Elevation: 6,055 ft
GPS: 35.035, -111.715 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 59,354 total · 399/month
Shared By: Mike on Jul 14, 2009 · Updates
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Brian Boyd

Description

The Ultimates area is located in Pumphouse Wash, a beautiful tributary of Oak Creek Canyon. It offers many sandstone trad routes and a few sport lines, with potential for more, and features handful of very high quality routes. The setting is sublime; a high-desert canyon with big sandstone walls, surrounded by a giant ponderosa pine forest. The canyon is often mostly dry, but of course in wet weather it can be raging.

The area was, to my knowledge, discovered for climbing in the mid 1980's by several prominent climbers of the time, including: John Mattson, Jim Haisley, Tim & Larry Coats, Stan Mish, Steve Grossman, and Paul Davidson. They put up some of the classic crack lines, like Ultimate Dihedral, White Wedding, and the mega-classic Ultimate Fingercrack. Although the area was infrequently visited, occasional waves of development have occurred over the years, and it seems to be ramping up again.

Getting There

NOTE: For best directions with no history or fluff, skip down to the last paragraph.

There have been many ways that people have accessed The Ultimates area over the years, though none would be considered easy. My first time there, we just took the first forest service road North of The Overlook & drove until it ended on the canyon rim. We then found a gully & bushwhacked down. You can still access it this way, though there is now a trail to make it easier. People have also traditionally hiked up Pumphouse Wash from the bottom of the switchbacks on highway 89A, which is both incredibly beautiful and a very long slog.

More recently climbers have found easier (though certainly not easy) access points. In the mid 2000's a 2 pitch route called Ultimate Frisbee was established with bolted belay stations, and some climbers preferred to access the area by rappelling in (2 raps) and climbing out. If you choose to do this, take I-17 and exit at Newman Park, drive about 2 miles then turn right, follow this about a mile til the canyon is in view. Park at cairns and hike 0.07mi to the rap station, which I'm told is located at: N35*02.158 W111*42.825.

Most climbers these days use the 'Secret Passage' approach established by Darren Mabe in 2013/2014. To do this, take I-17 South from Flagstaff for about 10 miles or so. Exit right at Newman Park Road (exit 328 I think) and drive roughly west for about 2.5 miles to a right turn on forest road 253G. Follow this .8 miles to the parking spot. The GPS coordinates, I'm told, are: N35.038; W111.714 . Once there, follow the topo below, created by Darren Mabe. For higher resolution, see the original photo submitted by Darren, located in the pictures below. This is the preferred access for many people.

55 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Ultimates

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 33
Ultimate Dihedral
Trad
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R
 11
White Wedding
Trad 2 pitches
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 41
Ultimate Finger Crack
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 11
The Ultimator
Trad
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 5
Ultimate Bag Of Tricks
Trad
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 3
Hyperborea
Trad
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 12
Ultimarete
Sport
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 14
Pony Express
Sport
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 12
Lil' Smokie's First Toke
Sport
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 3
Cry Havoc
Trad 3 pitches
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13
 10
Twist of Fate
Trad 3 pitches
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
 8
Iron Horse
Sport
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
 3
Lil' Slopie
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c V7 7A+
 3
End of the Line
Sport, Boulder
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
 5
Lil' Smokie Shoots for the Moon
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Ultimate Dihedral Ultimates East
 33
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
White Wedding Ultimates West
 11
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c R Trad 2 pitches
Ultimate Finger Crack Ultimates West
 41
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
The Ultimator Ultimates East
 11
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
Ultimate Bag Of Tricks Ultimates West
 5
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad
Hyperborea Ultimates East
 3
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Trad
Ultimarete Ultimates West
 12
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Pony Express Ultimates East
 14
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Lil' Smokie's First Toke Ultimates West
 12
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Cry Havoc Ultimates West
 3
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad 3 pitches
Twist of Fate Ultimates West
 10
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13 Trad 3 pitches
Iron Horse Ultimates East
 8
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b Sport
Lil' Slopie Ultimates West
 3
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b Sport
End of the Line Ultimates East
 3
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c V7 7A+ Sport, Boulder
Lil' Smokie Shoots for the… Ultimates West
 5
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Ultimates »

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