Adventure Projects is hiring a web engineer to join us in Boulder, CO
Mountain Project Logo

Areas in The Dry Canyon

1 - Addendum Wall 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
2 - Shallow End 0 / 22 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 22
3 - Spine Cave 0 / 15 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
4 - Superfly Sector 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 11
5 - Bee Cave 0 / 13 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
6 - Swallow Wall 1 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 21
7 - Celebrity Cave 0 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10

Description

Dry Canyon, a.k.a. 'The Dry', is an increasingly popular destination for those seeking moderate to very difficult sport climbing. Located in the Whetstone Mountains north of Sierra Vista, this remote limestone crag is an ideal cool weather playground, being mostly sunny until later in the afternoon. Established routes range from 5.8 to 5.14b, with the overwhelming majority in the 5.11-.12 range.

Bring a 60m rope and quickdraws. The rock is generally steep and of good quality, though bloodily abrasive in some areas. There are certainly enough routes to keep you busy for a winter, and it is likely that The Dry will see further development in coming years.

The Whetstone Mountains are one of several small mountain ranges in Southeastern Arizona hosting an abundance of limestone rock. While there are most certainly more crags like this one, the remote nature of these ranges has limited their development. This crag was discovered by two U of A students in the 1995 but most of the routes have been since 1999.

There are currently no access issues at this crag. Please help to keep it that way. The Dry is on Coronado National Forest land so camp freely, but PLEASE observe low impact principles to avoid future access issues. Also, please do not block the road with your vehicle.

Lastly, remember that all of Southeastern Arizona is a virtual highway for Mexican migrants. Use your head.

For rest day fun, visit nearby Kartchner Caverns State Park, just to the north.

Getting There

Drive east on Interstate 10 from Tucson for about 40 miles. Exit at Arizona Hwy. 90, heading south towards Sierra Vista. Drive south for about 12.5 miles and carefully make a right on a dirt road just past milepost 302.

A 4WD vehicle is strongly recommended for the remainder of the drive. If you do not have at least a high clearance vehicle, consider going home! The road is very rough and steep in places.

From Hwy 90, proceed down dirt road to a T-intersection. Turn right. Take the first left (hopefully marked #4014) and continue to the end of the road, staying right through two intersections.

Park at the road's end, where it dwindles down to a trail. Follow this trail down and across the wash, out past a water tank and continue on toward the far end of the crag. Approach the crag uphill on established switchbacks. It is 15-30 minutes from the car to the crag depending on where you stop to climb.

99 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: The Dry Canyon Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at The Dry Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 7
Hug Life
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 20
Butterfly Hiccup
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 9
Teased, Squeezed, and Pleased
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 24
Loose Stools
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 24
Veganator
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 7
Wild Thing
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 12
A Climb Called Quest
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 3
Empty Nest Syndrome
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 4
Evil is Never Dry
Sport
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 20
Spinal Twist
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 11
Stranglehoff
Sport
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
 4
Life in Color
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
 9
Renaissance Man
Sport
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
 4
All Choked Up
Sport
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a
 4
Honey Seeker
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Hug Life 6 - Swallow Wall
 7
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Butterfly Hiccup 7 - Celebrity Cave
 20
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Teased, Squeezed, and Pleased 6 - Swallow Wall
 9
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Loose Stools 3 - Spine Cave
 24
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Veganator 5 - Bee Cave
 24
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Wild Thing 6 - Swallow Wall
 7
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
A Climb Called Quest 5 - Bee Cave
 12
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Empty Nest Syndrome 5 - Bee Cave
 3
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Evil is Never Dry 3 - Spine Cave
 4
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Spinal Twist 3 - Spine Cave
 20
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Sport
Stranglehoff 5 - Bee Cave
 11
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
Life in Color 5 - Bee Cave
 4
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b Sport
Renaissance Man 7 - Celebrity Cave
 9
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
All Choked Up 5 - Bee Cave
 4
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
Honey Seeker 5 - Bee Cave
 4
5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Dry Canyon »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
jbak .
tucson,az
jbak .   tucson,az
Lots of bees and wasps there today. No one got stung though. Mar 5, 2006
climbslc
SLC, UT
climbslc   SLC, UT
I added a topo of the 'shallow end' of the dry. It has a few routes not on the full topo.
I moved away and I'm not sure if anyone is still climbing out there, This used to be the prime season.

sb Mar 7, 2007
Braxtron
...
Braxtron   ...
Excellent area! Many thanks to the generous souls who donated chain draws. Also, there are a ton of climbs that aren't on the topos. Anybody happen to have a recent topo laying around they'd care to upload? I'd be happy to scan it and make a pdf for you. Dec 2, 2007
jbak .
tucson,az
jbak .   tucson,az
Braxwood -- I added a few comments to the topo photo. Most of the good stuff is on the topo. Dec 3, 2007
Braxtron
...
Braxtron   ...
Anybody have any idea about the routes on the "new" wall, about 100' left of Stimpy, Stumpy, etc? Jan 15, 2008
jbak .
tucson,az
jbak .   tucson,az
Braxwood...the somewhat cranky answer would be: why do you care ? Anyone that goes all the way to the Dry to do those routes is wacked. Jan 16, 2008
Braxtron
...
Braxtron   ...
jbak, you're 'spot on', which is exactly why I'm wondering...why did somebody spend time, energy, $, etc. to bolt those short routes? I did a few and they're really not worth it. Then again, that may be why nobody is taking credit for them, or maybe I'm just an angle-snob. :) Jan 17, 2008
Whats the bee situation out there this winter?

Anyone still climbing this pile? I hope not. Feb 28, 2008
jbak .
tucson,az
jbak .   tucson,az
Hey Korny-man, how ya doin ? There's been quite a bit of visitation at the Dry this season...even some non-locals. I've been out there several times. My opinion: the top 15% of routes are really good, the bottom 85%...just okay. I think Spinal Twist is one of the best in S. AZ. Bees haven't been bad, no big nests or anything. Season may be about over now that we've hit the 80's. Feb 28, 2008
Braxtron
...
Braxtron   ...
Apparently that far-left wall is called 'Addendum Wall.' Mar 6, 2008
Daryl Allan
Sierra Vista, AZ
Daryl Allan   Sierra Vista, AZ
I believe that #4014 ohv is Sands Ranch Road. Apr 24, 2008
jbak .
tucson,az
jbak .   tucson,az
So...using Vince's new mini-guide to The Dry I tried to do some different stuff there. Vince's guide shows the order of climbs like this:

Morbius, Robby, Hesitation Blues, Paranoid Android (L to R)

This is based on Vince's best guess given the info he could find.

Steve Bleyl's picture/topo (posted here) agrees that Morbius is the climb LEFT of Robby. But..."snaffel" posted Hesitation and Android here and implies that they are BETWEEN Morbius and Robby. But there's no room there, so Vince (and I) think they must be the fairly recent routes to the RIGHT of Robby.

Snaffel rates Hesitation Blues 12a and Paranoid Android 11a. If those ratings are correct, AND the routes are RIGHT of Robby, then this looks like the ordering to me:

Morbius, Robby, Paranoid Android, Hesitation Blues.

I did Robby and both routes to the right of Robby. Robby is probably correct at 11a. The route just right of that felt like 11b to me so if Snaffel says Android is 11a, that's close enough. The route further right felt like 11c/d so maybe that was Hesitation (12a ?).

So in the interest of getting Vince's guide straight, can any of you guys offer some beta on this ? Feb 16, 2009
E IV
Las Vegas, NV
E IV   Las Vegas, NV
jbak - good to know, as I'm heading out there tomorrow and have Paranoid Android on my list of progressive warmups.
What did you think of those 4 routes? Good, decent or junk? Feb 16, 2009
jbak .
tucson,az
jbak .   tucson,az
Robby is decent but crux is hard to read.
Next route right (Android ?) is decent. A bit of a one-move wonder but pleasant.
Next right (hesitation ?) is complicated and pretty good. Don't think it's 12a but would like to hear other opinions. Feb 16, 2009
Braxtron
...
Braxtron   ...
From my partners' experiences and my own, from L to R it seems to be: Morbius, Robby, P Android, H Blues, J on the S, Procrastination Proclamation, Shit'n Cactus, I am the Eggplant, Pss Pss. May 31, 2009
Braxtron
...
Braxtron   ...
According to this pic, Pss Pss had not seen a FA as of Mar '07. Did anyone send it before spring '09? Oct 1, 2009
jbak .
tucson,az
jbak .   tucson,az
You can download Vince Bates' guide to The Dry by going to this page, find the link, right click and "Save target as"...http://members.cox.net/johnnlindabaker/index.shtml Oct 26, 2009
Red
Tacoma, Toyota
Red   Tacoma, Toyota
FYI: You don't need 4x4 to get here. Just clearance. Nov 9, 2009
Hendrixson
Littleton, CO
Hendrixson   Littleton, CO
From Snaffel's posts the routes on Addendum Wall are (left to right):

Ain't That A Hoot (5.10c/d)
Hoodwinked (5.11c/d)
One For The Road (5.10c/d)
Messenger (5.10d)
Uninvited Guests (5.10a)
Napolean Complex (5.9)
Instant Gratification (5.10b)

The routes, at least the rightmost four, are short but not bad. Jan 18, 2010
So I'm not sure how this place garnered a reputation as a winter crag. In the winter it can be freezing cold because of the wind and too hot at the same time because you are forced to climb in the sun. In my opinion it is a much better shoulder season/summer crag. Those who can handle approaching in the sun will be rewarded with shade temps from 50-70 degrees when it is 80s to 100s in Tucson. The Celebrity cave is in the shade from early morning on, and the whole crag goes into the shade between 12-2. The later in the summer you go, the earlier the shade. Jun 3, 2013
Hendrixson
Littleton, CO
Hendrixson   Littleton, CO
The crag has been divided into subsections and the routes have been sorted. Let me know if anything needs to be altered.

Condition Tracker:
  • Sunny, High of 57 in Tucson, Dec: Climbed in full sun wearing a tee; shade in long sleeve.
  • Sunny, High of 64 in Tucson, Dec: Climbed in full sun wearing a tee.
Dec 4, 2013
SCherry
Boulder, CO
SCherry   Boulder, CO
Do a lot of people climb here on the weekends? I'm visiting the area on 1/30 and 1/31 and really want to check the limestone out. I don't have a vehicle that can make the drive all the way. Possible to meet people and catch a ride? Jan 24, 2016
Angel Mangual
Sierra Vista, AZ
Angel Mangual   Sierra Vista, AZ
I have to agree with Alex Kirkpatrick latest comment. This crag gets a reputation of a winter crag but in the late spring and summer the crag is on the shade for most of the day. The only part that is on the sun is the hike. I have been there from June through September and most of Celebrity Cave, Bee Cave and Spinal Twist is shaded by noon. Feb 26, 2016
How is the road to get here? My buddy and I would like to climb here next week but looks like his Subaru may not make it? Any one know how the road is currently? Thanks for any info anyone can provide! Jeremiah Jan 8, 2018
Angel Mangual
Sierra Vista, AZ
Angel Mangual   Sierra Vista, AZ
@jeremiahmoore2004 the road is very rough. I have a Subaru Crosstrek and I barely made it in very slowly. An option will be to leave your vehicle on the crux of the trail. The first crux is after a downhill into a wash. You will drive a little bit further and before hitting the uphill, where there is several potholes and uneven, there will be space to park on your left. From here you can walk the road to the Dry but it will add 25 minutes to the hike. I hope this work. Jan 10, 2018
1Eric Rhicard
Tucson
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Got down here yesterday 2/18/18 and had a blast on a number of the many new lines that have been developed in recent years. Road still needs high clearance but isn't bad. As far as weather goes, we had partly cloudy weather so a bit warm until later in the afternoon then cold with a front moving in. There is enough stuff to do in the caves if you leave Tucson after 10 that it is worth a trip visiting in the winter. Bring your warm clothes though as the wind can make it pretty unpleasant if you are a crybaby like me. Feb 19, 2018
Luke Bertelsen
Tucson, AZ
Luke Bertelsen   Tucson, AZ  
Heads up y'all. With the first rains of the season the grass will be growing tall and there are rattlesnakes out and about as well. Be aware on the first part of the approach. I recently crossed paths with a large Bull Snake (aka-Gopher Snake) and what I think was a Black-Tailed Rattlesnake.

June 17, 2018 Weather Report - high 60s and shade at the cliff from 11am till dark. Jun 18, 2018
Luke Bertelsen
Tucson, AZ
Luke Bertelsen   Tucson, AZ  
A big THANK YOU to Cory Hanson and Sam Roehrich who took the time this week to do some elaborate and much needed road repairs following some heavy rains (and hail) that came through the area over the last several weeks. It is officially DRY season. Please drive slow in an appropriate vehicle (high clearance - absolutely, 4x4 - ideal) thus preserving it for seasons to come. Thanks again for the work guys!! Nov 1, 2018 · Temporary Report

More About The Dry Canyon

Printer-Friendly
What's New
Guidebooks (5)

All Photos Within The Dry Canyon (214)

Most Popular · Newest · Random