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Elevation: 7,578 ft 2,310 m
GPS: 32.41726, -110.74988
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 24,399 total · 223/month
Shared By: jbak x on May 22, 2015 · Updates
Admins: adrian montaƱo, Greg Opland, Brian Boyd, JJ Schlick, Kemper Brightman, Luke Bertelsen

Description Suggest change

  1. Joe Kreidel's original text:
A pair of enticing walls sitting above Sabino Canyon, Spectrum Crag is a beautiful spot to spend a climbing day. Scenic hike, wildlife, great views, and something for just about everyone to climb. Grades currently range from 5.8ish to 13d, with the majority being in the 10-11 range. The rock tends to be high quality, and a little different from the rest of the rock in the area.

JB's added text:

The Upper Highway crags on the east side of upper Sabino have some of the hardest, most reliable stone on Lemmon. With cool holds. Raycreation, most of Ireland, Continuum and Spectrum all have great rock quality. Spectrum Wall itself is a bit more un-skin-friendly than the others, but still very cool.

A third crag has been added to the Spectrum cluster... Forum. It's stone is mostly very nice too.

Morning shade just like Ireland.

Getting There Suggest change

July 2023 update: Path to spectrum is in bad shape. Best to go with someone who knows the way.

AS OF THE 2020 FIRE... The path to the Spectrum crags is the same but SOME OF THE LANDMARKS DESCRIBED BELOW HAVE CHANGED. If you have been to Spectrum before, you won't have much trouble getting there again... it hasn't changed that much.

The route to Spectrum is complicated.  It would be easy to get lost.  I say go with someone who already knows the way.  But if you have a good sense of direction and are feeling adventurous...

Park and hike as though you are going to Ireland.  You begin on the Box Camp trail. Turn RIGHT onto the Ireland side-trail 10 yards after the wilderness boundary sign. 5 minutes to this point.

After passing thru the "Christmas tree lot" early on the IRELAND spur, the trail heads down a bit, then back up. Here you exit the big trees and enter an open area, with lots of dead tree trunks still standing. After passing through a big cut log, you pass between two knee high boulders.  Almost immediately after this you'll turn left (south) off the Ireland trail and follow along the east side of a huge downed tree that points to the SW.  Cairns are hard to spot here because there are so few rocks to build them, and the grass is deep and thick so the trail is not too evident.  This area is often marshy.  10 min to this spot.

Follow the ridge south thru an area of downed trees and small regrowth. There will be cairns here. Ferns seem to love this stretch.

AS OF THE 2020 FIRE... all the stuff BELOW is UNCHANGED... it's the same as it was pre-fire.

When you get to the big live trees again, head west towards Sabino Creek and off of the ridge top. DON'T KEEP GOING SOUTH ON THE OLD KREIDEL TRAIL. The turn west onto the JBak trail should be pretty well marked with quite a few cairns. 15 min to this spot.

After dropping off the ridgetop the trail trends SW, slowly losing elevation as you go. Keep a sharp eye for trim work, machete blazes and cairns.  You'll end up on top of a band of rock that allows great views of the Steep across Upper Sabino Canyon. Skirt the rock band on the south end. You'll cross the "ledge of happy cactus" as you do so. 20 min to here.

Below the rock band you'll go steeply down (west) then zig north for 50 yards and then zag south again for 50 more. There are lots of slippery pine needles and leaves in this section.  More traffic would make this better. (25 min to bottom of zigzag.) This zigzag will place you at the south end of a little crag (Forum). Go north (steeply downhill to start) along the bottom of Forum to about the midpoint, where you can drop down to a nasty scree slope, working to the NW. Below the scree, switchback down for 50 yards keeping an eye out thru the trees for a crag to your left (south). When you are even with the base of this crag, the trail should head straight over to its north face.  This crag is CONTINUUM. 35 min to here.

To get to SPECTRUM... go south along the base of Continuum for 40 feet and drop down (west) a few feet to pick up a trail that heads straight south to reach the north side of Spectrum.  First route you hit will be Chiquito. Continuum and Spectrum are almost exactly the same elevation... 7500 feet. 39 min to Spectrum.

Pay attention to landmarks as you hike in. You don't wanna get lost on the way out and be on the evening news. The hike out is a grunt... just like Ireland.

The times listed are for an old man with a heavy load WHO KNOWS THE WAY. Your first time will take longer. And the hike OUT will probably take longer.

22 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Spectrum Crags

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