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Central States Climbing Heaven. Most climbers are surprised to learn that Oklahoma has granite, and even more surprised to learn of its excellent quality. Anyone passing though the state should definitely spend a day exploring Quartz or the Refuge. The band of rock Oklahoma is most known for extends from the Altus area (Quartz Mtn) to Snyder (the quarry) and then into the Wichita Mountains. All areas here have excellent routes from 5.5-5.13. You can find well bolted roofs, splitter cracks, dihedrals, aretes, slabs, off widths, technical face climbing and more. A lot of routes in Oklahoma are sprad so be prepared to build gear anchors and walk off of some climbs, especially in the 5.6-5.9 range. A 60m rope will suffice in most areas except quartz. Understand that these routes were pioneered with climbing ability, not a rap line and a power drill. Respect history - if you are scared of a route, increase your ability by training on other climbs and return back to it once you are ready.
Quartz Mountain is a great tune up for Yosemite with its heads up technical face climbing and cracks from finger size to off width.
Long pitches and long rappels warrant that you bring at least a 70m rope here. A single rack and 6 alpine draws are useful for extending pieces. The runouts on many of these climbs are warranted given that they were put up ground up with a hand drill.
Often the cruxes of the routes are well protected with the easier face sections left runout. A 5.11 route generally isn't going to be harder than 5.9-10 in the runout. Quartz is an excellent mainly south facing place to climb in the fall, winter and spring. Summers here can be fun in the morning but don't expect to climb all day. Bathrooms are located in the parking lot and camping is close by.
The bi-annual spring and fall gathering of climbers on the first weekends in April and November are the best times to climb here and connect with the community. Those weekends are the only times camping is allowed on-site. Opportunities exist to volunteer helping with trail work and park maintenance though the Oklahoma chaper of the AAC.
THE WICHITA MOUNTAINS WILDLIFE REFUGE:
This area is extremely special to all oklahoma climbers as it is the only wildlife refuge in the US to allow rock climbing. The refuge is huge and easy to get lost in even with a map. Its best to go with someone experienced your first couple times until you gain your bearings on an area.
No internet guide is a substitute for the new color guidebook.
At $35 it is a steal, and a huge help with beta and easy to read guides and maps.
Many thanks to Tony Mayse for all the work he has put in on submitting applications for the replacement of old hardware in the refuge. The process of has begun, and with Lost Dome behind us many bolts are now being replaced.
If you would like to help with bolt replacement efforts, please donate to the American Safe Climbing Association here.
They have sponsored us with a generous grant and it is now up to the Witchita Mountain Climbers Coalition to purchase hardware and continue replacement. For more information you can contact the Wmcc here.
The easiest access areas are Mt Scott (5 min walk from car) on the weekdays and 40 ft hole on the weekends. Mt Scott is closed to cars on the weekends and it's about a 1-2 mile hike uphill on concrete if you chose to go on the weekends.
Fairly tall (50-65 ft) walls can be found at lower scott which has classic trad as well as bolted hard sport. This is an excellent area to go to if your group has varied climbing abilities. You can either rappel in and have your toprope already rigged on the warm up's chains or you can walk around down to the base. Upper scott has mainly easy trad routes with some harder test pieces mixed in. Few bolted anchors exist here.
40 Foot hole is an eight minute walk to get to the top and setup an anchor (gear), or you can walk around to the base to start your lead.
The rest of the areas here involve lengthy approaches (.75-3mi one way) but are well worth the effort. What feels hard the first time is breezy after 20.
In the Charons Gardens (300 climbs) you'll find stunning splitters and devastatingly hard sport climbs with top notch granite. This is where many of the world class climbs exist and you are truly away from reality, totally immersed in nature. You can also find a large amount of beginner climbs which can be easily top roped with some webbing to sling boulders and a couple of cams.
Crab Eyes here is the unique formation which holds the Refuge’s crack test pieces as well as some sport test pieces on the back side. Lost dome offers the hardest sport climbing in the entire state. Echo dome is the beginners area for the charons gardens and holds sport climbs from 5.8-5.9.
The Narrows hold the best adventure climbing in the state, with multi pitches from 5.6 and walls up to 200 feet in height. The crown jewel of this area is lichen wall which has a slew of high quality, difficult adventure climbs. The approach to these climbs is about .6-.75 miles.
The Meadows have an array of classic climbs from 5.6-5.11. You cant miss the well protected "taco time" and "barter town" on the main wall.
Note: Quarry access is closed and considered trespassing, it is a $1000 fine to get caught climbing here. Description is for historical purposes or until access is restored
The quarry is a granite quarry located just outside of Snyder Ok, dynamite blasted granite created textureless glass like walls which hold routes pioneered by the former hard men of Oklahoma climbing. Routes are generally protected with rusty button-heads, pins driven into holes, and rebar pounded into the rock instead of lower offs. Routes range from 5.6 to a manufactured 5.14c. This area no doubt holds the hardest climbing in the entire state. Rumor has it that Duane Raleigh fund raised for bolt replacement at quartz mountain and then instead used the money to buy as many bolts as he could to bolt the quarry. Thus the hardest lines were born. Climbers have been known to spray their shoes with spray on glue to increase "paddling ability". Sometimes natural, sometimes manufactured and sometimes in between, this place is challenging for all. It has a certain eerie vibe to it with all the rusty equipment about and granite ferrying towers looming a hundred feet above it. One day it will be purchased to an ease of use agreement will be secured. Until then it is risky to climb there.
Robbers Cave and others sandstone/limestone spots exist as well but are less popular and nowhere near world class.
The latest guidebook to hit our state is Refuge Bouldering: Bouldering in the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge by Ryan Sheldon. Released Jan 2021. Available at the Blocworks, Climb Tulsa, REI, and Threshold, or online at Sharp End Books to get the digital copy as well.
For all roped climbs in the Refuge and Quartz (as well as select Quartz boulders), see Oklahoma Rock A Climber's Guide by Tony Mayse. Available at most local gyms and shops, as well as at Sharp End Books. It only covers the WMWR and Quartz, but it does so very well. Most routes, as well as select bouldering, are covered in the guide.
Classic Climbing Routes at Oklahoma
Days w Precip