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Areas in Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabayashi) Area

Alcatraz Wall 3 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Cell Blocks 2 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Dragon Tower 2 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Exercise Yard 1 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Guard Tower 3 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Jailhouse Rock 7 / 9 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Mr. Meanor Wall 6 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Elevation: 5,000 ft
GPS: 32.333, -110.725 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 37,622 total · 657/month
Shared By: Hendrixson on Jan 9, 2014
Admins: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick
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Description

The Prison Camp Area, which was rechristened Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area, is one of the more popular crags on Mount Lemmon. With sport and traditional lines ranging in difficulty from 5.5 to 5.12d there is something for everyone.

The sectors comprising this area are:

  • Dragon Tower: The first routes encountered. Both Dragon's Back and Dragon's Arete are worth climbing to ascend the lichen-covered tower.
  • Guard Tower: Three moderate traditional routes and a sport route across the way. The traditional routes see little traffic.
  • Cell Blocks: Three frequently climbed moderate lines, two of which are mixed.
  • Jailhouse Rock: Prison Camp's premier wall features harder lines on water-polished rock. Standout routes include Crime And Punishment, Armed Robbery, and Sentenced To Hang. There are a number of easier, mostly mixed lines around the corner and to the left.
  • Mr. Meanor Wall: A moderate mecca which is popular much of the year. The middle lines are mixed. St. Valinetine's Day Massacre is popular among new climbers. Ropes are frequently moved between anchors for toproping.
  • Alcatraz Wall: A south facing wall perfect for winter climbing. Solitary is a great introductory sport lead while the other routes allow gear practice.
  • Exercise Yard: Two unique, short, juggy routes downstream on an isolated formation.

The below topo shows how the area is organized.

Topo

The history of this area is worth learning. From Wikipedia :

As a part of the effort, a federal prison camp was established at the foot of the mountains specifically to supply labor for the construction of the highway. During World War II, the camp was converted into an internment camp named the Catalina Honor Camp, and the internees were forced to work on construction of the roadway. One of the Japanese-American prisoners at the camp, Gordon Hirabayashi, was later honored in 1999 when the site of the Honor Camp was converted into the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area.

Getting There

Drive up the Catalina (Mount Lemmon) Highway until reaching the turn off for the Gordon Hirabayashi Recreation Area at approximately mile marker 7. Turn left onto a dirt road and follow it to the end where it loops around a metal corral. Park here and pick up a well worn trail that will lead southwest to a dry riverbed. Follow the riverbed first on the left and then on the right. Bypass the first rocky cliff by using the trail on the right (west) side. Continue in the dry riverbed until reaching your desired sector.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabayashi) Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 45
Safe Cracker
Trad
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c
 97
St. Valentines Day Massacre
Trad, Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 15
Dragon's Arete
Trad, Sport
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 54
Dragon's Back
Sport
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c
 44
Safecracker
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 34
Crime and Punishment
Trad
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
 112
Armed Robbery
Sport
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a
 28
Climb Spree
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 61
Sentenced To Hang
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
 18
Finger Prince
Sport
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 34
Jailbreak
Sport
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 4
Just Punishment
Trad
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
 15
Yard Boss
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Safe Cracker Mr. Meanor Wall
 45
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad
St. Valentines Day Massacre Mr. Meanor Wall
 97
5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c Trad, Sport
Dragon's Arete Dragon Tower
 15
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Sport
Dragon's Back Dragon Tower
 54
5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Safecracker Jailhouse Rock
 44
5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
Crime and Punishment Jailhouse Rock
 34
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Trad
Armed Robbery Jailhouse Rock
 112
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c Sport
Climb Spree Jailhouse Rock
 28
5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a Sport
Sentenced To Hang Jailhouse Rock
 61
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Finger Prince Jailhouse Rock
 18
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Jailbreak Jailhouse Rock
 34
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Sport
Just Punishment Jailhouse Rock
 4
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Trad
Yard Boss Jailhouse Rock
 15
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Prison Camp (Gordon Hirabayashi) Area »

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Photos

Scott M. McNamara
Tucson, Arizona
Scott M. McNamara   Tucson, Arizona
Robert Hall
North Conway, NH
Robert Hall   North Conway, NH  
Having never been here, and having no scale on the map in the guidebook (which also puts the turn off for trail to Boot Hill much too close to the parking area), we first marched right-on-by the turn off where the Soldier Trail splits from the AZ Trail. When you get to the first big "Y" in the trail, take the left ( sign: " 0.1 Mile to Soldier Trail"....it's more like 100 ft) then when the Soldier trail goes left (photo), take the right fork to Jailhouse. Apr 26, 2018
1Eric Rhicard
Tucson
1Eric Rhicard   Tucson
The drainage (dashed and dotted line) and the dam/spillway were the clues you missed. (page 52 and 61 in the latests guidebook). Not always easy to find cliffs you can't see from the parking lot. I will show the AZ trail continuing past the dam as perhaps that would have helped. May 1, 2018

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