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Southwest Ridge

5.6, Trad, 240 ft (73 m), 3 pitches,  Avg: 2.7 from 3 votes
FA: Rusty Baillie & Lovejoy
Arizona > Central Arizona > *Prescott Area > Granite Mountain > Granite Basin C… > Lizard Head
Access Issue: Falcon Closures from February 1st until July 15th Details


This is a worthwhile route for those with adventurous spirits. It's a long way to hike and route-find through the washes and bushes and slabs for some short pitches on crumbly granite. I would not say that this is a route for the new 5.6 leader due to unprotected runouts off the belay ledges. Regardless, it's a fun way to the top of the Lizard Head.

Pitch 1: Climb through a dead Manzanita into the wide crack/chimney for 20'. Plug a #4 Camelot, then head up and right 20' through more wideness to a ledge. Place a piece and trend up and left onto a face with some knobs and small flakes for 25' to a groove - a little crumbly, but okay - unprotectable. You can get a piece of gear here for a final 15' section to the obvious tree on your left (85').

Pitch 2: Step back out right from the tree and pull some steep knobby unprotected moves for 15' onto the slabby ridge above. Follow the slab for 30' to a point - sling the point with a 48" runner (not much else here for gear minus a thin crack - small stopper); step down right and move onto the ledge that leads you traversing toward the obvious large tree in the corner (85').

Pitch 3: Climb the low angled offwidth for 20'(larger than a #6 Camelot) - its an easy layback... Then continue up the crack and gully to the summit (60').

Pitch 1 and 2 could be done in one pitch.

Descent: From the Rap Rings on the summit, rappel the West face with two ropes (maybe a 70m rope would do it???). Or, with a 60m rope, rap back over across to the top of Pitch two and keep rappelling down past the tree to the ground. A single 60m reaches perfectly and pulling the rope around the corner was fine.


Make your way around to the SW side of the formation. There is a decently flat-ish area under a tree to organize your stuff and rack up.


Rack - single rack #1-#4 Camelots (or doubles if you are nervous). A few small stoppers. Cordellettes or slings to belay off the trees. 48" runner to sling the "point" mentioned above to protect your follower.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

Joey D. mid-way through the 2nd pitch, about to downclimb to the right and traverse to the tree where the photo was taken from.
[Hide Photo] Joey D. mid-way through the 2nd pitch, about to downclimb to the right and traverse to the tree where the photo was taken from.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Cave Creek/Preskitt, AZ
[Hide Comment] I can confirm that a single 70M rope, with stretch will get you to the bottom in one rap from the summit bolts down the Northwest face. The ends come to about 3' off the ground. Apr 21, 2016
Flynn McFarland
Salt Lake City
[Hide Comment] Pitch One: Originally the route went up the knobby hand crack that turns to a finger crack and tapers out with a hard right trend, continuing up the knobby run out face which leads straight to the first tree belay. Not the wide chimney that continues up right, though a good variation that is easier.

Pitch Two: Climb UP-THROUGH the tree to reach the next slabby face. Going right is not the original route.

Pitch Three: I found that stemming the large off width crack was way more fun and secure. Cant place pro first 15-20 feet unless you have a big bro which would be excessive since the climbing is not that hard.

By far one of the best routes on Lizard Head, LONG! for the formation as well as exciting face sections. A must if you visit the Lizard Nov 20, 2016