Elevation: 7,200 ft
GPS: 32.423, -110.717 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 5,561 total · 50/month
Shared By: Chris Prewitt on Oct 21, 2009
Admins: Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Greg Opland
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A truly unique area for Mount Lemmon, the Butterfly Wall and the Trundle Pinnacle rank among the best crags around. The highly varied rock, in most places more similar to bullet-hard sandstone than granite, offers features found nowhere else on the mountain. Long pitches of impeccable stone, entire faces of pockets, overhangs, trad and sport climbs all await you. The environment and majestic views also make climbing here a lasting experience. Maybe it's just muscle soreness from the approach.

This wall saw its first technical climbing back in 1974 by Rich Thompson and Dave Baker. A lack of easily protectable traditional routes and a lengthy bushwack seemed to be enough to deter further development. Modern equipment and mentalities have shown this area to hold a plethora of quality climbing. NOTE: Some routes here require a 70M rope, and in some cases special tactics, to safely lower off.

Clearly visible from the Catalina Highway (Mi. 24) near the Loma Linda pullout as well as from the Butterfly Trail below, the wall still maintains a secluded atmosphere. Given the minimal human presence here the plants and animals are still in relatively pristine condition. Grass and trees at the base of the crag are a welcomed change to the dirt and erosion found at many other areas. Deer and turkey are a regular sight on the hike. In an effort to maintain this environment for future generations please take extra care to minimize your impact. Most of all enjoy your surroundings.

Approach Beta

Follow driving directions to the summit/trailhead parking on Mount Bigelow. Walk away from the radio towers (north) and down the main Butterfly trail for a few yards until a smaller trail branches off to the left. Follow this onto the ridge then down a steepening hill. You should be able to see the top of the formation slightly down-canyon. At a large, grassy saddle walk left (NW) down the slope and pick up a climbersÂ’ trail that heads across the hill (N). The trial makes a few switchbacks before making a long traverse of the hillside. Once the trail begins to near the ridge, and close to a point directly above the wall it switchbacks down to the saddle on the back of the formation. From here head left (S) around the shoulder of the formation before a final short scramble down to the base of the wall. The last few switchbacks wrap back to the wall below the wide-diagonal crack on the far right of the west face. Average time to wall: 30 minutes, to car: 45 minutes.

9 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Butterfly Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Iron Butterfly
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Iron Butterfly
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
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1Eric Rhicard
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
This wall has a long 25-35 minute approach and a killer 45-60 minute hike out and it is worth every painful step back up the hill. The climbing is great and the setting matches the climbing. The pocket routes on Trundle Pinnacle are a blast and they are the only true pocket climbs I know of in the Catalinas. The long routes on the Butterfly Walls overhanging orange walls are as good as anything on the mountain. Take the hike, just be sure to take everything you don't absolutely need out of your pack! Oct 21, 2009
jbak .
jbak .   tucson,az
Good work you suckers !

This crag has been on my "gotta-go-back-and-check-it-out" list for about 10 years now. It was in Steiger's guide and the old Summit Hut guide, but not in EFRs. So I figured everyone had forgotten about it. And it wasn't visible from the highway until the recent fire cleared out all the trees. So I figured I had all the time in the world.


I first visited the crag in 1979. It was a desperate manzanita thrash to get there. To my purely trad eyes it looked funky and only a few lines looked protectable. But it has been sitting in the back of my mind ever since.

Anyway, now I'll have to see what it's all about. Thanks for putting in the work, you probably saved me a lot of $$ ! Oct 28, 2009
Tacoma, Toyota
Red   Tacoma, Toyota
Great work establishing these routes! Awesome spot!

Hike out was... fun? relentless?
First time hiking out took me 36 minutes, base of wall to parking. With a full pack of course. Jun 15, 2010
37 minutes of thigh-burning fun for the hike out for me. Is anyone up for the challenge of beasting out of this place in sub 30 minutes? The hike out is worth every step after climbing on this wall. Jun 20, 2010
My dog made it in 39 minutes (no pack).

Don't have a 70M and/or just want a little taste? Try Pocket Protector, Wing Development, Green Flash, Other Side of the Fence. Jun 23, 2010
Pat Mac
Salt Lake City
Pat Mac   Salt Lake City
@Red did you climb that day? Ryan told me you didn't? Jul 2, 2010
The approach trail is faint in places and there are plenty of logs down after the winter. Still worth every dirty step. Apr 29, 2012
Truly a must-visit Mt. Lemmon area. Beautiful setting, great lines. 2 fresh biners left at the belay for Papillon/Iron Butterfly as of 6/1/13 to make rapping from there easier. Jun 1, 2013