For the moment, access to this area by climbers should be from a temporary trailhead/parking area that is located near the old Morrell's Wall Parking Lot area. From there, the new Tom's Thumb Trail leads up toward Morrells Wall, Gardeners Wall and on to Tom's Thumb. Please look for, and use designated climber access trails.
This information is a public crowdsourcing effort between the Access Fund,
and Mountain Project. You should confirm closures, restrictions, and/or related dates.
Tom's Thumb is a prominent 140-foot plug of desert granite that perches atop the McDowell Mountains ridgeline. It is visible from miles in all directions. Originally called "The Dork" by the old time Phoenix climbers, it was rechristened Tom's Thumb in honor of climber Tom Kreuser back in the day.
The rock and the routes on Tom's Thumb are mostly in the excellent range. The harder routes here are some of the best you'll find on any granite crag in the Phoenix area. Because of the slightly burly approach, and the general notion that granite climbing is out of style these days in Phoenix, you're not likely to have to share any routes while visiting the Thumb.
Beautiful, incredibly classic place to climb.
Approach as for Gardener's Wall parking, but pick out a trail through the desert aiming for a drainage leading straight down the hillside from the Thumb. Watch out for snakes in the warm times of the year!
A nice day of moderate climbing can also be done by approaching Gardener's Wall, climbing a route to the top, and then downclimbing off the back and hiking up to Tom's Thumb for more fun!
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Tom's Thumb:
This is the obvious upper offwidth crack on the West side of the N. face of Toms Thumb. The first pitch climbs a nice hand crack with good pro 5.7 that progessively gets easier up some face and crack to an alcolve roof directly below the upper offwidth section a good belay can be found here. Next P2 Traverse left onto the face "very exciting" and continue up to the wicked exposed and scary offwidth "grand fun" maybe pro with a 3.5 and a 4 camalot although we found ourselves moving up a 4 with so...[more]Browse More Classics in AZ
Update: New Access for North Area of McDowells In May we reported on the recent success of the Arizona Mountaineering Club (AMC) and local Arizona climbers in working with the City of Scottsdale to open the north area of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve to climbing. Part of the climbing management plan requires that climbers use official parking areas and designated trails, which the local climbing community is currently working to establish. The AMC is pleased to report that the new Tomís Thumb trail is now open and can be accessed from a temporary parking area in the general vicinity of Morrell's Parking Lot, where the permanent parking will eventually be located.
For more information on the Tomís Thumb Trail and designated access to the other historic climbing crags in the area, visit the Arizona Mountaineering Club's website.