Elevation: 2,422 ft
GPS: 32.253, -110.924 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 6,262,771 total · 48,740/month
Shared By: 1Eric Rhicard on Jan 23, 2012 · Updates
Admins: adrian montano, Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, Brian Boyd, JJ Schlick, Kemper Brightman

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
 97
Inner Passage (aka Interiors)
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R
 249
What's My Line?
Trad, Aid 3 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 205
The Wasteland
Trad 6 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 131
Old Man
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 101
Void of Form
Sport 10 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 121
Forest Lawn
Trad 3 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 338
The Peacemaker
Sport 7 pitches
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 229
Absinthe of Mallet
Trad 7 pitches
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 213
Endgame
Trad 5 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13
 166
Warpaint
Trad 5 pitches
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
 124
Go Speed Racer
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 112
Abracadaver
Trad 6 pitches
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 81
Two Kings And A Pawn
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 82
Hard Day at The Orifice
Sport
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 118
Tsunami
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Inner Passage (aka Interiors) Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > Rockfellow Dome
 97
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
What's My Line? Cochise Stronghold > E Stronghold > Cochise Dome (What's…
 249
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R Trad, Aid 3 pitches
The Wasteland Cochise Stronghold > E Stronghold > Wasteland
 205
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad 6 pitches
Old Man Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > 4 - Windy Point… > S Fin
 131
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Void of Form Mt Lemmon (Sant… > Pontatoc Canyon > Pontatoc Ridge
 101
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport 10 pitches
Forest Lawn Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > Bastion Towers
 121
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Trad 3 pitches
The Peacemaker Cochise Stronghold > … > Sheepshead Area… > Sheepshead
 338
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 7 pitches
Absinthe of Mallet Cochise Stronghold > … > Sheepshead Area… > Sheepshead
 229
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 7 pitches
Endgame Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > End Pinnacle
 213
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad 5 pitches
Warpaint Cochise Stronghold > W Stronghold > Westworld Dome
 166
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13 Trad 5 pitches
Go Speed Racer Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > Hairpin Turn Area > Pinhead Wall
 124
5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b Sport
Abracadaver Cochise Stronghold > … > Rockfellow Group > Rockfellow Dome
 112
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad 6 pitches
Two Kings And A Pawn Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > Chessman Area > 4 - Queen
 81
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Hard Day at The Orifice Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > Fortress > Orifice Wall
 82
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Tsunami Mt Lemmon (Sant… > … > 3 - Windy Point… > New Wave Wall
 118
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Sport
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