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Elevation: 5,996 ft
GPS: 35.03378, -111.71986
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 110,356 total · 504/month
Shared By: markguycan on Apr 16, 2006 · Updates
Admins: Greg Opland, Brian Boyd, JJ Schlick, Kemper Brightman, Luke Bertelsen

Description Suggest change

Tributary canyon to Oak Creek Canyon, offers many sandstone sport and trad routes.

Pumphouse Wash is a splendid canyon and a local gem for it's rugged beauty. And the climbing is pretty good to boot! With it's close proximity to town, plunge pools, carved walls, and towering sandstone cliffs this place has it all for a rompy day out and about.

Both Kelly and James Canyon run into Pumphouse as it tumbles off the rim. James Canyon is a good, technical canyoneering route, while Kelly has some fantastic bouldering. Upper Pumphouse Wash holds the "Ultimates", which are well known classics for the area. In the last few years there has been some development of sport routes in Lower Pumphouse Wash before it joins Oak Creek Canyon at the bottom of the swithbacks on 89A.

Getting There Suggest change

NOTE: For best directions with no history or fluff, skip down to the last paragraph.


There have been many ways that people have accessed The Ultimates area over the years, though none would be considered easy. My first time there, we just took the first forest service road North of The Overlook & drove until it ended on the canyon rim. We then found a gully & bushwhacked down. You can still access it this way, though there is now a trail to make it easier. People have also traditionally hiked up Pumphouse Wash from the bottom of the switchbacks on highway 89A, which is both incredibly beautiful and a very long slog.


More recently climbers have found easier (though certainly not easy) access points. In the mid 2000's a 2 pitch route called Ultimate Frisbee was established with bolted belay stations, and some climbers preferred to access the area by rappelling in (2 raps) and climbing out. If you choose to do this, take I-17 and exit at Newman Park, drive about 2 miles then turn right, follow this about a mile til the canyon is in view. Park at cairns and hike 0.07mi to the rap station, which I'm told is located at: N35*02.158 W111*42.825.


Most climbers these days use the 'Secret Passage' approach established by Darren Mabe in 2013/2014. To do this, take I-17 South from Flagstaff for about 10 miles or so. Exit right at Newman Park Road (exit 328 I think) and drive roughly west for about 2.5 miles to a right turn on forest road 253G. Follow this .8 miles to the parking spot. The GPS coordinates, I'm told, are: N35.038; W111.714 . Once there, follow the topo below, created by Darren Mabe. For higher resolution, see the original photo submitted by Darren, located in the pictures below. This is the preferred access for many people.

63 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Upper Pumphouse Wash

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 39
Ultimate Dihedral
Trad
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c R
 10
White Wedding
Trad 2 pitches
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 53
Ultimate Finger Crack
Trad
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 8
Ultimate Bag Of Tricks
Trad
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 15
The Sugar Cube
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 7
Hyperborea
Trad
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 21
Ultimarete
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 7
Pink Cloud
Sport
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 19
Pony Express
Sport
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 19
Lil' Smokie's First Toke
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 10
Twist of Fate
Trad 3 pitches
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 6
Lil' Smokie's Wild Ride
Trad
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 4
Waikiki
Trad
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
 8
Iron Horse
Sport
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
 8
Lil' Smokie Shoots for the Moon
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ultimate Dihedral Ultimates > Ultimates East
 39
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
White Wedding Ultimates > Ultimates West
 10
5.11- 6c 22 VIII- 22 E3 5c R Trad 2 pitches
Ultimate Finger Crack Ultimates > Ultimates West
 53
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
Ultimate Bag Of Tricks Ultimates > Ultimates West
 8
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad
The Sugar Cube Ultimates > Ultimates East
 15
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Hyperborea Ultimates > Ultimates East
 7
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad
Ultimarete Ultimates > Ultimates West
 21
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Pink Cloud Ultimates > Ultimates West
 7
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Pony Express Ultimates > Ultimates East
 19
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Lil' Smokie's First Toke Ultimates > Ultimates West
 19
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Twist of Fate Ultimates > Ultimates West
 10
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Trad 3 pitches
Lil' Smokie's Wild Ride Ultimates > Ultimates West
 6
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Trad
Waikiki Ultimates > Ultimates East
 4
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Trad
Iron Horse Ultimates > Ultimates East
 8
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b Sport
Lil' Smokie Shoots for the… Ultimates > Ultimates West
 8
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c Sport
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