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Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalina Mountains)

Arizona > Southern Arizona

Description

The Santa Catalina Mountains are more commonly known among climbers and non-climbers alike as, simply, Mount Lemmon. Although Mount Lemmon is only one of many peaks within the Santa Catalina range, its name has been casually applied to the range as a whole for some time.

Mount Lemmon, rising to an elevation of 9,157 feet above sea level, offers some of the best climbing in Arizona. More than 1,500 climbing routes can be found on the mountain, making it one of the most popular climbing areas in the state. With crags located at elevations ranging from 2,500-9,000', comfortable climbing temps can be found year round.

While the vast majority of the climbs in this area are accessed by the Catalina Highway, there are parts of the range accessed otherwise. This area has been organized based on access and geographical location.

Be aware of the many objective dangers that inhabit these mountains... loose rock, old hardware, extreme heat and cold, bark scorpions, gila monsters, lightning, multiple species of rattlesnakes and, perhaps most importantly, flash floods. Stay out of arroyos and major drainages, particularly during the monsoon season of July-August! Flash floods can present a lethal danger, even when skies are clear in your immediate locale.

Finally, be advised that many climbing areas within the Santa Catalinas are closed seasonally (mainly January-July) for protection of peregrine falcons and bighorn sheep. We have made every effort to note closures and restrictions within those specific areas on this site, so please do your homework before planning a trip.

Getting There

The Santa Catalina Mountains are located immediately north of Tucson, and are accessible by a few different routes. See inidividual areas within the Santa Catalinas for more detailed information.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Lived in AZ for 25yrs, seen hundreds of rattlesnakes, however this is the first one I have seen like this. Peppersauce canyon.
[Hide Photo] Lived in AZ for 25yrs, seen hundreds of rattlesnakes, however this is the first one I have seen like this. Peppersauce canyon.
Aerial photo of the East end of Catalinas. Some crags pointed out. Munchkinland is hidden, but behind the ridge pointed to. The ruins can be seen easily.
[Hide Photo] Aerial photo of the East end of Catalinas. Some crags pointed out. Munchkinland is hidden, but behind the ridge pointed to. The ruins can be seen easily.
Simply perfect...
[Hide Photo] Simply perfect...
Panorama of the north side of the Santa Catalina mountains at sunset.  Visible climbing areas include Pusch Peak, Table Mountain, and the Domes above Catalina State Park.  Mt. Lemmon proper sits beyond the left edge of this photo.
[Hide Photo] Panorama of the north side of the Santa Catalina mountains at sunset. Visible climbing areas include Pusch Peak, Table Mountain, and the Domes above Catalina State Park. Mt. Lemmon proper sits be…
Wide eye.
[Hide Photo] Wide eye.
Tower Solo at Sunset
[Hide Photo] Tower Solo at Sunset
If you are climbing at Mt Lemon, you will probably be saying in Tucson. This will be your evening view, even from downtown.<br>
Sunset on Grant Street. Photo by Tony Bubb, 12/24/01.
[Hide Photo] If you are climbing at Mt Lemon, you will probably be saying in Tucson. This will be your evening view, even from downtown. Sunset on Grant Street. Photo by Tony Bubb, 12/24/01.
Gus Barber getting Eclipsed. Photo by Zach Clanton
[Hide Photo] Gus Barber getting Eclipsed. Photo by Zach Clanton
Chrysicolla and Fishhook Pincushion Cactus (Mammilaria grahamii), Mt. Lemmon
[Hide Photo] Chrysicolla and Fishhook Pincushion Cactus (Mammilaria grahamii), Mt. Lemmon
Pusch Ridge Area
[Hide Photo] Pusch Ridge Area
Pusch Ridge Area
[Hide Photo] Pusch Ridge Area
A superb lieback crack at sun spots. Gosh the upper section is tough for 10+
[Hide Photo] A superb lieback crack at sun spots. Gosh the upper section is tough for 10+

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Andy Bennett
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] Thanks for re-organizing this, looks great! Jul 19, 2010
1Eric Rhicard
Tucson
[Hide Comment] That is some funny shit Andrew. I thought you were working construction, but you are going to film school. Good for you! Ha Ha Aug 18, 2010
[Hide Comment] Mt. Lemmon can't be a decent place to climb when there are headless bodies being found in the Arizona desert. Sep 6, 2010
ryan dillon
Tucson, AZ.
[Hide Comment] That's just what happens when you get caught adding bolts to an existing route or taking the biners from the anchors. Sep 6, 2010
[Hide Comment] Say what you will. I trust the governor. Elected officials never lie. I'll just take my Bosch and my swag, and go where I can be appreciated. Sep 7, 2010
[Hide Comment] 2 weeks ago there was a momma bird sitting in a moss nest at the Lower Wall on one of the first holds of a route to the far right (don't know the name of it).
Somebody decided to either move/discard the nest. Would have been nice to just leave her alone and pick a different line for the time that she needed to be there. Jul 31, 2011
Meghan
Sierra Vista, AZ
[Hide Comment] Someone has scattered rat poison around the base of The Orifice Wall here on Mt. Lemmon, presumably to kill the mice that occasionally raid lunches. This is obviously NOT COOL. Whomever did it obviously wasn't thinking about the squirrels, chipmunks, birds, reptiles that eat them, and other people's dogs. We may not like for animals to get into our things, but this is their habitat-- even the mice-- not ours. Not that any rangers would ever know about it, but this would also be a great way to get access to a crag taken away. Everyone there today was on the same page that this is VERY bad form by some fellow climber. Whoever you are, please don't be an embarrassment to our sport or a menace to the environment again. Oct 17, 2011
aaron voreis
Edina, MN
[Hide Comment] Hi I will be in Tucson next week and am looking to get out climbing. I have a flexible schedule and would like to get down to Cochise if possible. I am a very competent, yet out of shape climber who would like to stay in the 5.8-5.9 rang. I don't mind taking a competent intermediate climber out.

Thanks!
Aaron

e-mail
aaronvoreis@gmail.com
or text 612+759+1876 Feb 23, 2012
Josh Borof
Telluride Co
[Hide Comment] Never climbed in the area. Wondering if anyone can recommend some crags and camping. I will be with my kids, 5&8 yrs. burgeoning climbers who really like a short approach! Single pitch would be best. Any advice?
Cheers
Josh Mar 9, 2012
Christian Roda o Back
Casa do Cacete
[Hide Comment] Prison Camp/Jailhouse might work, there's camping there but usually full. Molino Basin lower should have spots.

Also Hairpin Turn, though watch the runouts on some of the older climbs. Also some are mixed but on MP as sport. Mar 10, 2012
[Hide Comment] just want to clear up, is this place closed during jan-?

the ENTIRE place? or just certain parts? Thanks!! Dec 26, 2012
[Hide Comment] Jan. 20, 2013 near Barnum Rock, found Canon Digital Camera, apparently dropped heavily, could be repaired? I cannot retrieve photos to ID owner. Please give camera description and means of returning. Can contact me here through E-mail.

Robert Flore Jan 22, 2013
[Hide Comment] Left six BD quickdraws at the Outcroppings on 8/20. They were picked up before we went back on 8/24. I'm very attached to this gear, as they were given to me by my best friend, who died of cancer recently. Please contact me about how I can get them back. Thanks...Robert McLeod biblebob54@gmail.com, 520 270 4714. Aug 27, 2013
[Hide Comment] Robert is a really nice guy. If you found the draws it would be great to get them back to him. Thanks! Aug 27, 2013
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
[Hide Comment] With all due respect, Geir, I don't think getting one's draws back should have anything to do with whether one is a "really nice guy" (or was climbing with the first ascentionist, or etc.). If it's the right thing to do, then it's the right thing to do--period. Aug 27, 2013
[Hide Comment] You are right Charles. He should get his draws back. I figured it couldn't hurt to say that he's a good person, though. Aug 27, 2013
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
[Hide Comment] Even jerks and reprobates should get their draws back :) Aug 28, 2013
[Hide Comment] Ha! You are beating me Charles!

What if Darth Vader lost those draws but he took them from a band of Ewoks he slaughtered? F*** that!

By the way Robert would never kill Ewoks he is much too kind. Please return his draws because of this. :) Aug 28, 2013
Charles Vernon
mind & body in Colorado, he…
[Hide Comment] If Darth was the first ascentionist's father's brother's nephew's cousin's former roommate, I might consider giving them back. Aug 28, 2013
[Hide Comment] Ben,

Go look up sarcasm in the dictionary, and read the whole post. Sep 23, 2013
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
[Hide Comment] Jimbo....go look up irony in the dictionary and get back to the thread. Sep 23, 2013
caesar.salad
earth
[Hide Comment] Is there any general reason that the majority of the routes are only 2 stars? Rock not solid? Bad bolting? Just bad lines in general? I want to move to the area because of the option to climb outside year round but I am dissuaded by the mediocre evals the majority of the routes have. Feb 19, 2015
jbak .
tucson,az
[Hide Comment] Senor salad...

Around here 2 stars is a strong rating. We are used to a 3-star system (local guidebook) and so we don't give 3 stars very easily. And usually 4 is reserved for something really special. So don't let the 2 star plethora put you off. 2 stars means good....GOOD ! Feb 19, 2015
caesar.salad
earth
[Hide Comment] Thanks! Good to know. I'll put Tucson higher on my list of possibilities. Feb 19, 2015
[Hide Comment] To reinforce Jbak's comment. We often go back to a climb we did years ago and after climbing it wonder why we only gave it two stars.
The new guide book will have a four star system. Feb 20, 2015
jbak .
tucson,az
[Hide Comment] One small cloud...if you are a truly high-end sporto you will run through our meager offerings pretty fast. A site search of routes 13c and up reveals only a dozen recorded in the southern AZ section. Feb 20, 2015
caesar.salad
earth
[Hide Comment] Nah, I lead in the 10s. I doubt I will suddenly start crushing 14s anytime soon. Though I do like to boulder and I noticed there is a minimal amount... though I did see tucsonbouldering.com and oldpueblobouldering.com so it's nice that a lot of development is happening. Feb 22, 2015
Baul Powron
Tucson, AZ
[Hide Comment] Looking to get started on a trad rack. For Lemmon climbing, should I go with 2 sets of Metolius size 1-4's or 1 set of size 00-6? Mar 1, 2016
Paul Zander
Bern, CH
[Hide Comment] Baul Powron - a good starter rack would be a single set of metolius from 2-8. Or the equivalent in BD - 0.3-3. Plus nuts! Mar 2, 2016
Victoria Gamache
Santa Rosa, CA
[Hide Comment] Is there a good guide book for Mount Lemmon? Apr 15, 2016
Kurt Jensen
Aptos,CA
[Hide Comment] Hi. We have been climbing for almost a week at Mt. Lemmon, visiting from NorCal and climbing with some local friends. On Wed. April 20, we were at Ridgeline as a ground of 6, and 3 of my draws got left by accident. I went back on the 22nd and they were not found. Did anyone climb there and find draws on the 21st? Thanks! Apr 23, 2016
[Hide Comment] Victoria, check out the following:
mountainproject.com/v/new-g… Jun 25, 2016
[Hide Comment] Living on the East Side of Tucson! Looking for people to climb!! Jan 3, 2017
[Hide Comment] Found a squeezing the Lemmon III guidebook at pine head with no name written anywhere but it easily identifiable. Let me know if it's yours and and how.
cheers,
joe Jan 8, 2017
[Hide Comment] Found a squeezing the Lemmon III guidebook at pinhead with no name written anywhere but it easily identifiable. Let me know if it's yours and and how.
cheers,
joe Jan 8, 2017
[Hide Comment] Looking for partner to climb at mt Lemmon or Cochise for a week (7-9 days) in first half of November 2017. 5.10- 5.11 multipitch is what I have in mind. I don't mind leading most of it.
Send me PM Sep 14, 2017
[Hide Comment] Hello climbers,


Looking to climb this weekend (OCTOBER 7,8 .., top rope & lead, (5.8, 5.9, 5.10) is any one interested ??

Flo Oct 5, 2017
Mcfadden Gavendar
Tucson, Arizona
[Hide Comment] My name is Sean Crockette with Summit Hut. I wanted to reach out to invite the Tucson rock climbing community to join us on Thursday, November 30th for a film night at Loft Cinema from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. The feature presentation is called Jeff Lowe’s Metanoia. The movie is a story about Jeff’s rise to the top of his sport and his decline of health years after his adventures. Jeff Lowe is now struggling with multiple sclerosis and has overcome many obstacles that have led to this awe-inspiring story.

Tickets can be purchased online and picked up at one of our two locations. All proceeds will go to the Jeff Lowe Foundation to promote multiple sclerosis awareness. summithut.com/jeff-lowe-s-m…

We thought this would be a great community building opportunity for you and your organization to come out and enjoy this inspiring movie. Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Thank you,
Sean Crockette
(520) 882-6262 Nov 21, 2017
[Hide Comment] Hello

Looking to climb in the Mt Lemmon area until late January 2017 and need some climbing partners. Send me a message or text 403-999-4792 if interested. I'm looking to start on 5.10s and project 5.11s if sport climbing. 5.8/5.9 if trad.

Cheers,
Nick Dec 21, 2017
[Hide Comment] Hey there, I'm looking for some climbing partners for the Mt Lemmon area for the end of January 2018. Flying down from BC so I won't have much gear - hoping to sport climb in the 5.9/5.10 range. Send me an email at mcleodpbrittany@gmail.com
Cheers!
Britt Jan 9, 2018
[Hide Comment] Pretty cool climbing area, although route grading is the most inconsistent I've ever seen (many 5.8 and 5.9 routes equal to or harder than many 5.10s). Also, I'm not sure when this page was updated, but approach descriptions are all over the place and have outdated landmarks. Keep your head on a swivel if you're relying on this page to find climbs. Jun 11, 2018