The Praying Monk has probably been climbed by more Phoenix beginners than any other formation in central Arizona, although the advent of gyms and sport climbing has lessened this absolute somewhat over the last ten years. The East Face route, first climbed in 1951 by Phoenix pioneer climber and ex-mayor, Gary Driggs, is the usual route of ascent.
If you wonder how the Monk got it's name, climb it late some sunny afternoon, and look down to the east to see the "praying monks" shadow.
This squat tower of petrified mud perches quite obviously on a northern shoulder of Camelback Mountain to the east of the Echo Canyon parking lot. Take the standard hiking trail up to the Headwall, then you'll have to ascend one of the Headwall routes to get up onto the plateau where the Monk resides.
This was the first climb I ever did (other than the headwall, which my friend made me solo on my first time climbing). It used to have 3-4 manky bolts in the late eighties/early nineties (which I'm sure Greg Opland can attest to), and the free rappel is always fun to bring the first-timers on. If you want, there is a cave on the back (north) side of the monk's head that you can hang out in - which I did many times as a kid. Bring a beginner up here and they will be hooked.
Anytime someone wants to climb this real quick - Im game. I work right there and can be there by 3 ... plenty of enough time to get up and down...and the walk down is usually a site cooler than the start...Hit me