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Elevation: 3,068 ft 935 m
GPS: 33.68664, -111.80888
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Shared By: Greg Opland on Jan 19, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Greg Opland, Brian Boyd, JJ Schlick, Kemper Brightman, Luke Bertelsen
Warning Access Issue: Access: DetailsDrop down

Description Suggest change

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 Suggest change

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.



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.

242 Total Climbs

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Location: McDowell Mountains Change
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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.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 114
Quaker Oats
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 194
Hanging Gardens
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 58
One for the Road
Trad, TR
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 52
Right Rib
Trad, Sport 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R
 63
Renaissance Direct
Trad 2 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 51
Ego Trip
Trad, TR
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 79
Treiber's Deception
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 78
Beat Feet
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 73
Sphinctre Boy
Trad, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 28
Spinal Tap
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 24
Leave It To Beaver
Trad
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 22
Space Cadets
Trad
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 4
Little Dickens
Trad
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c
 13
Deep Freeze
Trad
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 6
Fist Grease
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Quaker Oats Sven Slab
 114
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad
Hanging Gardens Gardener's Wall
 194
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 2 pitches
One for the Road Sven Slab
 58
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Right Rib Sven Towers > Sven Tower 3
 52
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, Sport 3 pitches
Renaissance Direct Gardener's Wall
 63
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R Trad 2 pitches
Ego Trip Sven Slab
 51
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad, TR
Treiber's Deception Tom's Thumb
 79
5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Beat Feet Morrell's Wall
 78
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Sphinctre Boy Girlie Man Area
 73
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, TR
Spinal Tap Sven Towers > Sven Tower 3
 28
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Leave It To Beaver Morrell's Wall
 24
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Space Cadets Morrell's Wall
 22
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad
Little Dickens Hog Heaven > Upper Wall
 4
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Deep Freeze Tom's Thumb
 13
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c Trad
Fist Grease Hog Heaven > Fist Grease Boulder
 6
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Trad
More Classic Climbs in McDowell Mountains »

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