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Mt. Graham, Pinaleno Mtns and Santa Teresa Mtns Holdout Canyon?

Original Post
bryce398 · · Wa · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 0

I'm heading to Morenci for a 2 month internship June/July and was wondering if locals still climb this time of year in the upper elevations?

I noticed that avg. daily highs for Safford ~3000ft is around 100 and lows of in the 70s so I would assume elevations from 5-8000ft are slightly cooler but not by much.

Mt. Graham has some spectacular looking granite at high elevations (google earth) and Bob Kerry's guide has routes listed (lion's head) at around 5000ft. Hold out canyon looks to be lower at around 3500-4000ft so Im guessing its somewhat hotter.

Are these places even worth exploring are should I just keep on driving for Cochise or the Lemmon? Do people climb at those places during the summer?


Scott M. McNamara · · Tucson, Arizona · Joined Aug 2006 · Points: 55

The places you mentioned are pretty obscure.

Some of the routes in those areas may not have seen a second ascent.

If you like back country trad, I mean if you really like back county adventure trad....

(The youtube video is kind of a geezer, locals nostalgia joke, i.e. this add was extant at about the time those routes went up.)

bryce398 · · Wa · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 0

I do love me some chimichangas. And ya, walking two minutes to the crag, roping up and sending it is great, until you are swatting dogs off your rope and the next climb has 8 people waiting on it. So I guess to answer your question why yes I do love to suffer and earn solitude to a point.

The question I want to figure out is at those elevations in June-July will the heat make it too much of an ass pain?

adamp Piatkowski · · Tucson, Arizona · Joined May 2008 · Points: 0

Morenci currently has some bouldering up a canyon off the San Francisco river and climbing in a canyon about 30 minutes west going towards Safford. The Morenci Rec Center has a nice free standing climbing wall. Basically there is a ton of potential with a motivated crew. There is also some rap rings at the top of chase creek overlook, but I haven't had the time to check it out. There's probably more established climbing that I don't know about. DM me and I'll give you a more detailed low-down.

Dj telle · · Tucson, AZ · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 560

I did some adventuring in the Pinaleno mountains out in hell's hole. The approaches are as hard as they can get and the rock quality is good. If you want zero crowds and a true adventure, check it out.

Cochise will keep you busy for a while while lemmon you can hit up the sporto crags and some good trad too

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

I've been into the Santa Teresa Mtns many times, but it has been quite a while...5 or so years. The place is a real challenge to navigate. Wouldn't recommend it in summer as there is no water. Best time for that place is after the first big winter storm. I do have some beta on some first ascents we put up many years ago. Lots of bears and mountain lions...but they will see you before you see them. Probably the most remote climbing area I've been to in AZ.

Joe G · · Phoenix, AZ · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 0

For that time of year I would check out Far Away faces in the Pinalenos . The approach description in the backcountry book is off though . It states you take lady bug trail for 3 miles till you see the formation and cut cross country to the wall but you actually take Ladybug trail for a 1/2 mile or so and take the trail to bear canyon/Dutch Hennery trail and when you get to that junction take the Dutch Hennery trail till the wall comes into sight and cut across to it.
I was just in the Santa Teresa's 2 weeks ago at holdout canyon . Starting to get pretty hot. Both roads are ok the East one is much better as the book states but is a bit more of a walk the West gate is amicus rougher road and is washed out just before reef tank but gets you pretty close. Have fun out there !!! Both places are amazing but I think due to your timing you will only get to see the Pinalenos.

Good times,
Joe Garcia

Joe G · · Phoenix, AZ · Joined Nov 2010 · Points: 0

Lions head will be to hot to climb but I hiked in there in June just do it early . It's a great adventure hike ! Follow the dots :) oh, and if you do go out there be sure and get a state trust permit , the rancher who leases the land is strict about it but he's a nice guy.


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

Joe G, please PM me on the Reef Tank Road. Which road did you take exactly and was the trail into Holdout marked in any way? It used to have pink surveyor tape along the way. Was there any water right now? Thanks in advance.

bryce398 · · Wa · Joined Apr 2011 · Points: 0

I was about to write the revised info in my copy of Bob's Backcountry Rock climbing until I remembered that they are selling on eBay for $250-2000. Thanks for the info

timinthehouse · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 0

Kerry's guide is going for 250-2000 on eBay? Wow, I got lucky buying it off the for sale/for trade forum here for much cheaper than that.

FletcherB · · Tucson · Joined Dec 2010 · Points: 0

I think you'll find the rock on faraway faces pretty interesting. It's a beautiful area. Farther up the highway on Mt Graham you'll find some more rock past soldier creek.

Wet canyon also has some climbing, just 5-7 minutes from the parking lot(nice all summer, but not that many routes).

Tolegate tanks is located near safford. I used to go there everyday after work. It was ok year-round. I think MP will have Tolegate info. Some long boulder traverses, if you can't find a partner.

Don't forget to check out Frye Creek.

Good luck, I love that place.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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