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Leviathan Dome

Arizona > Southern Arizona > Mt Lemmon (Sant… > Alamo Canyon
Access Issue: Closed January 1-April 30 Details

Description

This is a back country dome. The Approach is 2-3 hours with less than thirty minutes of that on an established trail. The NW face is close to 1000 feet tall and streaked with orange on the right side and more whitish on the left. The climbing is a serious adventure. The rock at times leaves something to be desired. Moving over spooky blocks is at times a part of the experience. Repeating any of the existing routes here gives you a real appreciation of the courage and drive of the people that established them.

Getting There

Drive north of Tucson to the Catalina State park. Enter the park and drive to the Romero Ruins trail parking area. Cross the road and follow the sandy trail that leads toward the mountains. You will see a sign for the birding loop. Turn right on a less obvious trail and follow it around and into a wash that heads back toward the mountains. A short time in the wash then the trail turns right out of the wash. This will lead you to the Alamo Wash. From the car to this point is about 30 minutes. When you reach the wash a less obvious trail takes off to the left up the ridge. This trail is marked by cairns and when we did it orange tape. Follow this as it contours along the hillside. When it turns left and begins to head up the hill for more than 100 feet drop back down to the point where it turned. From here bushwack towards some giant boulders down in the wash but up stream from where you are. Getting to the boulders should take and hour to an hour and a half from the car. It isn't fun but that is why they call it back country. From the boulders work your way up the wash until you are under the Dome. This last part of the approach is steep but not too bad. I was really dreading the approach which is why it took me 25 years to do it but I didn't find it as bad as I imagined.

This new approach description added on 4/02/2013. The last part of the original description might be helpful for actually getting from this new trail to the dome itself.

Drive to Catalina State Park on Oracle Road (Hwy. 77) just north of Tucson in Oro Valley.
After paying the entrance fee of $7.00 as of Jan. 2013, (self-pay if you've started as early as you should!), park at the parking lot for the Ruins Trail. Immediately after crossing the huge CDO wash, just before the trail heads uphill, there is a well used horse trail forking right. Take this trail as it climbs up onto a ridge that parallels the Ruins Trail ridge. It eventually heads right into Alamo Canyon. Right before it drops into the canyon there is a brand new trail that has been cut and groomed, by the FS I think, that stays on the left side of Alamo for quite a long ways now. It eventually drops into the canyon. Follow the canyon to the obvious side drainage that shoots straight up to Leviathan. This approach can take anywhere from 2 to 5 hours.

Routes from Left to Right

5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
 8
User Friendly
Trad 6 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R
 16
North Face
Trad 10 pitches
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
User Friendly
 8
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Trad 6 pitches
North Face
 16
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b R Trad 10 pitches

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Climbers on pitch 8 of North Face on Leviathan Dome. West side, Catalina Mts.
[Hide Photo] Climbers on pitch 8 of North Face on Leviathan Dome. West side, Catalina Mts.
wilderness dome from the summit of leviathan.  looks amazing, but would be at least another hour to get to.
[Hide Photo] wilderness dome from the summit of leviathan. looks amazing, but would be at least another hour to get to.
Catalina S.P. from the main road. Leviathon is the large face above the signs. Wilderness Dome is the one above and behind it. Table Mtn is the big'n on the far right.
[Hide Photo] Catalina S.P. from the main road. Leviathon is the large face above the signs. Wilderness Dome is the one above and behind it. Table Mtn is the big'n on the far right.
The clasic afternoon shot on the way out after another great day!
[Hide Photo] The clasic afternoon shot on the way out after another great day!
Jeff M. fixing up the rap anchor on the back. Single rope 70m. rap gets you down from here in style!
[Hide Photo] Jeff M. fixing up the rap anchor on the back. Single rope 70m. rap gets you down from here in style!
Joe Garcia on the NE face of Leviathan.
[Hide Photo] Joe Garcia on the NE face of Leviathan.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

[Hide Comment] Any body got info on User friendly? Thinking of heading up there soon. Mar 3, 2011
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
[Hide Comment] There's a description and long trip report on rockclimbing.com, but just fyi I think the area is closed for bighorn sheep lambing right now. Mar 3, 2011
Hendrixson
Littleton, CO
[Hide Comment] While I respect the seasonal raptor closures, obtain the proper permits and follow other access issues, I am conflicted about the lambing season restriction. See the below article:

Catalina bighorns are gone, but explanatory signs live on

Perhaps it is best to follow the restriction even if it is nonsensical. For the record I have never climbed at Pusch Ridge. Mar 4, 2011
[Hide Comment] Oh man, that is a really sad in the history of the Catalinas.
As a young high schooler I once packed camera gear up into those canyons hoping to get shots and see the bighorns. No luck, but I did have the fantastic pleasure of watching a pack of coatamundi come spilling down a tiny drainage. Bunch of amazing, smelly clowns those guys were.

BTW - I thought User Friendly was no give away.
Nothing like the std route but not a romp up either. Mar 8, 2011
Brian Benedon
Tucson
[Hide Comment] I saw one on the direct approach to the Finger back in 1992. He didn't seem to mind us, he watched us scramble up for quite some time.

The sheep are gone, therefore the rule no longer applies.

PS I was told by the state park rangers that only 3 rangers have authority to enforce that old law, and they are in Flagstaff. Apr 23, 2013