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Areas in Northern Arizona

*Northern AZ Bouldering* 0 / 1 / 2 / 608 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 609
Arizona Strip, The 3 / 113 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 116
Central Mogollon Rim 49 / 4 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 53
Flagstaff Crags 223 / 320 / 8 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 532
Grand Canyon 35 / 21 / 4 / 3 / 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 56
Kaibab Plateau 1 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Kingman Areas 8 / 72 / 20 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 88
Navajolands 43 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 30 / 0 / 0 / 43
Oak Creek Canyon 183 / 60 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 232
Sedona Area 339 / 49 / 4 / 4 / 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 383
Sycamore Canyon 244 / 9 / 5 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 254
Williams Area 8 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
Winslow- Hwy’s 87 & 99 Corridors 36 / 319 / 2 / 26 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 376

Description

Northern Arizona (NAZ) is a vast and varied landscape of rolling ponderosa forests, high elevation plains, rugged canyons, and sculpted sandstone deserts. Home to the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, the Mogollon Rim, the San Francisco Peaks, Monument Valley, the Vermillion Cliffs, Canyon de Chelly, and some of the best whitewater on the Colorado River, Northern Arizona houses true icons of the Southwestern landscape. The San Francisco Peaks are sacred to the Navajo and Hopi tribes, and if you spend any time in the folds, flanks, and summits of this mountain you will quickly understand why. 

Modern climbing in Northern Arizona began in the late 1950's with the first ascent of the Mace in Sedona, done by visiting climbers Bob Kamps, TM Herbert, and Dave Rearick. Their buddy Yvon Chouinard missed the FA, opting to attend Sunday services instead. In the years to follow many of the major formations and summits throughout Northern Arizona would be pioneered and an age of vast exploration was set in motion.

As Tim Toula writes in his classic guide, A Cheap Way To Fly, "I entered thru the historical gate of the Flagstaff climbing scene in the fall of 1978 when climbing was still much more of an underground sport than it is today. There was a mystique about climbing then that was hard to grasp. Perhaps it was because there were so few climbers then. Names like Baxter, Coats, Davidson, and later, Murray, Gault, and Mattson floated thru the air like phantoms. Their names heard often, but their talents seldom seen.”

Paul Davidson (belayed by Scott Baxter) on the first ascent of King Fissure. J. Haisley photo

Now a days that list of names is a river mile long as a steady stream of talent pours out of Flagstaff, which is the heart of the Northern Arizona climbing scene. The age of exploration that began in the late 50's has not only continued to this day, but has blossomed into a collective energy that really defines the community here. There is always something new to check out, and hidden gems are still being discovered in surprising numbers.

Take a look at Joel Unema's, Grass Routes Climbing for stories and photos about local areas, and interviews with local route developers. It's a cool project and will hopefully turn into a means to record and revel in the colorful history of Northern Arizona rock climbing.
Harry sticks the dyno.

Trad Climbing

Northern Arizona has long been held as a bastion of traditional climbing and for good reason. With the sumptuous single pitch basalt crags like Paradise Forks, Oak Creek Canyon Overlook, Volunteer Canyon, and *The Waterfall*, Northern Arizona is a hard rock trad climber's dream with easily accessed four star routes. Add to that the gritty, character building back country adventures of the Grand Canyon, the mysterious quartzite Hualapai Wall, and the soft stone spire paradise, the Sedona Area, you might just find yourself slipping into a heart pounding state of trad daddy nirvana.

Laura Sabourin sending All systems Go, 5.13 Sedona. Photo by Miah

Sport Climbing

If you are looking for sport routes in Northern Arizona, you won't have to look too hard. To the east lay crags like the Winslow Wall and Jacks Canyon south of Winslow. Around Flagstaff you will find great crags like The Pit, The Doctor's Office , the Mt. Elden areas Solitude Canyon and Red Dragon, as well as, The Peak’s Crag and the Hobo Jungle on the San Francisco peaks. Way up north are the unique limestone crags of the The Arizona Strip which includes the Virgin River Gorge and Lime Kiln Canyon. Sport climbing is alive and well throughout Northern Arizona. Whether you are looking for steep pockets, or off vertical crimps, the list of fine crags and excellent routes is sure to keep you happily swinging through the air. One way or another.

Jeff near the end of this route


Bouldering

And then there is the bouldering. Flagstaff is world renown for it's pocketed limestone roofs, with Priest Draw being undoubtedly the most famous. But these roofs are tucked away in folds all over Northern Arizona. A committed core of local boulders are establishing breath taking hard lines around Flagstaff and ineed all across Northern Arizona. While the list of hard problems continues to grow, a moderate boulderer is going to find a slew of classic lines at crags like Buffalo Park, Lake Mary Areas, and Turkey Tanks. From the Fontainebleau like slopers of Kelly Canyon, to the sharp dacite crimps of Gloria's, Northern Arizona is a boulderer's paradise.

Thomas Maxson looking to be debt free on The Debt Ceiling, Canyon Diablo backlands. Photo Matt Gentile



Getting There

Flagstaff sits at the junction of Interstate 40 and Interstate 17 in north central Arizona.

Seasonal Weather

The weather in Northern Arizona can change on a wind, although Flagstaff sees an average of 266 days of sunshine per year. Flagstaff also sees an average of 100" of snow a year.... Yes despite most folks impressions of Arizona, we represent the winter months quite well here in Northern Arizona. Good winter climbing can be had throughout Northern Arizona at the Arizona Strip crags way up north, as well as, The Pit and Higher Solitude Canyon right around Flagstaff, and Jacks Canyon to the east. Winter is also the season for Sedona climbing. If the cold has really set in many retreat to the Central Arizona crags.

Springtime is notoriously windy and has been known to drive people mad! Especially in the high deserts. Luckily, this is really the only detracting element of the season. Otherwise it's prime time for crags like The Waterfall, Paradise Forks, The Overlook, The Red Dragon, The Solitude Wall, and many, many more as perfect temps can easily be chased down.

The summer months bring about an average high of 88 degrees during July. Then it's Monsoon Season to the rescue! Flagstaff itself receives an annual 21" of rain a year, and much of it comes during the Monsoons which are powerful storm systems. Sometimes storms build slowly around the San Francisco Peaks. Other times they swoop in during the early afternoon hours, dump their rain, and dissipate after a few hours. Monsoon Season typically lasts through September. It’s the only time of year you might complain about the humidity. Attractive areas this time of year include The Hobo Jungle, The Peaks Crag, West Elden, The Winslow Wall, and more.

And of course, our favorite season Fall, does not disappoint in Northern Arizona. With usually sunny, moderate temperature days, most of our premiere crags are in perfect conditions. Whether you are chasing around the fall colors on the San Francisco Peaks, or marveling at the otherworldly dryness of the desert crags, Fall in Northern Arizona should not be missed.

Local Stone

Here's a short list of local rock types and corresponding crags or areas which are either right around town or within an hour and half drive from Flagstaff.

Basalt-
The Waterfall- trad
Paradise Forks- trad
The Overlook-trad
Volunteer Canyon- trad
Buffalo Park- bouldering

Sandstone-
The Grand Canyon- trad
Winslow Wall- sport/ trad
Sedona- sport/ trad
The Doctor's Office- sport/ trad
Pump House Wash- sport/ trad
Kelly Canyon- bouldering

Limestone-
The Pit- sport
Priest Draw- bouldering
Lake Mary- bouldering
Cherry Canyon- bouldering
Jacks Canyon- sport
The Arizona Strip- sport

Dacite-
Mt Elden- sport/ trad/ bouldering
The Hobo Jungle- sport/ trad
The Peaks Crag- sport/ trad/ bouldering 
Bill Williams Mt- sport/ trad/ bouldering

Drive Times

​​​​
Approximate drive times from Flagstaff to...

Granite Mountain, AZ- 1.5 hours
Red Rocks, NV- 4 hours
Zion, UT- 4.5 hours
Joshua Tree, CA- 5 hours
Indian Creek, UT- 5.5 hours
Cochise Stronghold, AZ- 5.5 hours
Mt. Lemon, AZ- 6 hours
Hueco Tanks, TX- 10 hours
Yosemite Valley, CA- 10 hours
The Needles, CA- 10 hours
Boulder, CO- 11 hours
Devils Tower, WY- 13 hours
City of Rocks, ID- 13 hours
Smith Rock, OR- 17 hours
Red River Gorge, KY- 24 hours
Devils Lake, WI- 25 hours
New River Gorge, WV- 30 hours
The Gunks, NY- 35 hours

Gyms

Flagstaff Climbing Center
flagstaffclimbing.com
928-556-9909
205 S. San Francisco St. Flagstaff, AZ 86001
Flagstaff Climbing Center (climbing gym, retail shop and guide service) is located in historic downtown Flagstaff. The center features over 7000 square feet of widely varied climbing terrain to suit all abilities and climbing styles including 40’ tall top rope and lead walls and bouldering area. Flagstaff Climbing is here today because of its commitment to support the climbing community though quality training facilities, expert instruction, informative equipment sales and a friendly atmosphere for all climbers.

Main Street 
flagstaffclimbing.com
928-556-9909
1519 N. Main St. Ste 107, Flagstaff, AZ 86004
Main Street Boulders (owned and operated by Flagstaff Climbing Center) is located on Main Street in Flagstaff. The bouldering gym features over 2000 square feet of widely varied state-of-the-art bouldering terrain, built by Vertical Solutions, to suit all abilities and climbing styles and a first-class training area to build strong climbers. Main Street Boulders is here today because of Flagstaff Climbing Centers commitment to support the climbing community though quality training facilities, expert instruction and a friendly staff.

Beta Bouldering Gym

betaboulderinggym.com
928-266-0498
495 s. River Run Rd. Suite 104, Flagstaff AZ 86001
Beta Bouldering Gym, Northern Arizona’s largest bouldering gym, is located just a few blocks from downtown Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University. Beta is a 6,000 square foot bouldering facility built by the local climbing community in 2012 to house the growing demand for a place to train, get strong and socialize. With climbing terrain carefully built for all abilities and two separate workout areas, Beta strives to provide the best indoor bouldering experience in Arizona.

Local Photos

The ever changing and often daunting landscapes of NAZ are a true sight to behold and climb in. The often expansive or tight horizons makes it difficult to capture with a lens. However, these brave local photographers and videographers have been capturing the essence of these wild and untamable lands for years or even decades. If you enjoy excellent photos, climbing and so much more, then you may want to do some clicking here.

John Burcham- John Burcham Tumblr

James Q Martin- Q Media

Blake McCord- Blake McCord Photography 

Pernell Tomasi- Pernell Tomasi Grand Canyon Photos

2,760 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

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Classic Climbing Routes at Northern Arizona

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V3+ 6A+
 123
The Bat Cave
Boulder
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 169
Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride
Trad 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 141
Sedona's Scenic Cruise
Trad 5 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 155
Mayflower
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
 179
Mars Attacks
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 81
Orange Out Direct
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 220
Original Route
Trad 5 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 122
Isaiah
Trad
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 324
Mr. Slate
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 96
New River
Sport
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 93
East of Eden
Trad
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
 106
Black and Tan
Trad
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 129
The Prow
Trad
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 80
The Winsloner
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 81
Mesquiter
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
The Bat Cave Northern AZ Bou… > … > Priest Draw > Bat Roof
 123
V3+ 6A+ Boulder
Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride Sedona Area > … > Coffeepot Rock… > Summit Block Rock
 169
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Sedona's Scenic Cruise Sedona Area > … > Gibraltar Rock… > Gibraltar Rock
 141
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 5 pitches
Mayflower Sycamore Canyon > Paradise Forks > Prow
 155
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Mars Attacks Sedona Area > … > Dry Creek Rd Area > Fin
 179
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Orange Out Direct Flagstaff Crags > Oak Creek Canyon Over…
 81
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Original Route Sedona Area > … > Cathedral Rock… > Mace
 220
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 5 pitches
Isaiah Flagstaff Crags > Oak Creek Canyon Over…
 122
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad
Mr. Slate Flagstaff Crags > Pit > Swiss Tower
 324
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
New River Flagstaff Crags > … > Peak’s Crag > N End
 96
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
East of Eden Sycamore Canyon > Paradise Forks > Gold Wall
 93
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
Black and Tan Oak Creek Canyon > Waterfall* > Main Amphitheater
 106
5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b Trad
The Prow Sycamore Canyon > Paradise Forks > Prow
 129
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
The Winsloner Winslow- Hwy’s… > … > Winslow Wall > W Side
 80
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Mesquiter Arizona Strip > Lime Kiln Canyon > Grail
 81
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Northern Arizona »

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J F M A M J J A S O N D
I thought several of you may find this handy...

The Coconino National Forest has FREE color maps you can navigate with on your smartphone or tablet mobile device. Here are a couple links to a 1-pg giude to show you how to do it.

imgur.com/ZXMO97e - for Apple Smartphones/Tablets
imgur.com/VMO8tyT - for Android Smartphones/Tablets

The instructions has you download the Avenza PDF Maps app and then the north half and south half of the Coconino National Forest. It is all free. The Coconino National Forest made this tool available to encourage people stay on the designated roads system for motor vehicle use.

The Avenza PDF maps app can be used to track GPS routes and mark waypoints. You can also download and use free USGS 7.5" quad maps with the app as well. Jan 6, 2014
Darren Mabe
Flagstaff, AZ
Darren Mabe   Flagstaff, AZ
Link to coconino forest road closures
fs.usda.gov/detail/coconino… Dec 12, 2015

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