Boulder Mountain Rock Climbing
|GPS:||33.803, -111.426 Google Map · Climbing Map|
|Page Views:||1,270 total, 65/month|
|Shared By:||pseudalpine on Apr 27, 2016|
|Admins:||Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick|
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A series of granite bluffs, boulders, domes, ridges and walls in the Tonto National Forest at the far southern end of the Mazatzal Mountains. Many of the routes are concentrated on the south side of the highest western summit , which is one of four main crests that stretch westward greater than two miles from Mazatzal Divide.
This delimitation separating Gila and Maricopa counties is distinctly noticeable looking east from the Beeline Highway where Sycamore Creek crosses at Round Valley, significantly higher and southeast from Sycamore Wall, Crabtree Butte and Boulder Pass (Boulder Bobs Cabin).
The main approach is arduous, reminiscent of the obligatory struggle accessing some of the routes found in a few other Arizona backcountry climbing areas, e.g. the Sedona Area, Superstition Mountains and GCNP. That is the only similarity, as the resemblance ends there because this is really just another crag with mostly single pitch routes. Regardless, the analogous remoteness and mostly worthy, unclimbed granite may justify the gumption for some. There are at least two alternative approaches, one being FR 1704 (4x4) from Round Valley that becomes undrivable at ~3350', below Boulder Mountain Spring and the second is a motoproject route from SR87 south of Round Valley that accesses upper Pine Creek.
Standard approach is Ballantine Trail #283 near mile marker 210 of SR87 (Beeline Highway). The parking loop is at ~2250’ and ascends ~1400’ in ~3¼ miles to the Camp Creek junction ENE of The Boulders, where a distinct motorcycle track transects the Ballantine Trail at a four-way junction. Continuing straight (east) accesses Ballantine Canyon and eventually reaches the Mazatzal Divide. I’m not sure where the right (south) fork goes. The left fork roughly ascends north, crossing a ridge, then descends steeply into the Pine Creek basin (+0.6 mile).
There’s a cowboy cabin, a water tank and a corral in the basin, before the path widens to an old jeep road. Approach to the main areas follows the Pipeline Trail north towards Mud Springs for about another 0.7 mile and then leaves the old road, generally bearing northeast, ascending through a few Chaparral benches. If you’re on route, you’ll pass over a saddle and descend onto a large, slightly upsloping Bajada. You’ll be able to see much of the granite from this tilted bench. At the northeast end, it’s difficult to avoid bushwhacking the drainage, but once through, the vegetation becomes less dense. Turn more east, ascending south of benchmark 4879’ and then skirt the west side of another hill before ascending the last steep slope. The off trail segment up to the base of the Whorled Wall et al. is ~1.8 miles and ascends ~2100’. The total approach distance from SR87 is ~6¼ miles and +3510’… not quite Grand Canyonesque!?
The crags have a limited climbing window since its balls hot six months of the year, rattlers galore in the fall and spring and Aves roosting some of the remaining good months.
Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season