Elevation: 2,000 ft
GPS: 33.692, -111.795 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 30,370 total · 191/month
Shared By: Orphaned on Feb 3, 2006
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland
Getting weather forecast...
Access Issue: Access: Details

Description

Sven Slab, so named because a Sven saw was used to cut the original trail up to the wall, is probably the most popular granite climbing location near Phoenix after Pinnacle Peak. This is the place to hone those sturdy foot muscles on thin granite crystal and edge climbing. The main wall is home to several nice moderate outings, while the outrigger crag down to the right features some additional harder lines.

Getting There

Drive to the Tom's Thumb Trailhead on the north side of the McDowells.

There are a couple of ways to get to there:

1) Option 1 is to drive south from the intersection of 128th street and Dynamite Road/Rio Verde Drive. This will be dirt initially but will turn to pavement. Continue south straight toward the McDowells on the undulating paved road until you reach the entrance to the Tom's Thumb Trailhead. Follow the road in and park in one of the lots.

2) Option 2 is from the west. Drive east on Happy Valley Road from Pima. Continue past Alma School Rd intersection east as it curves around the south side of Troon Mountain area. As it curves around to the east side of Troon, it will turn into N 118th St. Continue on this north to Ranch Gate Road (follow the signs for Tom's Thumb TH). Go east on Ranch Gate Rd to 128th Street, take a right and go south on 128th (same as option 1) to the entrance to Tom's Thumb Trailhead. Follow the road in and park in one of the lots.

Approach

From the easternmost (main) parking lot at Tom's Thumb TH, exit headed east on the Marcus Landslide Trail. This will take you east down the hill. Watch for a signed access trail on the right hand side that will take you to the Sven Slab area. Total approach time, 15 or 20 minutes.

McDowell Mountains Trail Map

26 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Sven Slab Change
Type:  to 
Quality:
Pitches:
Sort by:   then:
 

Classic Climbing Routes at Sven Slab

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 12
The Crawl of the Wild
Trad
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 80
Quaker Oats
Sport
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 8
Changes in Longitude
Trad 2 pitches
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 40
One for the Road
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 13
Mouse Tracks
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 34
Ego Trip
Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 36
I Sinkso
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R
 13
Black Death
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 19
Cakewalk
Sport, TR
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13
 4
The Arrowhead
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
 8
Nit Nat
Trad, Sport, TR
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 6
Criss Cross
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
 5
Changes in Lattitude
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 9
Dark Passage
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Crawl of the Wild
 12
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad
Quaker Oats
 80
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Sport
Changes in Longitude
 8
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 2 pitches
One for the Road
 40
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
Mouse Tracks
 13
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad 3 pitches
Ego Trip
 34
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Sport, TR
I Sinkso
 36
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad
Black Death
 13
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c R Trad
Cakewalk
 19
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport, TR
The Arrowhead
 4
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13 Trad
Nit Nat
 8
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13 Trad, Sport, TR
Criss Cross
 6
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Changes in Lattitude
 5
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad
Dark Passage
 9
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
More Classic Climbs in Sven Slab »

Sun & Shade

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

Photos

CTK
Scottsdale
CTK   Scottsdale
Note : Getting There - "It is possible to drive to the upper area and park there if you want to put your vehicle through its paces and skip the two minutes it takes to walk up the hill." It is no longer possible or appropriate to do the prior, as you will find fencing!

At this time you must park just off the main access road in what are a couple places to park a few vehicles! If you have higher clearance drive further east to the end to conserve low clearance access for others. This area official resides within the boundaries of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and should be treated as such! May 2, 2008
Just a heads up, made an attempt to climb One for the Road yesterday but got chased off by bees that look like they have a hive at the top of the first pitch. My partner and I moved over to the main bolted area, but were still getting harassed by bees. May 11, 2008
CTK
Scottsdale
CTK   Scottsdale
Still, to this day there are bees, likely Africanized, as they are persistent in there harassment / attacks, still atop and around the Sven’s Slab formation. Dec 12, 2008
Nick Irvine
Flagstaff
Nick Irvine   Flagstaff
Very few bees (like 2 or 3) but no nest today at One for the Road area (11/09) Nov 8, 2009
ClimbPHX.com
Mesa AZ
ClimbPHX.com   Mesa AZ
For you adventurous that love to explore - There is a tunnel to the right of Black Death that you may go up into ... tight squeeze to a chimeny section - Up above - good fifth class solo crack

BEWARE - There is an aggressive Bee Hive above and the suckers are not friendly - sustained numerous stings...

Be Safe - Climb Hard May 24, 2010
I think all the routes there are sandbagged. Great wall, easy access, but some of the bolts are way off the deck. Be Careful. It was a slab fest! We had allot of fun! Jan 29, 2012
Just to update the getting there section, what's listed is now as far as I can tell out of date. Both Sven's slab and the climb's for Tom's Thumb and Gardener's Wall are accessed from a single trailhead and parking lot. The directions in the Weekend Rock were pretty confusing having never been there and with the clearly new setup. Just follow the directions on the Tom's Thumb page. Feb 3, 2015
Jo Mer
Tempe
Jo Mer   Tempe
Seconding Phalanges. The "Getting There" instructions here, in Phoenix Rock II, and Rock Climbing AZ Falcon Guide, all seem to be out of date. To get to Sven Slab you can park in the Tom's Thumb trailhead located here: trailhead on google maps, then head east out of the lot on the Marcus Landslide Trail. It's a 5-10min walk to the climber's trail on your right.

Use this handy map that is posted at the beginning of the Marcus Landslide Trail:
Nov 29, 2015
Lots of bees on the main slab. Wouldn't recommend climbing it at all. The lower sven slab seemed bee free. Jan 28, 2019