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Areas in Chessman Area

1 - Pawn & Chessapeak 7 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
2 - King 1 / 10 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
3 - Checkerboard 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
4 - Queen 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
5 - Bishop 1 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
6 - Knight 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
7 - Lorax & Ball Return 3 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
8 - One Day Wall 3 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Elevation: 5,200 ft
GPS: 32.36, -110.72 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 26,213 total · 222/month
Shared By: Hendrixson on May 12, 2008
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick
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The Chessman Area is a sprawling collection of more than 50 routes. While climbs were established as early as 1979, the crag really blossomed in 2008 when Eric-Fazio Rhicard and Jim Scott started developing the area.

The Chessman Area makes for an easy day of cragging due to its low elevation and proximity to the road. It has the opposite aspect of windy point. The main walls have shade until approximately 2pm.

The breakdown of the area from left to right is as follows:
  • Pawn & Chessapeak: The Chessapeak Wall, which is the south face of the Pawn, contains ten routes ranging from 5.6 to 5.10-. A number of the routes are traditional or mixed. Additional routes such as Hour of Power and The Phalanx are in the vicinity.
  • King: Thirteen traditional and sport lines ranging from 5.9- to 5.12+. Serf's Up (5.12-) on the Rampart and King's Arete are classic. This area includes the King's Rampart sector.
  • Checkerboard: Five sport and mixed routes ranging from 5.8 to 5.10.
  • Queen: Five routes, one of which is gear protected, ranging in difficulty from 5.10 to 5.11+. Two Kings And A Pawn is a Mount Lemmon modern classic.
  • Knight: The six front-facing, sport lines range in difficulty from 5.10 to 5.11. Knight Owl and Knight Maneuvers are considered the best. The four traditional and mixed lines on the south face are 5.6 to 5.9+ and all are R rated.
  • Lorax & Ball Return: Nine routes ranging in difficulty from 5.9 to 5.10+. Some are gear and some are sport.
  • One Day Wall: Seven moderate sport and traditional routes with difficulties ranging from 5.6 to 5.9-.

Getting There

When driving up the Mount Lemmon Highway pass the Seven Cataracts Vista, continuing a quarter mile. At approximately mile mark 9.4 park in a small, tree-lined pullout on the right that has a drainage.

Disembark and hike straight up the rocky drainage for approximately 15 minutes. The strenuous hike involves a small amount of scrambling but is over soon enough. A fork near the cliff divides the Queen and Bishop sectors. The former is reached by the left, uphill fork; the latter by the right, level fork.

This is also the currently accepted approach for the Pumphouse and the Andy Cook Wall.

56 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Chessman Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Obviously You're Not A Golfer
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Nuts and Bolts
Trad, Sport 2 pitches
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Queen of Kings
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Bobby Fissure
Trad, Sport
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Spanish American Match
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
Knight Owl
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Two Kings And A Pawn
5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
The Fool's Gambit
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Hour of Power
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Serfs up
5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Flogging the Bishop
5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
King's Arete
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Obviously You're Not A Golfer 7 - Lorax & Ball Return 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Nuts and Bolts 5 - Bishop 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad, Sport 2 pitches
Queen of Kings 3 - Checkerboard 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Bobby Fissure 2 - King 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad, Sport
Checkmate 6 - Knight 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Spanish American Match 5 - Bishop 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Knight Owl 6 - Knight 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Gamesmanship 2 - King 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Two Kings And A Pawn 4 - Queen 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Fool's Gambit 2 - King 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Hour of Power 1 - Pawn & Chessapeak 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Serfs up 2 - King 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Heelium 5 - Bishop 5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a Sport
Flogging the Bishop 5 - Bishop 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
King's Arete 2 - King 5.12c/d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Chessman Area »

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jaspur Chafer
jaspur Chafer   tucson,az
went out today to scout the crag. does anyone have a detailed topo? i was a little confused as to which route is which. beautiful area. cant wait to get on it and climb. the kings rampart is cool. super creative belay station. what routes start from that spot? May 2, 2014
Thanks there Jimbo... not from here. Just lookin to climb while Im out here and found the description for this area obnoxious.

cheers Nov 27, 2013
Tyler, everyone, but you I guess, knows where the chessman is now. We originally posted it as a "super secrete area" as a tongue and cheek response to the Isolation Canyon developers. They posted loads of pics but kept the location secrete for quite sometime.

Anyway the first pullout on the right about a quarter mile past the 7 Cataracts Vista parking area is where you park for the Chessman. Just follow the drainage and trail straight up from the pullout. Lots of good climbs of all grades. Stays shady till 2:00 or so this time of year. So go late or wait for a warm day.

Cheers Nov 27, 2013
so where is Chessman then? Why flaunt pictures of the area and then withhold the location... pretty lame in my book. If your gonna keep it secret, keep it secret. Nov 27, 2013
Cornickopia has a chain draw half way down in order to make cleaning easier. Dec 13, 2012
Casa do Cacete
Christian   Casa do Cacete
The 11- just left of Flogging the Bishop/Heelium??? (ie far left end of the Bishop). Don't believe those two share a start but it could certainly look that way at first glance.

Can't remember whether it had a chain draw for cleaning or not, but since it leans left the whole way, would make sense if it did.

Not shown on my topo so don't know what it's called. Dec 13, 2012
Is it up there on the wall next to the thin seems with the orange rock? You know the one that starts above the ledge with the bushes? You know the one with the carabiners and quick links at the anchors. A little more info would help. Except for the chain draw you just described half a dozen routes there. You might start by looking at the overhead in SQ II on page 44 so you know if you were on the Queen or not.

Is it left or right of the two routes that start the same? Is it to the right of the trail that leads up to the wall? But thinking about the Queen, I think there are 4 of 5 routes that have the same start. The only one I can remember having a chain draw is on the far right just before the big alcove gully. This climb starts on Handmaiden 5.10 (has a belay bolt with a small plate that has 101 ft. stamped on it) then works right. There is a hard move over a roof. Seem to remember a chain draw being on that one as it was hard to clip just the bolt. Can't remember the name off hand but do recall that it was 11+ or so. If Jimbo doesn't chime in with a name I will look it up when I get to my office. Dec 13, 2012
Flagstaff AZ
Jackson.   Flagstaff AZ
Hey I recently climbed a route on the queen formation perhaps??? It was located next to two routes that share a start. The climb was long and broken up half way by a ledge with a single perma-draw. It continued up a groove/shallow dihedral and pulled a bulge right before the anchors. Anybody know what route this is? Dec 13, 2012
Tucson, AZ
Hendrixson   Tucson, AZ
The comment was originally posted under Isolation Canyon (150 miles north of here). I'm no sure why it is showing up here. Jul 10, 2012
Not sure where Nathan got his information but I just talked to the folks at the Catalina Ranger District (Mt. Lemmon) and the FOREST IS NOT, I REPEAT NOT CLOSED. There are fire restrictions. Jul 10, 2012
A.P.T.   Truckee,Ca
Almost all newer routes have been posted here in the chessman area. Maybe some will be saved for the newer edition to "Squeezing The Lemmon? Jun 1, 2010
Neill Prohaska
Tucson, AZ
Neill Prohaska   Tucson, AZ least it's not too hard to figure out where Isolation Canyon is... Someone just needs to do some reconn, I suppose...… May 2, 2010
The secrete will be revealed as soon as the Isolation Canyon lads do a topo and tell people where that area is.
Or when Rhicard publishes the new Lemmon Guide book, which ever comes first. Apr 30, 2010
Eric Foster
Chandler/Flagstaff, AZ
Eric Foster   Chandler/Flagstaff, AZ
haha I know where this place is. Definitely wanna go when is the secret going to be let out? Apr 30, 2010
Neill Prohaska
Tucson, AZ
Neill Prohaska   Tucson, AZ
Thanks! Just out of curiosity, why is the Chessman area not here on MP? Apr 29, 2010
Jimbo is poking fun at the boys in Isolation Canyon. Apr 28, 2010
Neill Prohaska
Tucson, AZ
Neill Prohaska   Tucson, AZ
Hmm...if some simple deduction and typing in the query "chessman" here at MP reveals the super uber secret area, it's not so super uber secret, now is it? Why this silliness anyway? Apr 28, 2010
Casa do Cacete
Christian   Casa do Cacete
Hehe If Eric M's post from 5 months ago doesn't spell it out enough, I don't know what would.

I kinda liked EFR's hiding-in-plain-sight approach better though. Mar 17, 2009
Andrew McCallister
Centennial, CO
Andrew McCallister   Centennial, CO
This area sounds like one I know from Squeezing the Lemmon? Mar 17, 2009
Tucson, Arizona
eMurdock   Tucson, Arizona
Erica B. redpointed Helium (5.12) at the Chessman today!! Another 12 for the tribe. Oct 23, 2008
jbak .
jbak .   tucson,az
I got forked once. Jul 11, 2008
You'll never feel rooked at the Super Mega Secret area. We always have a royal good time here. May 20, 2008
Jimbo is only poking fun at some guys who seem to be isolating themselves in a canyon up north near the town of Pine. He tried to pawn this area off on some other folks the other knight but they felt that they were being rooked. He tried to tell them they could be king and queen of the castle but they were not buying his game. They said they wouldn't believe what Jim said if he was the bishop. Any way you should check it out mate there are lots of good moves to be made at the Super Mega Secret Show And Tell Only Area! May 18, 2008

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