Kelly Canyon Bouldering
|GPS:||35.066, -111.7 Google Map · Climbing Map|
|Shared By:||Andrew Ryder on May 3, 2008|
|Admins:||Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick|
DescriptionA peaceful forested canyon with plentiful bouldering on cliffs and boulders of Coconino sandstone. Dramatic curved slashes stripe the walls, the lithified remnants of sand dunes deposited 260 million years ago. These slashes birth many slopers and incut rails, lending to a unique and distinctly technical sort of climbing. Many problems here are moderately to seriously highball with committing, sloping topouts so multiple pads and spotters are pretty much essential.
The rock at Kelly is notoriously variable in quality: tacky and bullet-hard in some places, sandy and crumbly elsewhere. Rain and snowmelt seep can render the stone filthy and breakable. Tread carefully, especially early in the season and after storms, and don't forget to bring a soft-bristled brush. (A broom isn't a bad idea, either.) Take the time to brush topouts before climbing. Accessing the clifftops is trivial, and pre-cleaning will improve your experience significantly.
Fall is the prime season here: it's cool, dry, and colorful. Summers can be toasty, though it's easy to find shade. However, winter is a bust - the roads usually close by late November and the canyon loads up with snowdrifts and deep, icy pools. Unless it is an especially warm and snowless winter, don't plan on visiting between the first snow and perhaps the middle of April.
Like any wild place, Kelly Canyon is special and irreplaceable, and I urge you to be attentive, tread lightly, and appreciate the peace and sanctity of this area.
Fragile Sandstone: Don't Climb Wet Rock Details
Kelly Canyon is a sandstone climbing area and the rock is very fragile when wet. Be aware of recent weather and ask a local if you are unsure of conditions. Do not climb for at least a day following rainfall. Do not climb on rock that is visibly moist or seeping.
Getting ThereMost of the developed rock is in east Kelly Canyon, which is accessed via Kelly Canyon Rd. off I-17 a few miles south of Flagstaff. Several problems exist near the confluence of west Kelly Canyon and Pumphouse Wash, accessed from FR 237 off 89A heading south to Sedona. Check subpages and/or PM for specifics.
Classic Climbing Routes at Kelly Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season