Elevation: 3,068 ft
GPS: 33.687, -111.809 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 305,498 total · 1,659/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Jan 19, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Brian Boyd
Access Issue: Access: Details

Description

The McDowell Mountains feature most of the main granite climbing crags in the northeast metro Phoenix area. Several fine formations of rough grained desert granite are found in the area featuring routes of all difficulties. The climbing is traditional in nature, both gear and bolted routes, and climbers should expect to place their own protection on a lot of the routes here.

Once threatened by house and golf course development, the city of Scottsdale (with the help of it's citizens, who kept voting in tax $$ support to acquire the land!) managed to turn the whole place into the McDowell-Sonoran Preserve, starting in the mid 90's and continuing to this day. The Preserve today sits at almost 22,000 acres with the eventual plan to encompass some 36,000+ acres!

Getting There

The McDowells are located in northeast Scottsdale, just to the east/southeast of Pinnacle Peak. The area is accessed via the Tom's Thumb Trailhead (est. fall 2012) on the north side of the range. There are a couple of ways to get to the TTT as follows:

1) From the intersection of Happy Valley Road and Alma School Road (near Pinnacle Peak and just southwest of Troon Mountain), continue east on Happy Valley Road. Stay with it as it curves around to the north, then turns into the north bound 118th Street. Make a right on Ranch Gate Road (look for signs to the trailhead) and go east to 128th Street. Make another right and go south until you basically run into the trailhead entrance.

2) You can also come in from Rio Verde Drive by turning south onto 128th Street and taking it (initially dirt, then paved) to the trailhead entrance.

Follow the signs to the new trailhead...

Note: You CAN do the approach to some of the crags from the Gateway Visitor's Center
off Thompson Peak Parkway, but this is a long (~6 miles to Tom's Thumb), uphill,
rocky approach and NOT recommended.

228 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at McDowell Mountains

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c PG13
 44
Sassy
Trad 2 pitches
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 98
Quaker Oats
Sport
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 161
Hanging Gardens
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 48
One for the Road
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 37
Right Rib
Trad, Sport 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 66
Treiber's Deception
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
 56
Renaissance Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 44
Ego Trip
Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 46
I Sinkso
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 61
Beat Feet
Trad
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 24
Spinal Tap
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
 61
Sphinctre Boy
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 36
Girlie Man
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 16
Leave It To Beaver
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 17
Space Cadets
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Sassy Girlie Man Area
 44
5.2 3 8 II 8 D 2c PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Quaker Oats Sven Slab
 98
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Sport
Hanging Gardens Gardener's Wall
 161
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
One for the Road Sven Slab
 48
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Right Rib Sven Towers > Sven Tower 3
 37
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Sport 3 pitches
Treiber's Deception Tom's Thumb
 66
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Renaissance Direct Gardener's Wall
 56
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R Trad 2 pitches
Ego Trip Sven Slab
 44
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Sport, TR
I Sinkso Sven Slab
 46
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad
Beat Feet Morrell's Wall
 61
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Spinal Tap Sven Towers > Sven Tower 3
 24
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Sphinctre Boy Girlie Man Area
 61
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Trad
Girlie Man Girlie Man Area
 36
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Leave It To Beaver Morrell's Wall
 16
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Space Cadets Morrell's Wall
 17
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
More Classic Climbs in McDowell Mountains »

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