Blood   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
Where the Wild Things Are   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   West Fork
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in *Oak Creek Canyon

Featured Route For *Oak Creek Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: Jess L. making her way towards Lord Humungous.

Lord Humongous 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c  AZ : Northern Arizona : ... : *The Main Amphitheater
"And you will know my name is The Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon thee! " This striking finger splitter to hands/fist crack is as good as jamming gets here for the grade, and is on the easier side of 5.11.... Another striking all natural gear line. Just to the right of Black and Tan. Work your way up to the splitter by either climbing the start of Black and Tan, or you can opt for the more direct start which is a bit headier. Whichever way you start get to the splitter finger crack which win...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of *Oak Creek Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A general overview of the layout of the Oak Creek ...
A general overview of the layout of the Oak Creek ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Oak Creek Canyon, AZ.  March 09.
Oak Creek Canyon, AZ. March 09.
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking across canyon from The Waterfall.
Looking across canyon from The Waterfall.

Comments on *Oak Creek Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
By Dean Hoffman
Jul 8, 2014
CONDITION REPORT 
While y'all likely know that access in Oak Creek Canyon has been shut down for the immediate future as far as I know Sterling Pass will be climb able when they reopen the road.... There has been some confusion regarding reports of burns in Sterling Canyon, as far as I can tell Sterling Canyon and Sterling Pass are not the same.... If anyone has clarification on that it would be appreciated!
By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 8, 2014
Hey Dean, Sterling Canyon runs into Oak Creek right at the switchbacks, just above the hatchery. It was a densely chocked canyon, more of a steep ravine really. Hiked it down from the rim once, and only once. I know why they had a hell of time fighting the fire in this area....

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