Elevation: 4,697 ft
GPS: 32.34, -110.689 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: eMurdock on Jan 9, 2006
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland


The Sun Spot Crags are a sunny, winter climbing area that's visible from the Molino Campground as a low, south-facing cliff band. There are more than 20 routes to do from 5.7 to 5.12. There was only one route, bolted by Strassman, on the crag until December 2005. Some of the other lines, including chimneys, have been climbed/toproped in the past. Rock quality is variable although all the routes are surprisingly good. Solar Flare, the farthest route to the west, is on great rock and is top notch by Lemmon standards. Bring a standard rack for a few excellent cracks and mixed routes. Routes were cleaned although there may be some residual crustiness on a few. If you are looking for a low, sunny crag with warm temps, this place is a worthwhile alternative to the Ruins or Club Med.

Getting There

Park at the Molino Campground parking lot which is about a quarter mile past the Fee station. Walk across the road to the AZ trail heading east. Walk for a minute or two on the AZ trail. Turn off trail and head left (north), up the hillside, past abandoned mine, to the crag. Approach time is 15 minutes.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Sun Spot Crags

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
More Classic Climbs in Sun Spot Crags »

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Went out to this crag last week, had a good time overall. There is no good trail up there, so be prepared to bushwhack. There is also quite a bit of loose rock, we were pulling off holds left and right.
Check your pro placements carefully. It should be a significantly better experience if some cleaning is done on the routes.
The finger crack is quite fun, but the lower part is choss and is only 45 feet in total..
Solar Flare is excellent! A must do if you go up there.
Crack of Dawn has some great moves on it, but it has a lot of loose stuff still.
Sunny Side Up, and Hard Boiled are good. Hard Boiled is the name for "original route" in the Steiger Guide.
Not sure I quite agree with the star ratings, but that is in the eye of the beholder.

Thanks for the new routes guys!!!

-Scott Drawz Jan 18, 2006
Christian Roda o Back
Casa do Cacete
Christian Roda o Back   Casa do Cacete
On Sunny Side Up and Original Route (shared anchors), you need to belay on the ledge about 8 feet up to the right..A 60m rope hanging straight down from the chains is about 3 feet off the ground, probably quite a bit more if running through draws..

The move to enter the chimney on the Original Route felt harder than 9, maybe people head up a bit higher on the face and then enter the chimney further up..

On Sunny Side Up, there's one unneeded bolt like a foot below the anchors, but then there's a big runout I think between the 3rd and 4th bolts which requires a kind of a balancy move to the left to clip..

There's a new bolted route just to the right of the Original Route, looks pretty hard..

Be careful belaying English Breakfast Crack on a toprope, lots of loose flakes to the left of the arete coming off where a belayer might be standing..

Why not consolidate the two Sunburst Wall pages??

Feb 13, 2006
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
This area is now being referred to as Sun Spot Crags. It has been divided into five crags, The Griddle, Red Dwarf, White Dwarf, Brown Dwarf and The Heliosphere. These climbs range in length from 25-100 feet. With an elevation of around 4000 feet they provide an opportunity to climb on the coldest windy day in Tucson. The first routes reached are only 10 minutes from the parking lot and the climbs that are higher up the hill are 20 minutes. A number of moderate routes have recently been put up but most are 5.10 or 5.11. The climbing differs from a lot of Mt. Lemmon because you climb a lot of features instead of just crimping. Some routes are rough around the edges and need a tad more cleaning. They are all protected well enough that if a hold does come off no one should get seriously hurt or die. As always the decision to climb past pro is a judgment the climber must make. The approach trail has been marked with cairns in an effort to minimize our biggest impact on any area. Please try to follow the cairns so we don't have more than one trail. As of 3/9/06 there are 30+ routes. Feb 15, 2006
Scott Tucker
Tucson, AZ
Scott Tucker   Tucson, AZ
This is a nice crag. There are flat clear belay spots at the bottom of almost every climb, and there is a nice variety of climbs. That said, some routes haven't been traveled enough to be free of all the loose stuff. Some of the routes, like Solar Flare and Sun Dialed, are on flawless rock. But some of the more moderate routes (and even a few of the harder ones) still have some chunks that might rain down on your belayer, so be careful. All the faces get sun pretty much all day, so it's perfect in the winter. Thanks for all the work on the routes and trails, guys! Dec 30, 2006
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
Hey anyone here that can update the topo? I see a list of routes but the topo reflects only a handful. Even a description of which is which or the order the go (left to right or something) would be fantastic.

Help - I'm thinking about humping it up there!

~Susan Jan 4, 2007
Sun Spots Routes and grades (Conforms with topo)

1: English Breakfast Cracks 5.9/5.10d Bolts, gear, chains **
2: Solar-E Clips 5.11 Bolts, chains ***
3: Hashbrowns 5.10+ Bolts, chains *
4: Hardboiled 5.9 Bolts, gear, chains *
5: Sunny Side Up 5.10- Bolts, chains *
6: Sun Dialed 5.11 Bolts, chains *
7: Crack of dawn 5.10d (left variation: 5.10) Gear, 1 bolt, chains **
8: Myopic 5.11a/b Bolts, chains *
9: Blinded by the Light 5.10 Bolts, chains *
10: Brighter Side of Darkness 5.12- Bolts, chains *
11: Angus Kong 5.10- Gear, 1 Bolt, chains *
12: Hebrew Hammer 5.12- Bolts, chains *
13: Sun Baked 5.10+ Bolts, chains *
14: Viking Soared 5.11 Gear, bolts, chains *
15: Red Dwarf 5.12 Gear, chains *
16: Wedge of Delight 5.10 Bolts, chains *
17: Krymptonite 5.12 Bolts, chains *1/2
18: Sun Demon 5.10 Bolts, chains *
19: Ra’s Arete 5.11 Bolts, chains *
20: White Dwarf 5.11 Bolts, chains *
21: Solar Flare 5.11 Bolts, chains ***
22: Lein on me 5.8 Bolts, chains *
23: Euro-lite 5.10 Blots, chains *1/2
24: See the Light 5.11 Gear, bolts, chains *
25: Filet of Sol 5.10+ Bolts, chains *1/2
26: Sol Survivor 5.11 Bolts, chains *
27: Black Hole 5.7 Gear, chains **
28: Chromoshere 5.10+ Gear, bolts, chains *
29: Cragmire 5.11 Bolts, chains **
30: Magnetopause 5.11+ Bolts, chains **
31: Fun with Dick and Bob 5.8 Bolts, chains *
32: Blink 5.9+ Bolts, chains *
33: Aurora No Boreals 5.12- Bolts, chains **
34: Head in the McLeods 5.11- Bolts, chains *
35: Turn the other Cheek 5.10- Gear, bolts, chains * Jan 5, 2007
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
Jim, thanks so much for the speedy reply. You numbering system and topo will help us out a bunch!

Thanks again!


p.s. suggestion - save the list and add it as a beta photo so it can be easily printed along with the topo. Jan 5, 2007
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
Jo, great modification of the topo. It prints out a bit clearer too. Plug that thing into a PDF and we'll be on our way!


Susan Jan 5, 2007
Christian Roda o Back
Casa do Cacete
Christian Roda o Back   Casa do Cacete
Thanks for the new topos! And for putting up the routes in the first place.

I've only climbed a few routes on the front crag, this oughta get me schlepping further up the hill. Even from the few I've climbed, it's a great area. Jan 12, 2007
Christian Roda o Back
Casa do Cacete
Christian Roda o Back   Casa do Cacete
You probably want some gear for route #11, there's only one bolt.

Also, if 5.10 is near your limit, on route 16 you might consider a small cam in between the 2nd and 3rd bolt, there's an outside chance (with rope stretch, etc) you could hit the ledge if you blew it getting to the third bolt. Feb 5, 2007
My fault on Angus Kong. Should read gear, 1 bolt, chains.
Has been changed, on list.
I hope, Christian, you good see that it was a gear route before you started your lead???!!! Feb 7, 2007
Christian Roda o Back
Casa do Cacete
Christian Roda o Back   Casa do Cacete
I haven't led this yet, didn't bring the gear that day, Erick (Murdock?) was telling me I should just solo up to that bolt haha ok..

One good side effect of the confusion is that I got on Hebrew Hammer thinking it might be 10a and actually got the rope up eventually..In horrible style I might add, but for me, it was the first time ever being able to get on stance on the crux of a 12a and place a draw on the hanger..and then proceeding to shamelessly grab said draw to make the clip..haha..But it's a start.. Feb 7, 2007
As the old man of the mountain, Eric Rhichard, always says "If your not flying your not trying". Sport routes were invented to so we could push our limits safely. Keep getting on the hard stuff!!

By the way, Murdock puts gear in this climb when he leads it. Feb 9, 2007
Tucson, Arizona
eMurdock   Tucson, Arizona
I did not say that he should solo up to the bolt. Must have misunderstood me. I may have said that it would be a solo up to the bolt. Feb 11, 2007
There has been some great weather at Sun Spots this month. Apparently the rattlesnakes like it too. In the past two weeks I have seen two of them here so take care around this crag. May 7, 2007
Joseph Stover
Batesville, AR
Joseph Stover   Batesville, AR
I was confused by the topo.. So Angus kong is a trad route between the two 12's on what is called the "brown dwarf"?

Going left on the crag:
-Brighter side of Darkness 12- sport, furthest right route on brown dwarf
-Angus Kong, 10- trad
-Hebrew Hammer, 12- sport
-big gulley with Sun Baked, 10+ sport
-then you get to the red dwarf,
-and then continue on up the trail to Ra's Arete and beyond.

I was confused because the topo listed Angus Kong as a Bolted route. May 7, 2007
Hampton Uzzelle
Tucson, Arizona
Hampton Uzzelle   Tucson, Arizona
Angus Kong is a mixed route, You climb a 5.7ish crack/chimney to a ledge, (the move off of the ledge can be protected with finger sized cams) then head right up a steeper section with a short crux that is protected by a single bolt. It's pretty fun. May 9, 2007
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Brighter Side of Darkness has been downgraded to 5.11+ May 9, 2007
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Hey Adam, perhaps if you spent less time surfing Mtn. Project and did a little public service at the crag now and then we would all have some cleaner routes to climb. Seriously, how many routes have you done there and how many of them had "blocks" coming off? I put a lot of those climbs up and was there when Lien On Me was done. Meant to get back and clean it up but I was too busy putting up another thirty routes at a whole new area for guys like you to climb and gripe about. Granted we didn't have to put those Sun Spot climbs up. Yet even with sections of them that are not perfect at least there are 40 more routes that can be climbed on the coldest of sunny days. If you happen to find any great cliffs with bullet rock let me know. I would much rather climb them too. Unfortunately they are few and far between. In fact we are headed up on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday to do some new ones and you are more than welcome to come help. Email me if you would rather climb than surf. (I'm smiling) Dec 3, 2007
jbak .
jbak .   tucson,az
Good thing I didn't have any liquid in my mouth when I read this or my keyboard would be ruined. Dec 3, 2007
Christian Roda o Back
Casa do Cacete
Christian Roda o Back   Casa do Cacete
Guess Eric hasn't learned the fine art of quoting a post to "preserve it for posterity", so to speak, hehe..Maybe Adam was having a bad day.

The only thing I would say is stay off the trad or mixed climbs within a few days of heavy rain or snow, other than that it's fine..

We climbed there today and had a blast. It was 37 degrees when I crawled into my truck at 8:45 this morning, but it was nice and cozy at the Sunspot by 10 AM.

Didn't follow my own advice and led the "Black Hole" and it was a little scary with the snow melt still coming down in a few places and the rock a little crustier than usual. Dec 15, 2007
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Christian, I will have to learn that art quoting for posterity. I hope Adam is laughing about it as much as I have. It was great ammunition for a few good lines. Any time I can make Jbak glad he didn't spew his drink I have done my job. Just for the record, Adam is right about many routes at the SunSpots being fuzzy, just not that it would be better to surf Mtn. Project than climb there. I have to admit that I climb around and avoid stuff just as a matter of course. If you climb long routes in the mountains or even in places like Eldorado Canyon you sometimes have to work your way around stuff or you kill your belayer. I tend to avoid the junk and really don't even think to myself that it is grungy. Yesterday I climbed at the aforementioned new area with "30 new routes". Will publish it soon. Three people fell when holds broke. I had to dodge rock a number of times as well as ice as it melted. Even so we all had a good time no one was injured or killed despite the whippers that resulted. Some of these new areas have some junk on them. If you find junk feel free to clean it especially if you think it could hurt someone severely. If you can't handle a little munge head for the crags that don't have any. Or as I said to Adam come on out and help. The bottom line is that some of the newer areas that get developed will take a lot of ascents to get totally clean. Dec 16, 2007
jbak .
jbak .   tucson,az
So if BSOD is now 11+, why not edit the route and change the rating there ? Dec 28, 2007
Jon Ruland
Tucson, AZ
Jon Ruland   Tucson, AZ
what's the short bolted route around the corner to the left of sunny side up? it felt really hard. Jan 10, 2009
randy baum
Minneapolis, MN
randy baum   Minneapolis, MN
anyone scouted out the overhanging headwall between solar e-clips and the original route?

at over 100ft, a line that tops out on that thing would be the longest at all the sun spot crags, no? Jan 4, 2010
Eric and I top roped that face very early on. Pulled off holds on every move. The climbing was hard, very sharp and not much fun. So we binned it.
Feel free to clean and bolt that wall my friend. Just give yourself a lot of time. Jan 7, 2010
For those of you who use Google Earth, I've put together an approach map. You can download it from geir.com/googleearth/lemmon/

The Business Time Wall is located right above Sunspots, so I've included the approach map for this area in the same directory.

Enjoy! Jan 18, 2010
Business Time Wall is just a few minutes away from the main crag Feb 21, 2010
A bit to the left of Crack of Dawn there's a squeeze chimney. Robert McLeod and I climbed this recently. It's 5.7 and would take gear to six inches. To descend, it's an easy and protectable traverse to the chains to the right, though I hope to add chains at the chimney's top next time I'm in Arizona (likely next spring). We haven't been able to find any record or evidence of a prior ascent, and have taken to calling the route 'North America Free Trad Agreement'. Mar 13, 2010
1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
Hey Davidbr, thought I replied to Mcleod but maybe I forgot. Don't know of anyone who has done that chimney. So you get the FA. It always did look interesting. If we are up there with a drill we will add anchors for you if you want. Mar 14, 2010
River K Scott
Tucson, AZ
River K Scott   Tucson, AZ
The once-friendly climber trail is near extinct this fall season. The trail is thoroughly grassed in. You can see the wall, of course, so it's not impossible. Put on your best route-finding hat and be glad the snakes are all sleepy in the cold! Nov 28, 2015