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Central Arizona

Arizona

The Central Arizona Areas

Central Arizona is a rugged, barren, arid, and inhospitable landscape. When most people think of central Arizona, they think of the sprawling metropolis of Phoenix and the emblematic Saguaro. People also think of the searing temperatures, piss-warm backyard pools, and the heinous back sweat of every insignificant car ride. Nevertheless, hidden away are back country gems - lush, water-filled canyons, shady forests, and hundreds of miles of pristine, bountiful cliff lines. To the intrepid adventurer: There is no lack of opportunity here.

The Central Arizona area encompasses the low desert of Arizona, which heats up like an oven during the summer, and several national forests – Prescott, Tonto, and Apache – whose cliff faces are climbable on even the most sweltering summer days. Within this central portion of the state, there are three main hotspots: the Prescott area, the Payson area, and the Phoenix area, each with its own distinct flavor.

The Prescott areas include the picturesque lakeside cliffs of Watson Dells Lake and the historic and towering granite cliffs of Granite Mountain. If smaller rocks strike your fancy, then thousands of erratically strewn granite boulders litter the forests and hills, awaiting your enjoyment. Climbing in and around Prescott is possible almost year round.

The Payson area also offers its share of quality climbs. Isolation Canyon hosts an incredible concentration of classics, and the East Verde and the Anchas –are otherworldly oases that provide a perfect breather from the summertime roast of the Phoenix Valley.

And lastly there is the Phoenix area. There are several crags within city limits. Pinnacle Peak and the McDowell Mountains are great winter traditional climbing destinations that make for highly enjoyable day trips. East of the city are the Superstition Mountains, the contested Queen Creek Canyon, and an indescribable amount of other backcountry diamonds. Enduring classics hide in these mountains and offer all the finger-shredding fun you could want. Many of these areas are also climbable most days of the year. While central Arizona is not a world-class climbing destination, world-class climbs are abundant, making central Arizona the perfect prospect for those seeking to stake their vertical claim. Come get yours!

Getting There


Most of the central Arizona areas are within a two and half hour radius of Phoenix. Standard cars can access many areas, but many require full-blown four-wheel drive, high clearance, and a willingness to succumb to “the Arizona pinstripe.”

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

What are you looking at!?<br>
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Photo taken by Lucas Anaya
[Hide Photo] What are you looking at!? Photo taken by Lucas Anaya
Exploring new areas is one good reason to climb in central Arizona. Mike Knarzer on Ride the Lichen's first pitch on the first ascent.
[Hide Photo] Exploring new areas is one good reason to climb in central Arizona. Mike Knarzer on Ride the Lichen's first pitch on the first ascent.
Dano and Richard climbing Weaver`s Needle, Superstition Mountains 1986. Photo by Dano
[Hide Photo] Dano and Richard climbing Weaver`s Needle, Superstition Mountains 1986. Photo by Dano
Four Peaks, Malapais Mountain and Weavers Needle.
[Hide Photo] Four Peaks, Malapais Mountain and Weavers Needle.
[[The Fortress]]106043047, [[Miners Needle]]110001349 & [[Sisyphus Pinnacles]]109945645, Superstition Mountains.
[Hide Photo] The Fortress, Miners Needle & Sisyphus Pinnacles, Superstition Mountains.
Steve Tweito finishing the second pitch, Mark Trainor below on the top of pitch one. We climbed a new 300' route in CCG, Tres Viejos 5.10c, 3 pitches.
[Hide Photo] Steve Tweito finishing the second pitch, Mark Trainor below on the top of pitch one. We climbed a new 300' route in CCG, Tres Viejos 5.10c, 3 pitches.
Climbing the Hand, Dec 2012
[Hide Photo] Climbing the Hand, Dec 2012

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

JJ Schlick
Flagstaff, AZ
[Hide Comment] Great description Ryan. Thanks for taking that on. Jan 28, 2012
[Hide Comment] Hello Climbers, I lost my iPhone 4 at the campsite there this weekend.
If you find it, could you email me at corinnejolie@gmail.com? I will gladly reward you with dinner or a bit of cash or something for your trouble. Thanks in advance :-) Feb 13, 2012
[Hide Comment] hi I m french...
I looking for a ride to go at homestead during the end of this month. I have a car but it s not possible to take the dirty road with a chevy van... If you ll go and you could take two people with bags it will be so nice...

Thanks

francoisponcet@gmail.com Nov 12, 2014
kyle nowak
Arizona
[Hide Comment] Hey everyone my name is Kyle and I have recently moved here from Colorado and are looking for climbing partners in central Arizona I have climbed a little bit in queen Creek Canyon I climb I mostly sport climb but have recently assembled a rack to get started into trad climbing shoot me a text if you're interested my number is 303-887-5943 Oct 28, 2015
Connor McAndrew
Phoenix, AZ
[Hide Comment] Hi all--My name is Connor and I live in the East valley. I'm looking for outdoor sport and trad partners to climb Little Granite Mountain, Queen Creek, and Pinnacle Peak evenings during the week and Prescott, Flag, Southern California on the weekends. My number is 314-606-0104 Jul 11, 2017