Mount Lemmon (Catalina Highway) Climbing
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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.
Classic Climbing Routes at Mount Lemmon (Catalina Highway)
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