Volunteer Canyon Rock Climbing
|GPS:||35.12, -111.935 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
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|Shared By:||Jed Alan on Dec 27, 2009|
Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick
History (Admin Only): JJ Schlick edited "Description" Nov 3, 2018 View all 7
JJ Schlick edited "Description" Nov 18, 2018
JJ Schlick edited "Description" Dec 7, 2018
JJ Schlick edited "Description" May 23, 2019
JJ Schlick edited "Description" Jun 19, 2019
JJ Schlick edited "Getting There" Sep 11, 2019
JJ Schlick edited "Description" Feb 27, 2020
“Volunteer Canyon does host some of the tallest columnar basalt in NAZ, but probably not in a way you would like to imagine. Compared to Paradise Forks, Volunteer Canyon is wild, blocky, unkempt, often loose, dirty, and seldom visited. Though there is a growing number of neo classics to be found, it is still a place to get away from the crowds and explore your sense of adventure. The scenery and the over all vibe of the place is worth the visit. And for some, will lead to many more. It is an amazing canyon which intimidates and inspires.
In the early days Volunteer Canyon was known by local climbers as The Cwm, which is a Whelsh term for a steep mountain cirque. I believe it was Scott Baxter who coined it.
Surprisingly, this area was climbed at before the discovery of Paradise Forks. After that fateful finding of the Forks however, Volunteer turned into a ghost town, back water area which was known for having terrible road access, hard to find established routes, and poorly maintained lines due to neglect. The easily accessed Paradise Forks eclipsed Volunteer, and development here came to a grinding halt. More modern development through the 80's and 90's continued in the form of infrequent, short bursts by folks who worked in quiet and did not leave much evidence of their coming and going. Volunteer is now receiving the attention it always deserved with modern classics being born or rediscovered every short season.
Most of the routes listed here require rapping into specific belay points or ledges. Bringing an ascender and a grigri down to the belay is prudent in case the need arise to retreat up your fixed line. This canyon is known for moving wind around and may make verbal communication impossible. The belays can take a while, so dress accordingly. You can always haul stuff out on the fixed line.” JJ
THE NORTH SIDE is home to such age old classics as Tralfamadore 5.9+, and Beautiful Day 5.8+. It is a stunning series of columns and quite a lot to take in the first time you see it. New age classics such as The Lost Highway, Green Knight, and White Hawk should keep you happily dancing in the sun.
THE SOUTH SIDE is a collection of unique walls, with routes scattered about in the folds of it's teetering columns. Home to the Canary Cracks which were first lead in the 1970s, as well as some more modern endeavors which certainly expand the scope of NAZ basalt and it's classic lines. While having to rap into specific belays is time consuming, it does allow one to clean the route on the way down. This side sees regular dirt runoff during seasonal rains. A tooth brush will do wonders. A mini whisk brush will work miracles.
CAMPING- The South Side hosts the camping on off roads that parallel the canyon, and eventually will lead you to a beautiful open point. The camping is as good as it gets, but please keep it clean, and haul out your trash, drown your campfires, and dispose of waste properly. This little road is officially closed to motor vehicles, however it is used by campers, sight seers, climbers, hikers, etc. on a regular basis. Fair warning.
That being said, these roads see a lot of abuse, seasonal closures, are choked with boulders, and are of otherwise ill temper. A 4X4 will be needed in anything but perfect dry conditions. A high clearance vehicle minimum, and expect to drive pretty slowly. With a good vehicle, the total drive time from Flagstaff takes about 45 minutes and is roughly 30 miles, however the bad section is only a three mile final stretch.
Classic Climbing Routes at Volunteer Canyon
Days w Precip