The best boulder on Mt. Lemmon. Tall, proud, and a fair number of problems in every grade. It is sharp, but quite good quality granite. It was developed by the famed boulderer Bob Murray. I hope you find this useful and let me know if I'm incorrect about anything.

Getting There

Take the Mt. Lemmon highway to mile marker 15.8, and park in the pullout on the left. Cross the road to the east. Just left of the road-cut, take the trail to the right, heading up the little hill. The Matterhorn Boulder is the big square boulder shaped like a ship’s prow on top of the hill, 100 ft. off the road.

15 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Matterhorn Boulder

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V5 6C
The Flake
V7 7A+
V9 7C
Jewel Thief
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Flake
V5 6C Boulder
V7 7A+ Boulder
Jewel Thief
V9 7C Boulder
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jbak .
jbak .   tucson,az
From the master...(Bob Murray, Bouldering Beyond Campbell, early 80s):

Matterhorn Boulder

(1) A few feet left of the overhanging outside corner is an obvious flake at eye level. Go up and left. B1+ Variation: with both hands on the flake, lunge up and left to the good fingertip hold. Eliminate the good left foothold at the start. B2

(2) Start same as (1) but go up and right to a small horn. Continue up and right. B1+

(3) Similar to (2) but use a hold around the corner to reach the small horn with the left hand. B1

(4) Start just around the corner from the first three problems. Climb the overhanging corner till one is forced to move left to join (3) at the small horn. B2

(5) Start same as (4). Good holds lead up and right to a difficult crux. B1+

(6) Start about ten feet right of (4), at a small ledge near the ground. Go up and right to the righthand corner of the overhanging face. B2 (jbak's note...this is the problem Murray later refered to as "Jewel Thief".) Oct 15, 2007
Andrew R
Andrew R   Arizony
In my opinion, this is the single best place to boulder in Tucson, even if it's just a single boulder. Solid rock, rad problems with tame topouts, and aesthetic lines from pretty easy to really hard. The only bummer is the lack of an easy downclimb (I generally hang from the lip of the sidepull problem and drop a couple feet onto a pad.) If you get bored here before your fingertips get thrashed you can check out the Secret Gulley, follow a faint (but well-cairned) trail onto the ridgeline to the south and drop into the left gully. There are some okay problems down there.

Edit 2018: still think this is maybe the best easy-access boulder in town but I agree with Jake that the endless adventure in WOR is easily worth the extra hump if you’re seeking a day/week/decade of good pebbling. Dec 3, 2008
Adam Block
Tucson, AZ
Adam Block   Tucson, AZ
I wanted to scope out Matterhorn today so I rolled up there with the three little ones. There wasn't much for them to play around with on Matterhorn but my 13 year old and I had fun on the boulder just under Matterhorn as you walk in on your left.

Mostly there was a fun traverse from right to left starting at the very corner pointing toward Matterhorn. There was also some fun on the road side for my 7 and 8 year old.

Anyway, just thought I would mention that if you're heading up there with kids on tow. Jun 28, 2009
Please be sure to scub off your tick marks on this boulder. This is especially true for those working the harder problems on the Jewel Thief side. Sep 25, 2009
Luke Bertelsen
Tucson, AZ
Luke Bertelsen   Tucson, AZ  
Nice to see that Tucson bouldering has had enough of a resurgence to get people bickering at each other regarding ratings and tick marks (online no less). Remember that if you play your own game you play against yourself with your own rules and you are the only won capable of winning.

Also, any bouldering here that is "good" isn't even worth a mention compared to what you can drive to in not much time at all that is world class, yes WORLD CLASS. Sep 28, 2009
True, there are many world-class bouldering destinations quite close (2-6hrs), but I can climb "good" problems here in an afternoon. Sep 29, 2009
Trey Lewis
Glendale, Az
Trey Lewis   Glendale, Az
There are only 2 world class areas anywhere close to here. One being Hueco, and the other being Queen Creek. Bishop is far away, and so are the other 3 areas(in the US) that really are world class. Not every good place is a world class. So,I don't think there are many world class areas close by. Oct 5, 2009
Luke Bertelsen
Tucson, AZ
Luke Bertelsen   Tucson, AZ  
I realize world class could be subjective, but Queen Creek, really??

I just threw up in my mouth. Oct 6, 2009
Trey Lewis
Glendale, Az
Trey Lewis   Glendale, Az
One of the things that classifies a world class area is the amount of climbing that it holds. It may be sharp, but with approximately 10% explored I (as well as many others)count it as one of the few world class areas in the country. With a ton of great problem (talking about the bouldering) and many many more to be discovered, it counts. Just because you don't like it doesn't mean it's not world class. Queen is a GREAT area. That's right. G R E A T!!! Just my opinion. Oct 6, 2009
I appreciate the old fire in the belly that I see here on MP about Lemmon bouldering!

Trey, a question:

How many bouldering areas have you visited? Bishop, Hueco, Fontainebleu??????

In my eyes ( and fingers ) these areas would qualify as 4 star ( or world class ) areas. Mount Lemmon would probably get 1.5 stars for bouldering. Short lines, sharp, grainy granite, eliminates. NOT EVEN CLOSE to anything of quality.

Again, the passion for bouldering is cool, lets just keep it real.

One Love,

ADDED: it's quality over quantity, who cares if an area is the size of 10 football fields if the rock is crappy. 10% developed, who cares! I'd take the mushroom boulder in a field by itself over ANYTHING on the whole mountain of Lemmon. Oct 12, 2009
Trey Lewis
Glendale, Az
Trey Lewis   Glendale, Az
I have been to a bunch a areas. Hueco, JTree, Black Mt, Oak Flats, (many many times)and many others areas (going to Font next May and I AM SO EXCITED!!!). And I never said anything about Lemmon being a world class area. I agree with you on the 1.5 stars when it comes to Lemmon. I also agree about Mushroom Boulder. I would trade all of Lemmon just to have Mushroom Roof back. I was talking about Queen Creek being a World Class area. There are many 4 star problems there with and endless amount yet undiscovered. But to each their own. Oct 12, 2009
Trey Lewis
Glendale, Az
Trey Lewis   Glendale, Az
I don't think flagstaff really counts as an "area" (as in Hueco, Bishop, Font.) like we were talking about. Now don't get me Wrong I LOVE FLAG!!!!!!!!! I LOVE KELLY!!!!!! CHERRY IS SICK!!!!!!!!!! Oct 13, 2009
Joe Kreidel
San Antonio, TX
Joe Kreidel   San Antonio, TX
I started a Tucson bouldering thread so we could discuss these an other issues in a more convenient an easy to follow place.… Oct 13, 2009
JJ Schlick
Flagstaff, AZ
JJ Schlick   Flagstaff, AZ  
Say I got an email from a user asking I rearrange the routes on this boulder. Here is what they suggested-

Starting with North East Arete as 1, moving left to right around the boulder or in counterclockwise fashion, the problems are as follows.

1. North East Arete
2. Seam
3. Big Bad Wolf
4. Jewel Thief
5. Slab Problems
6. V1 Slab
7. Side Pulls Slab Variation
8. Side Pulls Sit
9. Treyverse
10. Side Pulls
11. Sharp Crimps
12. The Flake Left
13. The Flake Direct
14. The Flake

Does this seem accurate to the rest of you? Beautiful boulder. I would like to get the info straightened out if we can. Thanks. Jan 27, 2012
stev spooner
stev spooner   Tucson
More like the doesn't Matter-horn Sep 25, 2017
Jake Croft
Tucson, Az
Jake Croft   Tucson, Az
Contrary to popular belief this is not the best boulder in Tucson ;) Maybe the most overrated! If you want the best boulder, take a long walk into wilderness of rocks for classics such as hellbitch, minnie's habardashery, skinwalker, stranger than friction, and many more and then make up your mind... Dec 14, 2017