DWS East Clear Creek Climbing
|GPS:||34.968, -110.647 Google Map · Climbing Map|
|Page Views:||39,797 total, 372/month|
|Shared By:||Colin Cox on Feb 28, 2009|
|Admins:||Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick|
DescriptionDownstream of the Winslow Wall is Arizona's best DWS venue - East Clear Creek Reservoir. The same Coconino Sandstone walls rise out of deep water, offering fun, boat accessed rock climbing at all levels of difficulty. Knowing how to swim is the only requirement for this area, but to fully enjoy it you will want some sort of water craft that can be paddled or motored along this 2 mile long stretch of East Clear Creek. The current is negligible but a windy day can make paddling a battle, so think about bringing a water craft that will conserve your energy for the plentiful pumpy climbs. The climbing ranges from low ball bouldering to serious deep water solos. The rule of thumb is picking a line with a clean fall to deep water. One must become aware of the dangers lurking beneath the surface, such as rocks or sand bars. Testing each landing zone for depth and obstacles is highly recommended. Yearly flooding can change the floor of the reservoir. Don't assume that established climbs are safe. Test the water yourself.
As you get comfortable with falling and jumping into the deep water, remain diligent about the dangers. One can get lulled into assuming the water is deep everywhere, but it isn't. Changing light conditions can hide shallow water or submerged rocks. Never habitually dive from any climbs. Play it safe as I did on my first day of water soloing here. Clouds had moved over and the surface of the water turned dark. Feeling confident from a long day of crashing into deep water and never feeling the bottom, I was by myself and I nearly dove headfirst from an untested 20 foot drop. Luckily I remembered the NO DIVING rule we all agreed to at the put in. Turns out the water was only 4 feet deep. Had I done a dive, it would have been my head and neck that hit the sand bar instead of my feet and ass. Diving is super fun but it really is not worth the risk unless you and your friends are 100% certain about the safety of the area you are in. Water soloing seems so safe but in reality an accident in the water takes on a whole new dimension of seriousness. Please be careful.
Dangers aside, the climbing experience here is unlike anything else in Arizona. Climbers rarely venture into 100 degree heat to go climbing, but here it's all just meant to be. The sandstone is grippy even with warm hands and wet shoes. The water is chilly, but an invigorating relief from the blazing summer sun. You'll go from broiling to shivering as you go from boat, to rock, to water, and then back to the boat again. Climbing becomes a way to cool off. Be sure to bring plenty of water, a towel, a sun hat, a dry bag, and any other comforts one might bring for a day on a lake. Once you put in at McHood Park you will be out for the day so pack wisely.
- **Bring a large trash bag to collect the plentiful bottles, cans, cups and other trash floating in the creek or on the rocks and beaches. If you forget just use your boat as a big trash can until you get back to McHood Park.
Getting ThereHeading south out of Winslow on Hwy 87 you'll want to watch your speed. Just as you begin to speed up, Hwy 99 will come up quickly on the east. Turn left onto Hwy 99 and drive to Lake McHood Park about 5 miles down the road. Cross the bridge and turn left to free parking and a convenient put in spot. This is a popular summer picnic area for the locals of the region. Park mindfully.
Captain your vessel upstream and under the bridge. Continue another 1/2 mile to where the cliffs begin to offer safe climbing above the water. Yeah Buddy is the first published climb you will encounter on your right or West Side. The warm up boulder is further upstream on your left or East Side. Routes are divided between the the East and West sides of the creek. The treasure map I made years ago can serve as a reference for locating some of the classics, but it is not GPSed, just my best guess. The walls get taller as you go, and soon you will see more lines than you could possibly climb in a summer.
Classic Climbing Routes at DWS East Clear Creek
Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season