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The Waterfall

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Double Clutching Wall, The 
Gravity Wall 
Left Wall, The 
Main Amphitheater, The 
Right Wall, The 

The Waterfall  


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Elevation: 6,000'
Location: 34.93138, -111.7334 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 197,962
Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on Jun 14, 2009
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Columbine at the base of Giardia Crack, Left Wall....

Description 

"It was a kid in a candy store story. Moving to Flagstaff from the SF Bay Area, I just thought all the good rock had been climbed. Putting up routes at the Waterfall freed my mind, and allowed me to go and succeed on routes I otherwise would have never tried to lead at the Forks... All the dangerous ones."

Darren Singer


Over the last twenty years the Waterfall has quietly become one of the most concentrated selections of hard traditional climbing in the US. This broad basalt amphitheater is stacked with splitter cracks, nervy gear protected face climbing, and wild mixed lines. It is a powerful place which commands respect from many, and is considered world class in the single pitch trad game. Most of the lines stretch to a hundred feet or more, and are equipped with modern anchors.


The crag namesake, pumping hard, spring 2010!
The crag namesake, pumping hard, spring 2010!


The first known route at the Waterfall was done by local legends Tim Toula and John Gault in 1981. The route was No Feelings, and at 5.10+ this steep hands crack still delivers to this day. Several other routes went in during the middle 80s, but it would be some ten years before the Waterfall would start to take shape.

In the early nineties a young Darren Singer arrived on the scene, and took a good assessment of the place. In a span of just a few years, and with the help of Daniel Miller and Jason Keith, they established a good majority of the routes on the Left Wall, and some other well known routes on the Right Wall. It was a productive time with classic crack lines such as Black and Tan 5.10+, Spite and Malice 5.10+, Giardia Crack 5.11+, Locks of Dread 5.12, and The Terminator 5.12 were all opened up for business.


getting a piece in at the roof on the ever classic...
getting a piece in at the roof on the ever classic No Feelings 5.10+


It would be another ten some years before the next flurry of development. In early 2000, Dan Foster, JJ Schlick, and Seth Dyer started looking closer at the undone lines on the Right Wall. There they discovered positive edges, perfect solution pockets, and wavering thin cracks that all added up to some serious climbing of a more technical nature. Toe grinding classics such as Soldier Of Fortune 5.11-, American Cesar 5.12-, Full Steam Ahead 5.12-, A Wonderful Life 5.12, and Sweet Dreams 5.12+ R, and more were all added to a growing list of burly routes.

David Bloom on Rough Around the Edges 5.11
David Bloom on Rough Around the Edges 5.11


Another stretch of years would roll by before James Q Martin, Wade Forrest, and JJ would set their focus on tapping into the Main Amphitheater. The first new route to go up in here was Fade To Black 5.12. A gripping, and all around classic mixed pitch, with a true test 5.11+ #00 TCU stem crux, followed by overhanging 'Waterfallness'. After this pitch was completed, it was obvious that any solid feature up this wall would be stellar, and so it was to be. A few of the modern classics include The Darkest Hour 5.11-, Dark Arts 5.11, False Prophet 5.11+, Death And Taxes 5.11+, Fade to Black 5.12, and There Will Be Blood 5.12+.

Dan Foster onsighting the second ascent of Death a...
Dan Foster onsighting the second ascent of Death and Taxes. A timeless sports action pitch.


And the Development continues to this day with David Bloom, John Crawley, Joel Unema, and others as they uncover more excellent pitches hidden in the folds of these giant columns. Some of the insta-classics to fall in the last couple years include Inz and Outz 5.12, In A Blunt 5.12, Wolverine 5.13-, Thin Faith 5.13, and The Trident 5.13-, and Joel's latest test piece Gemini Dragon Fire 5.13+ which now holds the coveted spot of being NAZ most difficult, all gear trad line. Amazing hard lines, and I don't think they are done yet...

Joel Unema on the FFA of Walking Far From Home.
Joel Unema on the FFA of Walking Far From Home.


The Waterfall is truly an exceptional crag, and home to over a 100 trad routes on good to excellent columnar basalt. Though there are a few scattered moderates, the climbing here really starts at solid 5.10, and there are 25+ pitches in the grade. Stepping into the 5.11 dreamland often brings thin gear, steep jamming, hard stemming, or otherwise serious cranking. There are 40+ pitches in the grade. The 5.12 climbing at the Waterfall is really special, and if you like the harder routes at Paradise Forks, then you are in for a treat here. There are 30+ pitches in the grade, many of which are plenty steep enough to log some flight time...if need be, of course. On top of all that there are also several 5.13 trad lines here that are long, thin, and some of the burliest trad climbing in the greater Flagstaff/Sedona area.

The layout of this crag here on MP will differ a bit from other published guides. Instead of having a plethora of "walls" with vague boundaries, I opted for the more streamlined layout you see here. The approach deposits you in the middle of the Main Amphitheater. The Left Wall (which includes the Tombstone Area, The Pinnacle Area, and The Sword Area) is on the climber's left as you face the falls, and faces east. The Right Wall (aka The Fall Wall) is on the climber's right, and faces west. To get to the Double Clutching Wall walk two minutes down the Right Wall until you round a very conspicuous corner. The Gravity Wall is just a bit past the DCW. We started using this method in the late nineties, and it works well. Like other crack concentrated areas, once you figure out where a few pitches are, it is relatively easy to locate the others in relation.

A cool aspect of the area is that each wall has it's own unique flavor of trad climbing.

The Left Wall boasts some truly amazing cracks. Be ready with fat racks, masochistic hands/fingers, strong toes, and a sense of adventure!

The Main Amphitheater is both intriguing, and intimidating with it's bulging crown of steep rock. Many of the routes here are mixed, both gear and bolts, which opens up some spectacular terrain.

The Right Wall is a mostly vertical collection of thinner lines with more technical cruxes. You can expect to find excellent crimps and gas pockets which make otherwise impossibly smooth sections of rock climbable. The harder routes on this wall require thin gear, and the ability to place it well and quickly. The Right Wall also has several excellent warmups.

The Double Clutching Wall boasts the most amount of sun, and a slew of striking finger crack pitches. This south facing wall is a nice place to hang when the temps are on the cool side, and the winds are soft. This area also boasts the most amount of protection from random rockfall.

These days it is a real advantage to bring a good 70M rope. Though many of the routes here are within 90-105 feet tall, there are many that are indeed longer, including such classics as Spite and Malice and No Feelings. And you wouldn't want to miss out on those little trips through time.

Many, but not all of the anchors do have biners on them. Please leave them as the anchor may be specifically set up for them. If one is worn past your comfort level, just leave one of yours, and chalk one up for the community at large.


ALSO, I CAN NOT STRESS ENOUGH THE DANGER OF THIS AREA IN WET CONDITIONS. The top layer of choss that rings the entire cliff is extremely loose. One can encounter random rock fall on perfect days because of a stiff breeze or birds, but to be up there in rain, or even after a good soaking is not a good idea. At least not at the base of the routes. I have personally watched 100' wide sections of choss fall from well above the routes. If you have a helmet, this is a good place to bring it. I have been inches away from being clobbered several times.

Getting There 

Drive 4 or 5 miles north from Sedona along Oak Creek on highway 89A til you pass Encinoso Picnic Area on the west side and look for small (5- 6) car pullout on the east side of the hwy. From this parking area the crag can be seen up on the eastern side of Oak Creek Canyon. Clamber down to the creek, boulder hop across it, then hike a minute up creek to locate the large drainage with a sandstone spillway. There may be cairns, maybe not. Stay in this drainage for the rest of the hike up. Approx 30 minute stairmaster approach.

Climbing Season



Weather station 2.6 miles from here

121 Total Routes

['4 Stars',27],['3 Stars',72],['2 Stars',19],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',1],['5.9',0],['5.10',22],['5.11',51],['5.12',38],['5.13',9],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Waterfall:
Black and Tan   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Main Amphitheater
The Sword   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   The Left Wall
Spite and Malice   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   The Left Wall
The Bootlegger   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 110'   The Right Wall
Natural Enhancement   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   The Right Wall
Lord Humongous   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Main Amphitheater
False Prophet   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   The Main Amphitheater
Vertebrae   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   The Left Wall
Double Helix   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   The Double Clutching Wall
Resurrection   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   The Right Wall
11:11 (AKA "Welcome to the Waterfall")   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   The Double Clutching Wall
American Caesar   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Right Wall
Super Chronic   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   The Double Clutching Wall
A Wonderful Life   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   The Right Wall
Terminator   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Left Wall
Logic Bomb   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 110'   The Main Amphitheater
Pyrrhic Victory   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 105'   The Left Wall
Slaughterfall   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, 100'   The Left Wall
Inz and Outz   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   The Left Wall
There Will Be Blood   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   The Main Amphitheater
Browse More Classics in The Waterfall

Featured Route For The Waterfall
Mike Barroso at the crux on his impressive second ...

Slaughterfall 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b  AZ : Northern Arizona : ... : The Left Wall
Slaughterfall climbs the blunt face and prow right of flash flood. Start as Flash flood, moving right after about 25 feet to clip the first of a few bolts. Continue up the face onto a nice slab. from the top of the slab, gaze up at the improbable face above and summon your creativity, balance, and tenacity for the run to the chains. Beautiful moves on immaculate stone with awesome new-school waterfall features. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Local Information for The Waterfall
Photos of The Waterfall Slideshow Add Photo
The Waterfall area after storm.
The Waterfall area after storm.
The crag namesake, pumping hard, spring 2010!
The crag namesake, pumping hard, spring 2010!
Oak Creek Waterfall in full flow. March 2008
Oak Creek Waterfall in full flow. March 2008
A shot of the Waterfall Area, showing the Left Wal...
A shot of the Waterfall Area, showing the Left Wal...
Two of my best partners at the waterfall, Barley a...
Two of my best partners at the waterfall, Barley a...
another pretty shot of our little, local eden....
another pretty shot of our little, local eden....
The base of the falls, spring, 2010.
The base of the falls, spring, 2010.
The Main Amphitheater, Right Wall, and Double Clut...
BETA PHOTO: The Main Amphitheater, Right Wall, and Double Clut...
One reason to be alert on the approach hike to the...
BETA PHOTO: One reason to be alert on the approach hike to the...
the red dot is me on spite and malice
the red dot is me on spite and malice
Updated Beta photo of the left wall with new route...
BETA PHOTO: Updated Beta photo of the left wall with new route...
Chris on Smilin Jay (climb follows crack left of t...
Chris on Smilin Jay (climb follows crack left of t...
The remains of the old anchor off of Natural Enhan...
The remains of the old anchor off of Natural Enhan...
Fall Colors
Fall Colors
As far as I know, this is the last bit of true old...
As far as I know, this is the last bit of true old...
q shooting jj on dark arts
q shooting jj on dark arts
Keith finishing False Prophet 11d; it begins with ...
Keith finishing False Prophet 11d; it begins with ...
The Waterfall, trickling.
The Waterfall, trickling.
  A swollen Oak Creek and the beginning of the app...
A swollen Oak Creek and the beginning of the app...
The Left wall and Oak Creek Canyon!
The Left wall and Oak Creek Canyon!

Comments on The Waterfall Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 25, 2014
By Josh Janes
Jun 13, 2009
I heart the Super Forks.
By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 11, 2010
Had a great day at the Waterfall today despite finding an unfinished new route of ours stripped of gear, and our "work line" tied in knots... Please have some respect for those that go way out of our way to MAINTAIN, and ADD NEW ROUTES to this area... I really hope this was just a misjudgment on someones part, that doesn't realize that there are new routes going in up here all the time, and occasionally fixed lines and stashed gear will be encountered.
By Dean Hoffman
Dec 12, 2010
JJ, I'm sure I'll talk to you soon but I just wanted to speak up and say in this public venue that I find it quite disheartening that anyone that would frequent the Waterfall would demonstrate such lack of respect. I'm sure some online rabble rouser will try and make a statement about ethics, abandoned gear, or some other such nonsense, so let me try to head that off and say that if you're willing to climb a route that someone else has dedicated so much time and effort to you should recognize that such efforts are not completed in a day and to steal gear and tie ropes in knots is comparable to walking into an artists studio and destroying half painted canvases or smashing the unfinished marble block in a sculptors workshop. This is not a demonstration of ethics, more an expression of poor moral standing and selfish cowardice. To truly make a statement one should claim their actions and stand tall and confident in their views, rather than slink around behind false online monikers or anonymous theft and vandalism. Regardless of ones opinions on "bootied" gear I don't believe anyone could mistake a route in progress for stuck or abandoned gear. I for one find the theft of your gear deplorable and would like to use this online venue to thank you for all your hard work creating high quality, visionary, and highly enjoyable routes in multiple areas. I can only hope that this has been a misguided mistake and that the individual responsible will come forward and apologize. Again, JJ thanks for your hard work and dedication to widening the climbing opportunities in NAZ.
Dean
By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 13, 2010
Thanks Dean... As I was thinking about the situation late saturday night, it dawned on me that whoever left this mess and callously swiped my gear must have had a really bad day, and probably an embarrassing one as well... The evidence does suggest that they tried to climb the route (A more than obvious work in progress!) and got to the wide section and didn't have the gear or the cajones to finish it. Then (I am guessing because of inexperience) they finagled their retreat via our work rope, instead of just leaving gear or a leaver biner behind... The evidence points more to this theory than any other. One way or the other, it is disrespectful and immature at the best, and I won't go into the worst.

IT IS IMPORTANT THAT FOLKS KNOW THAT THERE ARE STILL A LOT OF NEW ROUTES GOING IN AT THIS CRAG! You may encounter a fixed line now and again, as well as, stashed gear. If it is not yours, please don't run off with it. Have some respect for yourself, and others..... Especially if those "others" are the ones who replaced 90% of the old trashy anchors, and continue to put up classic routes out of our love for the game.


By Darren Singer
From: Portland, OR
Feb 12, 2011
Hey Jeremy and Crew! What a job you do as caretakers of such an amazing resource. I often wondered what the 'next generation' would do with this scarcely realized/appreciated destination. Though I haven't been there in years, it is still fresh in my mind.

Nice picture of climber on Terminator here at Mtn Project. I can guess the thoughts going through the leader's head...

Lastly, what a surprise to see a nice high rez shot of someone sending Super Chronic in the climbing mag this month. The Waterfall hits the BIG TIME. I remember watching the boyz "prep" themselves before FA of an aptly-named The Chronic a long time ago...

I am psyched to get back for a visit sometime and see what you guys have done!
By M Sprague
Administrator
From: New England
Feb 25, 2011
This place looks absolutely gorgeous. Sorry to read about the stuff getting lifted. As someone who also does FAs, I know how it is sometimes completely impractical not to sometimes leave fixed ropes up or stash gear. It is usually not at all a case of being disrespectful to an area or other users or a case of laziness. There is absolutely no excuse for somebody to steal stuff like that.
I hope some time to be able to visit this area. The lines look superb and the setting amazing.
By markguycan
From: flagstaff, AZ
Apr 13, 2011
copy of MP topos/descriptions left at the base of Lord Humongous for everyone to use.
By Tim Heid
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Apr 26, 2012
Hi all,

Can someone let me know when the wall is in the sun/shade during the summer? Is it possible to climb some/any sections of the wall in hotter weather?

Thanks!
By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Apr 26, 2012
Hey Tim, The left wall gets morning sun, afternoon shade, and vice versa for the right. Double Cluthing is pretty much sun all the time. We've climbed there through the summer, though the mornings were very early and we were done by 1:00 in the afternoon...
By Tim Heid
From: Scottsdale, AZ
Apr 27, 2012
Great! Thanks for the info JJ and the timely response.
By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 16, 2013
Congratulations to Joel Unema for sending every route on the four major walls of the Waterfall Area! As far as I know he is the first to do so. You're making your people proud Joel.
By JJ Schlick
Administrator
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Aug 5, 2013
The ratings at the Waterfall are on par with other traditional areas throughout Arizona. The Waterfall however has longer crux sections than other basalt areas which make the routes there more sustained, and endurance is often a key factor.
By Robbie Brown
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Oct 17, 2013
Although there is a bit of choss, the quality of the climbing is outstanding even on the 2 star climbs! This is by far the best hard gear-climbing crag i have ever been to. Period!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 22, 2013
Made my first trip to the waterfall today. Met up with Darren, Joel, Karie (sp?), Eric, JJ, and Wade. Clay convinced me to make the trip up from Tucson.

This place is the best single pitch climbing area I have visited other than New River Gorge. Thanks to the many people who spent time to carefully develop this astounding place. I cannot wait to climb here again!!!
By Ryan Pelizzoni
Jan 31, 2014
I think I lost my watch up there last week. If so it should be around brother from another mother. It is a black suunto. If anyone finds it please give a call.
Ryan Pelizzoni
Flagstaff, AZ
918-645-2317
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
23 hours ago
I found a pair of shoes at the Waterfall yesterday. Name them and they're yours. They were at the bottom of the Sword.
By C. Niggemyer
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
22 hours ago
Hi, I think you may have found my shoes! Are they a pair of women's lace up Miuras? Size 42 I believe?