Elevation: 2,422 ft
GPS: 32.253, -110.924 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 3,561,731 total · 35,004/month
Shared By: 1Eric Rhicard on Jan 23, 2012
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick

Description

Southern Arizona has a lot to offer most rock climbers. There are classic old school trad routes and super safe bolted climbs. Most of the climbing is lower angle to vertical face climbing. This is not to say that there isn't any steep stuff as a few crags have sections of steep to very steep (45 degrees) rock. There is some crack climbing but not many pure crack climbs. The majority of routes are between 5.8 and 5.12. For the 5.10 to 5.11 climber thousands of routes will keep you busy for a lifetime. There are only two 5.14s and 15 or so 5.13s on Mt. Lemmon at this time so super hard climbers usually move away.

The approaches range from sixty seconds to three or more hours. Most however, are between fifteen minutes and one hour. Elevations range from 2300 feet to 9100 feet. The ability to climb at various elevations make it possible to climb all year. On top of that the scenery is pretty spectacular with some of the prettiest sunsets you can watch. You can climb next to giant Saguaro Cactus or in the tall Ponderosa pines at the top of Mount Lemmon.

The West Stronghold on a gorgeous November night. flickr.com/thedan86

Cochise Stronghold and the Catalina Mountains, more often referred to as Mt. Lemmon are where most of the climbing activity occurs. The Stronghold has lots of old school sphincter puckering trad routes and a higher number of more heavily bolted lines that make for a less terrifying day. The climbs reach to the summits of majestic domes of granite that are highlighted by green and yellow lichen. Late afternoon sunsets lighting these walls will take your breath away.

Orifice Politics, Mount Lemmon, Arizona. Photo by: Aaron Lavinsky

The Catalina Mountains have hundreds of multi pitch routes but most think of it as a cragging area. Located on the northern edge of Tucson it sees the highest concentration of climbers. The 30 mile long Catalina highway has a couple of thousand climbs within 30 minutes of the road. Even so if you walk a short distance you can often have the crag to yourself.

If you get away from these two areas and visit the less traveled areas you can easily eliminate contact with other climbers and still find some great climbing.

Wherever you end up the weather will usually cooperate and the warmth of the desert will have you smiling.

Getting There

Tucson is the epicenter of southern Arizona. If you are flying in you might find direct flights can be a bit more expensive. Many fly into Phoenix and rent a car and head south. Most cars will get you to most areas but a few will require a high clearance vehicle. If you are driving find your way to I-10 and it will lead you to Tucson.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Southern Arizona

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R
 207
What's My Line?
Trad, Aid 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 173
The Wasteland
Trad 6 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 117
Bee Line
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 113
Old Man
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 102
Forest Lawn
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 284
The Peacemaker
Sport 7 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 195
Absinthe of Mallet
Trad 7 pitches
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 170
Endgame
Trad 5 pitches
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
 104
Days of Future Passed
Trad 4 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
 145
Warpaint
Trad 5 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 97
Go Speed Racer
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 227
Steve's Arete
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 93
Abracadaver
Trad 6 pitches
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 116
The Wizard
Sport
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 94
Tsunami
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
What's My Line? Cochise Stronghold > E Stronghold > Cochise Dome (What's…
 207
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R Trad, Aid 3 pitches
The Wasteland Cochise Stronghold > E Stronghold > Wasteland
 173
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 6 pitches
Bee Line Cochise Stronghold > E Stronghold > Stronghold Dome
 117
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad 3 pitches
Old Man Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > 4 - Windy Point… > S Fin
 113
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Forest Lawn Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > Bastion Towers
 102
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
The Peacemaker Cochise Stronghold > … > Sheepshead Area… > Sheepshead
 284
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 7 pitches
Absinthe of Mallet Cochise Stronghold > … > Sheepshead Area… > Sheepshead
 195
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 7 pitches
Endgame Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > End Pinnacle
 170
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad 5 pitches
Days of Future Passed Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > End Pinnacle
 104
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13 Trad 4 pitches
Warpaint Cochise Stronghold > W Stronghold > Westworld Dome
 145
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13 Trad 5 pitches
Go Speed Racer Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > 1 - Lower Highway > Pinhead Wall
 97
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Steve's Arete Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > 3 - Windy Point… > Hunchback Pinnacle
 227
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Abracadaver Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > Rockfellow Dome
 93
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
The Wizard La Milagrosa Ca… > Main Wall
 116
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Tsunami Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > 3 - Windy Point… > New Wave Wall
 94
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Sport
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