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Just Moved to AZ, Got Questions for dayss..

Original Post
Chase Bowman · · Baton Rouge/Durango · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 600

What's going on Arizona?? I just moved to Phoenix from south Louisiana and I'm pumped to be living near actual rock for a change! Apparently you guys have a lot of it here.. haha So after moving here in early January I've been taking weekend trips all over the state to get a grasp on whats out there and where I should focus my time. I've been up through Flagstaff, Sedona, JTree, Tucson areas, Kingman, The GC, Navajo lands, and all throughout Tonto/Superstitions.

#1 - Whats going on with the climbing scene out in Tonto? I've been going up there about once a week and I keep finding more and more beautiful boulder fields. Any Documentation on these places, Specifically the ones 35ish miles up HWY 87 from paradise valley?

#2 - A similar style of boulders composed of the same coarse, vedauwoo like granite can be found between Kingman and Wickenburg on HWY 93. I happened to stumble upon these guys near the Burro Creek Campground on a trip to Red Rocks/Vegas. Again.. No info anywhere on them.

#3 - Kinda relates to what I've already said. I know people have put up stuff in the same places like tonto, but theres no info on them. I look at places like Colorado and every choss pile higher than 5 feet has been named, graded, and thrown on mountain project. What gives?? Granted having multiple climbing options near where I live is very new to me.

#4 During a trip up to Sedona, I got my truck stuck in 3 feet of snow at 1 in the morning.. When does the weather stabilize enough to make a 2 hour drive up there worth it? Also I know that you don't climb wet sandstone, but whats the deal with snow? I stood at the base of a few routes that were dry, however one tiny section seemed to be wet so I stayed off, not climbing anything the whole weekend.

#5 Babo peak down near the southern border.. is it sketchy in regards to the illegal immigrates/border patrol? From what I gather it is not, but I have heard of people packing heat on trips down there. Thoughts/comments? I will be heading to scope out the east face aid routes and climb the Forbes route next weekend.

#6 Three weeks ago I drove down to Mt. Lemmon and was stopped by a cop who just five minutes before closed the road down due to ice. When is the latest snow fall occurs here? I'm not use to the dramatic changes in elevation, so I cant really put my finger on it.

#7 Navajo Lands - Whats really the deal when it comes to climbing on tribal land? I was up near Round Rock driving around admiring the beautiful Sandstone Formations up there like the Whale. I asked about climbing to some of the locals and they didn't know there was a ban to begin with. On the other hand I was in Monument valley and someone noticed my gear in the backseat of my truck and started yelling at me.. I wasn't even there to climb.

Brad Parsifal Smith · · Many farms, Az / Allen, Ne · Joined Apr 2010 · Points: 25

I'll stick to one question. I live on the Navajo Nation. As far as I know, Climbing is banned. However, the place is remote and if you're not somewhere obvious, no one will care. That said, I boulder extensively near Many Farms. Bouldering is not banned. As I said, just keep a low profile and be cool. Non-Navajo explorers are required to have a pass, though in 20 years no one has ever stopped me to ask for one and I roam extensively and daily around here. To be safe, the best and by far cheapest option is to buy a non-Navajo small game hunting license for $30 a year.

Also, if you have the option, move south or north. Tucson and Flagstaff are way better for climbing.

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

Welcome to AZ!
(Below is a satirical, yet realistic response to your valid questions.)

Your questions are part of the game out here, I read these as a few generic categories:
- Why are there no guides to any obscure locations, and how can I get beta?
- How can I manage my time between climbing areas effectively with crazy weather?
- Is there anything to be concerned about with the diverse nature of the population in certain regions around Arizona?

1) There are not nearly as many climbers in AZ as there are in CO. Many climbers find that aspect appealing, you can head out to an area and maybe see one other party on the weekend. Establish routes and not publishing them is a pastime in this state, except for Sedona, those choss-wranglers are quick to put new routes up on the Proj. (With great beta and pictures I'll add!)

To quote the opening description,"Arizona is purported to have more exposed rock than any other state in the US." This IS true. You can spend a decade establishing a new area out in AZ if you feel so inclined. Don't be surprised if you come across 'tat or bolts in the middle of nowhere though. Beta is often by word of mouth (keeps the crowds down anyways!), however, more guidebooks are in the works than ever before around this state. Keep an eye out, especially since the Stewart Green book is out of print. Get in touch with individuals through various AZ Fb groups.

2) If you are thinking about heading to a certain crag, cross-reference your weather sources. In the spring time chase the shade in Phoenix or Tucson at the lower elevaions (Mind the falcon closures though!). In the summer time chase the elevation by heading from Phoenix to the upper crags on Mt. Lemmon. DON'T think about heading North, like everyone else, it's obviously just a big pile of junk. Monsoon season? All bets are off until about 3 weeks in, patterns form with the storms and you can then see which crags will continuously get hit with moisture daily versus which ones will stay dry. (Surface Analysis Charts and Radar cross-referencing is a good skill for weather analysis.) Lastly, winter time means stay in Phoenix, chase the sun, or lower elevation crags.

3) Immigrants don't bite, it's the Coyotes that are smuggling them who can. Border patrol (e.g. near Cochise, etc.) could not care less about climbers, but be mindful of the checkpoints if you like to partake in recreational activities that are yet to be legal in AZ. In the NE part of the state, there is a wide mix of tensions and opinions with people climbing on the formations. Please conduct extensive research before trying to climb a formation. There are A LOT of threads on the topic and provide good resources to talk to if you are interested.

I think that just about sums it up. Again, welcome to AZ, where the climbing is outstanding and the wild-west still lives on. Enjoy!

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

Climb the Southeast Arête on Babo instead. Nicer climb for the effort. It isn't that obvious where it starts, however. I can give you some detail on that. Getting off the Babo summit is a real route finding challenge, however. The Babo aid routes are very sketchy. Don't worry about the illegals traffic. Be wary of the Border Patrol...they have K-9 units at check points if you catch my drift. Goes the same for Cochise, too.

Superstitions have some cool climbing, but detailed beta a bit scarce unless you have Waugh's old guidebook, which I do have. Done various stuff in the Sups...Barks Canyon Wall, Odyssey on Acropolis Wall, Carney Springs Wall (Degrazia).

PM me if you want to discuss further.

Chase Bowman · · Baton Rouge/Durango · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 600

I appreciate the response Brad and you have somewhat confirmed my thoughts about the area. I will look into the small game license as I do not want to be stepping on anyone's toes. I will make sure to keep a low profile and check with the locals before doing anything else in the area. Just nervous that a Navajo police cruiser will put up to me mid pitch and confiscate my gear. I believe I read somewhere on supertopo where this happened.

Chase Bowman · · Baton Rouge/Durango · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 600

Mac, So awesome! thanks for taking the time! But the generic categories are pretty on point! to add though..

1 - I guess I haven't figure out what is obscure here and what is not to be honest.. I've bushwhacked for hours in the rain to an extremely remote (for Georgias sake) area that is completed documented and in two guide books. But in AZ a beautiful boulder field right off the highway isn't mentioned literary anywhere. Just interesting I guess..

But I hear you when it comes to finding some fixed gear in places.. I found some interesting/random bolts near Lake Havasu. But i'm glad you brought up the guidebooks, as it seems that there isn't much print out there compared to a state like Utah/Colorado. Regardless there's some good looking stuff in the amazon cart.

2 - Weather advice seems wonderful, honestly it seems as if ill just have to get use to the climate here and make discussions on past experiences. How come you say not to head up to flag in the summer, because of the amount of people heading up there? I was assuming that I was going to be spending a lot of time up there come later in the year because of the heat. Regardless everything about Tucson looking amazing and i'm eager for it to heat up. Hows stronghold during the summer months?

3 - Good stuff, not too worried about the Coyotes. But god.. when I was down in the area I noticed so much border patrol. Appreciate the info about the checkpoints and dogs, ill pass that along to friends that might find it more appealing. But I feel like ive read every one of those threads about climbing on tribal land and it seems to contradict itself somehow. I'll keep looking into it though.

Thanks for the great advice dude. Have Definitely run into some wild west experiences all ready here!

Tradster -

I got your email and will be responding soon! I will look into the Southeast Arete on babo, for some reason I've been led to believe that the Forbes was the go to "First Route" on Babo. Excited to head down there reagrdless. The aid lines look pretty hair ball, and I was just checking them out for future purposes. Wasn't planning anything soon on the face. Ill shoot you an email, I have some questions about the routes in the superstitions!

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

Haha, I was joking about not heading up to the NoAZ crags. Everyone else does do it though, so don't expect to be alone. The upper aspects of Cochise sit at around 4800', but in the summer it is still just too dang hot to get any reasonable routes in that are South facing.

The AZ definition of "Obscure" is basically - "Don't establish a trail and don't tell anyone about the routes on that massive rock that everyone can see from the parking lot" So yeah, you've pretty much got that one.

Kevin D · · Phoenix, AZ · Joined Aug 2007 · Points: 160

These are the random boulders off hwy87…
Havent been there

Ashleigh Thompson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 15

Don't be a jerk and climb on tribal lands if it is banned. After all of the land that was taken from tribes and contemporary encroachment by mining companies, pipelines, and non-Natives, that is absolutely UN-COOL and UN-ETHICAL. You could also ruin further relations between the Navajo Nation and climbers. Luckily, Bears Ears will be co-managed by tribes and also allows climbing, but I'd like to see the two groups (as I belong to both) get along peacefully in the future.

Politically Correct Ball · · From WA to AZ · Joined Dec 2016 · Points: 5
Ashleigh Thompson wrote:Don't be a jerk and climb on tribal lands if it is banned. After all of the land that was taken from tribes and contemporary encroachment by mining companies, pipelines, and non-Natives, that is absolutely UN-COOL and UN-ETHICAL.
Is it cool if I'm not a pale-face with a drilling rig?
A lot of these rocks were climbed for decades with no real animosity (and still are). Get caught and you might get roughed-up, but I highly doubt you'll get native american hipsters chastising your ethics. You only get that from your fellow climbers in between snacking on cheese and wine.
Maybe if more apaches rock climbed they would calm down a little. It certainly helped a lot of my friends keep out of trouble.
Ashleigh Thompson wrote:You could also ruin further relations between the Navajo Nation and climbers. Luckily, Bears Ears will be co-managed by tribes and also allows climbing, but I'd like to see the two groups (as I belong to both) get along peacefully in the future.
Climbing was always allowed at "Bears Ears" and the recent designation doesn't help climbers one iota. As for Navaho Nation, there really isn't much beef they have except with the government (and rightly so).

People have been scrambling up every piece of landscape around here for 12,000 years.
Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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