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Announcing new McDowell Rock Climbing Guidebook

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ErikF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 70
New McDowell guidebook

Cheryl Beaver and I are pleased to announce the publication of our new rock climbing guidebook to the McDowells.

McDowell Rock – A Climber’s Guide -- the one source of information on rock climbing in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

• Designed to make finding the crags and routes easy
• Identification and colored photos of over 20 rock crags
• Accurate trail head and trail access information
• GPS points at key intersections to assist in finding crags
• Contains over 240 routes, many never publicized before
• Color locator photographs of the crags
• Routes displayed on color photos
• Route descriptions and photos presented on the same page
• Top rope climbs highlighted
• Anecdotes and photos from many of the first ascentionists
• Historical commentary about climbing and the Preserve

To order, visit -

You can also see more at our website –

We also encourage you to support the local businesses that are carrying McDowell Rock - A Climber's Guide. These include:

Phoenix Rock Gym -


Arizona Hiking Shack -

Thanks, Dale and Paul.
dahigdon · · phoenix, Az · Joined Jan 2015 · Points: 210

Is there any way we could see a page or 2 from the book to get a feel for how its laid out?


Danger-Russ Gordon · · Orem UT · Joined Nov 2011 · Points: 590

Super Excited!

Daniel Joder · · Barcelona, Spain · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

It wouldn't include the Carefree Boulder Pile would it? Just kidding...that area is now a hotel/resort/golf course. But we cut our teeth climbing on that east wall back in the mid-70s and sure do wish it were still accessible (you need to do one of the resort "outings", I think, with a guide, in order to climb there). Looking forward to this guide. I am sure things have changed over the past 40 years!

MacM · · Cave Creek/Preskitt, AZ · Joined Feb 2010 · Points: 670

A "two-page preview" would be awesome. Just to get a feel for the Topos and route descriptions.


ErikF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 70

Hey folks,

Thanks for the comments and suggestions. A two-page spread is a great idea. I need to work with Cheryl to put it together. Stay tuned.

Daniel, sorry, we only cover existing climbing, not "closed" areas. I found the best information of Carefree Boulder Pile in what seemed to be an original local area guidebook, a delightful volume by Jim Waugh, Larry Treiber and Bruce Gibbs called "A Climber's Guide to Central Arizona," that Jason Sandidge shared with me. If you can get your hands on a copy of it I'm sure you would enjoy it. Yep, it's too bad climbers can no longer enjoy what seemed to be a wonderful resource.

We had done a "soft opening" of the book this summer and received some comments I thought I'd summarize here. We especially want to do a “shout out” to many of the old timers who contributed those funny and interesting little stories we were able to insert into the guide book.

Just a couple of answers to questions folks have asked elsewhere. Folks have asked about if we are going to do an eBook version. The answer is that we are looking into it but need to get back to some other life issues first – writing a full guidebook places so many other responsibilities on hold. It will be several months or more before we deal with that if we choose to proceed with an eBook version. So the immediate answer is probably “not at this time.”

Also, the book covers the 18 crags accessed from the new and completed Tom's Thumb Trailhead. This edition does not cover Little Granite Mountain nor Cholla Mountain because the City Rock Climbing Plan for those areas are not set, the trailheads are still in flux, and the specific climber access routes have not been established. We didn't want to jump the gun and give out info that should change in the next year or two. I'll be working with the City of those elements and will give folks a head's up when they have been finalized.

Thanks again for the interest and we look forward to your future input.

ErikF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 70

Hi folks,

Here is an example page spread from our brand new guidebook. Route photos are presented on the same page spread as the route descriptions. These routes are in the Hog Heaven crag area, a great little and remote climbing area that overlooks the Verde Valley and is worth a visit just to check it out.

Example Page Spread from McDowell copyrighted - Erik Filsinger
ErikF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 70

Slide Show on the New Rock Climbing Guide for the McDowell Sonoran Preserve

Erik Filsinger and Cheryl Beaver will present a slide show at the AMC Monthly Member Meeting featuring the colorful pioneers who established the rock climbing in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve and who contributed to their all new rock climbing guidebook - McDowell Rock: A Climber's Guide. A history of the climbers and the climbs will be followed by sharing of the work done to establish what now exists. Erik and Cheryl will then overview the new guidebook and offer it for sale.

Monday, September 26, 2016 - 7:00 PM
Granite Reef Senior Center
1700 N. Granite Reef Road, Scottsdale, AZ

For a preview of the book

McDowell Rock - A Climber's Guide -- the one source of information on rock climbing in the McDowell Sonoran Preserve.

Note: information for those who may wish to purchase a copy of the new guidebook. We are using a print on demand business format so we do not keep an inventory of books. Instead we will take orders at the meeting, sign the books as requested on the order form, send in the group order, and send you your copy.

The cost for the book is $35.00, payable at the meeting with cash or check. We will pay the sales tax and shipping and handling (about a $5.00 value).

If you want to order ahead of time or if you prefer to pay via other means, you can order your copy of the book now and bring it to the meeting to be signed. The best and quickest ordering is through - The book is also carried on Amazon.

If you want to pick up a local copy ahead of time, hardcopies are available at the Phoenix Rock Gym and the Arizona Hiking Shack. (Thanks, Paul and Dale)

ErikF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 70

McDowell Rock - A Climber's Guide - Slide Show
Wednesday, December 07, 2016 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

REI - Paradise Valley…

climbnowworklater · · Colorado Springs · Joined Sep 2015 · Points: 10

Cool. I learned to climb in the area and love the granite. The best was when you could drive to Svens Slab and no one was around. When I left in 2011, the area was so renovated and overblown as to be ruined. I recall accessing Gardners Wall via the lone house...not some far away parking lot! Damn that area WAS so private and cool. Now, it's a sh!tstorm of hikers, wannabe climbers, and just general people. (in addition to much longer approaches to most climbs.) Thankful to have been there when no one knew of the area. In 20 years, it'll be paved walkways and people selling popcorn at the base of the climb, or, some disaster like Camelback with parking issues and crowds galore.

ErikF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 70

Erik and Cheryl are doing a slide show on their new McDowell Rock guidebook

DEC 14 - McDowell Rock - A Climber's Guide - REI Tempe
Wednesday, December 14, 2016 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM…

Tradster · · Phoenix, AZ · Joined Nov 2007 · Points: 0

A very nice guidebook. I'll be picking a copy up at The Hiking Shack. Luckily, until then, I have Waugh's old excellent example of what a climbing guidebook should be. The only regret about how Scottsdale handles park access is that no longer will I be able to watch the sunset on Tom's Thumb or Pinnacle Peak. :(

ErikF · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2009 · Points: 70

Thanks, Tradster.
Yeh, spending the night on top of any of those crags was pretty special "back in the day."
Stay in touch.

Forever Outside · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Feb 2017 · Points: 230

Ordered your book today! Looking forward to it!

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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