Elevation: 7,000 ft
GPS: 35.12, -111.935 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 88,496 total · 715/month
Shared By: Jed Alan on Dec 27, 2009
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

Description

Northern Arizona basalt canyon, near Paradise Forks. Up to 300ft routes. Lots of Adventure. This place is Worthy and the camping is the best part.

“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.
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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.

Getting There

From Flagstaff head west on Interstate 40 towards Williams. Exit at the Parks Exit, and head south on FR 141. Follow that until the junction of 527 (also looking for "Boy Scout Camp" signs at this point), and take a left. Stay on 527 for almost two miles where there will be another junction (FR 530), take a right. In a half mile, take a left back onto FR 527. Follow this for two miles and eventually you will literally cross over the very top of the canyon. After you go through the wash, look for roads on the right for parking on the South Side.

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.

128 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Volunteer Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 16
Lost Highway
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 30
A Rusted Rapture
Trad
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 21
Pig Iron
Trad
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 15
Green Knight
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 23
Sindarete
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 13
Drop the Hammer
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 22
Phantasm
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 15
Cash, Grass, or Ass
Trad
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 13
Nyctophiliac
Trad
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13
 5
Jade Feather
Trad
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 5
Edge of an Age
Trad 2 pitches
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 6
Death Dealer
Trad
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b
 5
Like a Shadow in the Night
Trad
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
 3
Disco's Dead
Trad
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a
 3
Shoshin
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Lost Highway N Side > 4. Tralfamadore Wall
 16
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
A Rusted Rapture S Side > 2. E End Wall
 30
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Pig Iron S Side > 5. The Iron Wall
 21
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Trad
Green Knight N Side > 3. The Middle Ages
 15
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Sindarete S Side > 6. Memorial Wall
 23
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
Drop the Hammer S Side > 6. Memorial Wall
 13
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Phantasm S Side > 7. W End Wall
 22
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
Cash, Grass, or Ass S Side > 7. W End Wall
 15
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Trad
Nyctophiliac S Side > 7. W End Wall
 13
5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Trad
Jade Feather S Side > 7. W End Wall
 5
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b PG13 Trad
Edge of an Age N Side > 3. The Middle Ages
 5
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Trad 2 pitches
Death Dealer S Side > 2. E End Wall
 6
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Trad
Like a Shadow in the Night S Side > 7. W End Wall
 5
5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b Trad
Disco's Dead S Side > 7. W End Wall
 3
5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c Trad
Shoshin S Side > 7. W End Wall
 3
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a Trad
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