Elevation: 2,500 ft
GPS: 32.4153, -110.7338
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Shared By: James DeRoussel on Jul 11, 2010 · Updates
Admins: adrian montano, Greg Opland, Brian Boyd, JJ Schlick, Kemper Brightman, Luke Bertelsen

Description

The Catalina Highway (officially the General Hitchcock Highway though nobody uses that name) climbs more than 5,300 feet and passes through five of North America's seven distinct life zones. As the road starts in the Lower Sonoran Desert and climbs to alpine forests, it offers the biological equivalent of driving from the deserts of Mexico to the forests of Canada in a stretch of only 27 miles!

The vast majority of climbing areas in the Santa Catalina Mountains are accessed via this highway. Mount Lemmon provides an equal amount of diverse rock climbing, from classic multi-pitch traditional routes to bolted sport climbs. Crags are generously distributed in elevations and aspect, making it possible to comfortably climb year round.

As of 2012 there are no fees to climb due to a ruling by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Developed areas on the mountain, such as the summit parking lot, require payment. Read the nearby signage and purchase a Coronado National Forest pass if required. Both free, primitive and pay, developed camping can be found along the highway.

After winter storms the highway may close at the base while snow and debris is cleared. Vehicular and bicycle traffic can be heavy on weekends. The sub-areas of Mount Lemmon (Catalina Highway) are listed from lowest to highest elevation.

A standard (if there is such a thing) Mt Lemmon rack could include anything from micro-cams and tiny wires to the biggest BIg Bro ever made. THE KEY to leading trad here, with a reasonable degree of safety, though, is bringing along a wide selection of OFFSETS. Tricams will prove themselves very, very useful as well.

Getting There

The Catalina Highway is accessed via Tanque Verde Rd. on Tucson's east side. Any amenity you could possibly desire is available at the bottom of the highway, and some basic supplies can also be acquired at the general store in Summerhaven, a small mountain community at the highway's upper terminus. Allow about 45 minutes to an hour to drive the entire 27 mile stretch.

2,789 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Mount Lemmon (Catalina Highway)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 139
Steel Crazy
Sport 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 140
Old Man
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 171
Chihuahua Power
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 81
R-4
Trad
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 100
Centerpiece
Trad
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 68
Rapture of the Steep
Trad 2 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 132
Go Speed Racer
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 276
Steve's Arete
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 88
Two Kings And A Pawn
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 111
Arizona Flyways
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
 125
Holey Moley
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 88
Corned Beef and Thrash
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 82
Hard Day at The Orifice
Sport
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 121
Tsunami
Sport
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
 71
Orifice Politics
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Steel Crazy 8 - Summit Crags > Fortress > Southeast Face
 139
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport 4 pitches
Old Man 4 - Windy Point… > S Fin
 140
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Chihuahua Power 2 - Bear Canyon > Lost Hawk
 171
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
R-4 3 - Windy Point… > Rupley Towers
 81
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Centerpiece 2 - Bear Canyon > Chimney Rock
 100
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Rapture of the Steep 7 - Upper Highway > Reef of Rocks > Neptune
 68
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad 2 pitches
Go Speed Racer 1 - Lower Highway > Hairpin Turn Area > Pinhead Wall
 132
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Steve's Arete 3 - Windy Point… > Hunchback Pinnacle
 276
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Two Kings And A Pawn 2 - Bear Canyon > Chessman Area > 4 - Queen
 88
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Arizona Flyways 3 - Windy Point… > Anduriel Tower
 111
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Holey Moley 3 - Windy Point… > New Wave Wall
 125
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Corned Beef and Thrash 7 - Upper Highway > Ireland > IreIand Main Wall
 88
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Hard Day at The Orifice 8 - Summit Crags > Fortress > Orifice Wall
 82
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Tsunami 3 - Windy Point… > New Wave Wall
 121
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Sport
Orifice Politics 8 - Summit Crags > Fortress > Orifice Wall
 71
5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Mount Lemmon (Catalina Highway) »

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