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Lower Devil's East (LDE)

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Lower Devil's East (LDE) Rock Climbing 

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Location: 33.2767, -111.02595 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Marcy on Jul 16, 2009
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LDE with snow capped Pinal Mtns in the background ...

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Lower Devil’s East is the large group of towers visible when looking east across Lower Devil’s Canyon. For many years there was rumored to be only one route in this area, it was established prior to 1992 and had seen few, if any, subsequent ascents. Late in 2008 Marcy Makarewicz and Geir Hundal started exploring this area, and were pleasantly surprised at the number of quality routes to be found.

The ethic in this area is traditional. Routes are protected with gear as much as possible and bolts have been kept to a minimum.

A small guide to the area can be downloaded here. It has route beta which is current as of 11/2010 and is consolidated down to a 9-page PDF.

If you’re climbing in LDE, bring your rack. All but two of the routes to date protect primarily or entirely with gear. Doubles of small cams and a full set of stoppers are needed for most of the routes. Check the individual route descriptions for further information.

Most of the routes are equipped to be topped out and many of them require that you do.

One of the best parts about climbing in LDE is that most of the formations have independent summits. Bolted rappel anchors with quicklinks and carabiners have been installed on most of the summits (see photo). Bring along an extra leaver biner or two to replace these carabiners if they have become worn. (The carabiners on the anchors are intended to make descent easy and are not booty - please leave them in place!).

Rock Climbing Photo: LDE anchor
LDE anchor

Getting There 

Driving Directions:
(same as for Lower Devil's Canyon) From Superior, AZ head east on US 60 for about 10 minutes. Turn right on Magma Mine road and continue 1.5 miles. Turn left on the dirt road. Follow this road for 2 miles. For 2WD vehicles, park here on the right side of the road, otherwise continue .2 miles and up over two hills and start down a steep hill. Just before a sharp right hand turn the road briefly splits into two lanes. If you have low clearance 4WD, park off the road here on the left. EDIT - the road quality of the previous section varies with weather and use. Use your own judgment when proceeding in anything but moderate to high clearance 4wd! With high clearance 4wd, head down the hill to a windmill (~.5 miles) and continue on the road until it ends at the top of a rough hill (another .3 miles). The top of Lower Devil’s Canyon is a 2 minute walk east. To continue to LDE, follow the approach directions below.

LDE is plainly visible across the canyon from the Glitter Box area. Locate Entrance Tower using the overview map; it stands out in front of the other towers. You’ll be heading toward this tower. From the top of Lower Devil's Canyon, follow the trail east and downhill through a short rock gully. Head downhill on the trail that forms at the bottom of the gully. After a minute or two the trail curves to the right and drops into a steep wash. The wash is easy to negotiate and leads to the bottom of the canyon in a few minutes. Cross the stream and head 50 feet downstream to a bunch of cairns and a trail leading uphill. Follow the trail uphill toward Entrance Tower. A second trail intersects the approach trail just before Entrance Tower; this one travels north & south along the spires. It takes about 20 minutes to approach from Lower Devil’s Canyon.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.7 miles from here

35 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',17],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Lower Devil's East (LDE)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Lower Devil's East (LDE):
Pigtails & Powerdrills   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Climbology Area
El Throatchoker Grande   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 160'   The Lunchbox
Going Out Of Chicken Sale   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   The Coop
Accelerated Climbology   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 165'   Climbology Area
Frosted Snakes   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   The Lunchbox
Advanced Geir   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 160'   Climbology Area
Blueberry Lizards   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 150'   The Lunchbox
The Shmotem Pole   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   The Shmotem Pole
Centipede Corner   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 110'   The Lunchbox
Coop du jour   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   The Coop
High Man on the Shmotem Pole   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 150'   The Shmotem Pole
Cold Rush   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 2 pitches, 150'   Southern Crags
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Lower Devil's East (LDE)

Featured Route For Lower Devil's East (LDE)
Rock Climbing Photo: FA of Accelerated Climbology

Accelerated Climbology 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  Arizona : Central Arizona : ... : Climbology Area
Great, fun climbing on a mixture of face and crack on the north side of the formation. Climb 30’ up a corner / crack system on the right side of the face. Traverse a few feet left to 5 bolts heading up the face 60’ to a second crack system. Follow the cracks system until it widens to a chimney. Place some gear and pull the bulge on your right to the top.Descent: Two single line rappels. First rap - 60 feet to the chimney climbers left of the route. Second rap - 100 feet to start of route....[more]   Browse More Classics in Arizona

Photos of Lower Devil's East (LDE) Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Fall II in LDE
Fall II in LDE
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview of LDE
BETA PHOTO: Overview of LDE
Rock Climbing Photo: Geir, sitting atop the Totem Pole, gazes across th...
Geir, sitting atop the Totem Pole, gazes across th...
Rock Climbing Photo: Moonrise over LDE
Moonrise over LDE
Rock Climbing Photo: So much to climb, so little time...
So much to climb, so little time...
Rock Climbing Photo: Microskunks with Cholla Coats.
Microskunks with Cholla Coats.
Rock Climbing Photo: Marcy and Geir coming down from cleaning up yet an...
Marcy and Geir coming down from cleaning up yet an...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tired pup in LDE
Tired pup in LDE
Rock Climbing Photo: Lower Devil's Creek post record rainfall in AZ.
Lower Devil's Creek post record rainfall in AZ.
Rock Climbing Photo: It is kinda funny to see how many snowy shots we s...
It is kinda funny to see how many snowy shots we s...
Rock Climbing Photo: Driving in (or out) of the eastern side of LDE pro...
Driving in (or out) of the eastern side of LDE pro...
Rock Climbing Photo: Yup, Marcy, them's the power lines at Devil's nort...
Yup, Marcy, them's the power lines at Devil's nort...
Rock Climbing Photo: Fall in LDE
Fall in LDE
Rock Climbing Photo: The tired pup's gross swimming hole!
The tired pup's gross swimming hole!
Rock Climbing Photo: LDE
Rock Climbing Photo: The Shmotem Pole.
The Shmotem Pole.
Rock Climbing Photo: We seem to like to get down there in the snow ...
We seem to like to get down there in the snow ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Heart of the Saguaro
The Heart of the Saguaro
Rock Climbing Photo: The parking spot by the new trail in to LDE from t...
The parking spot by the new trail in to LDE from t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking north
Looking north
Rock Climbing Photo: View of the mellower hike in from the east. Photo ...
View of the mellower hike in from the east. Photo ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Lower Devil's Creek post record rainfall in AZ.
Lower Devil's Creek post record rainfall in AZ.

Comments on Lower Devil's East (LDE) Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 22, 2016
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 21, 2009
For those of you who have Google Earth, I put together two maps:

1) Driving directions to Lower Devil's Canyon along with the 2WD and 4WD parking areas.
2) Approach directions to Lower Devil's East.

These files can be downloaded from

Once in this file, simply click on the file you want and select "open" from the window that appears. Follow the prompts from there and the road will display in Google Earth on your computer.

Google Earth can be downloaded for free at
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Jul 21, 2009
That's great, Geir. Do you think a 4wd Tundra could make the drive in???
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 21, 2009
definitely, and you're welcome! :)
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Jul 25, 2009
Good job and nice addition you two. I like soooo many have gazed across the creek at those towers but was too lazy to go check them out (although I know of those who have).

Story had it when the road was closed that there was a way to get up top the east plateau and hike over to Lower Devils Canyon. Geir, you see anything like that on Google Earth?

How's the catclaw on the approach trails?

Can't wait to see more!

By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Jul 27, 2009
Thanks, Susan. It has been a really great experience! The main trail up and the north-south trail parallel to the canyon are free from catclaw. Some of the trails up to individual formations need bit of work; we're just waiting for some cooler temperatures.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jul 27, 2009
Hey Susan! Thanks very much!

We're excited about the new routes and will post them as soon as the weather cools and we can finish clearing trails to them.

Update 8/09: Susan - we checked out part of the road leading to the east plateau and it is passable for at least part of the way with high clearance 4wd. (We explored about the first two miles.) However, it would be very slow going as the road is rough and long.
By jason sartor
Oct 12, 2009
This looks EXCITING! Looking forward to coming out to see what you've been up to.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Oct 12, 2009
Hey both!

This area is soooo awesome -- was terrific to get a "sneak peak" and I'm totally psyched to explore these new route you both have worked so hard on. Very, very, very impressive and such a gorgeous area to add to the already stunning Lower Devil's. And, your trail and road work is all truly yeoman's duty -- above and beyond.

See you'll back out there soon!

By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Oct 19, 2009
Glad you came over to visit us Arjun! Can't wait to show you more!
By Mike Dudley
From: Vegas
Oct 26, 2009
Big big thanks to Geir and Marcy for putting up these amazing climbs! The climbing is amazing and the scenery is down right inspiring. Thanks again guys I can't wait to come out and climb LDE again.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 24, 2009
To make descents safe and convenient, most of the rappel anchors in LDE have been updated to bolts have quick links and carabiners attached (see the photo above). This eliminates the need to thread the ropes and simplifies descent. Eric Rhicard and Jim Scott have been using this anchor style on Mount Lemmon for several years and it has worked very well.

NOTE: the carabiners are part of the anchor, not booty. Please leave them in place. If they are removed the quick links will be in the wrong orientation; this will twist the ropes and make the rappels difficult to pull.

Since the carabiners are only being used for rappels, we expect them to last for years. When they eventually become worn, it will be necessary to replace them. Bring along an old carabiner or two to use in the event a replacement is required.
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Dec 21, 2009
Happy Birthday, LDE!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 26, 2010
LDE has it's first sport route! David Sampson put up the new climb last weekend, and I can tell you from experience it's great fun. He will be posting it up shortly. It's a spicy at the top, so make sure you're climbing solidly at the grade!
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Feb 7, 2010
With 12 of us there yesterday on a stellar day, LDE sure felt like an awesome climbing scene. Wonderful to have brought this to us all, Marcy and Geir, and so terrific to share such climbing adventures. Nice!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Feb 7, 2010
Many thanks to all for a terrific weekend! Marcy and I had a blast with all of you out there!!

Thanks Arjun for all the great photos and your huge amount of enthusiasm for LDE! Also thanks to Roman and friends for coming out for the day and climbing with us!
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Feb 9, 2010
Ditto Geir's comments above! So very fun to have that much activity in LDE!!!

Forcast looks good this w/e...maybe we'll have a repeat :)
By Jimbo
Apr 27, 2010
Special thanks to Geir and Marcy for 2 great days of climbing at LDE, and borrowing us their tag line and big cams!

Every route we did was great.

I've done a couple of FA's through the years, and Geir and Marcy are doing some impressive ground up stuff on rock that is often really friable before it gets a thorough cleaning. Pretty friggin spooky way out above the gear on this stuff. Thank the climbing gods that is cleans up so well to produce such great routes.

This is a must visit area in the state of Arizona.

By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Apr 27, 2010
Great to have you out, Jim, and thank you for your feedback. Glad you had a good time!
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Apr 27, 2010
ditto to that! thanks for coming out Jim!!

Also thanks to Steve, Jesse, Erica, and Doug for checking out LDE on Sunday. It was great to have you all out there!
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Oct 13, 2010
Back out here in my favorite area after being away for quite a while. Stunning day and great climbing, as always. A bit of wash out on trails, and the road in is in worse shape, but otherwise all well. So great to share this gem with my brother with whom I learned to climb oh so many years ago.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 16, 2010
if anyone would like a small guide to the area you can download it from the link below. it has route beta which is current as of 11/2010 and is consolidated down to a 9-page PDF.
By Jimbo
Nov 18, 2010
I want my guide autographed by Geir and Marcy.
By Dan Anderson
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Jan 17, 2011
Geir & Marcy:

Was out at LDE for the first time yesterday. Thank you for all the hard work you've done. The trail building looks like it required a ton of effort.

This is really a special place to climb. Congratulations on a spectacular achievement!

Can't wait to go back.

By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Jan 18, 2011
Thanks Dan for your comments. Geir and I are glad that you had a good time in LDE! :)
By Matt Bolt
From: Lakewood
Jan 28, 2011
Cameron Frisby and I spend a couple of days in LDE this week and I have to say a big thanks to all who have put effort into developing this area. We found all of the routes to be high quality and well thought out. High Man on the Shmotem Pole was one of the more enjoyable sport routes I have done in a while. Good luck to whomever is working on finishing off the second pitch.

If you are worried about the last bit of driving, I can tell you that a stock 4x4 tacoma with a fairly incompetent off-road driver made it up with no problems...albeit a great deal of palm sweat.
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Jan 28, 2011
Thank you, Matt, for taking the time to check it out. Geir and I are psyched that you enjoyed the routes and I'm positive that Jon Ruland and Mike Dudley will be happy to hear your feedback on High Man on the Shmotem Pole (they put a ton of time and hard work developing it)!

And nice work driving that last bit in your Tacoma (awesome trucks!)!
By Fred AmRhein
Feb 18, 2011

I thought I'd help straighten out some things about Lower Gaan/Devil's East in terms of some of the history of the climbing on that side.

In the late 90's, I was involved with several forays onto that side and we began to develop climbs over there. We climbed and began to develop both gear and non-gear (sport) routes.

In one instance, Greg Opland and I climbed a crack to top out on a tower. We placed a bolt or two on the top if I recall and then rapped a bit to put in a sport anchor on a lower ledge of the face below. We did this on April 5, 1998. We called the climb "A Womb with a View" if memory serves and Greg could probably detail the exact feature, the gear, and more detail on the crack since he led that part. I think I led the final vertial/overhanging, horizontally featured face on a piece of gear or two to the top of the tower and I recall some friendly ravens harrassing us as we topped out.

Subsequent to this excursion, I went over a couple of more times with others and we toproped and cleaned the face in preparation for bolting it. I recently came across some of the video that we took of that. My main sport partner at the time wasn't too keen on heading over there much and then he returned to his native Australia later that year so we didn't get a chance to actually get it totally cleaned and bolted. I recall breaking some huge chunks here and there and just about taking some partners out. Great times.

Also, I don't see a mention in the description that the entire Lower Gaan/Devil's area is on Arizona State Trust land and that you are legally required to have a recreational permit to enter it and climb. The AST lands begin just before the last big hill before you go down into the valley with the tank and old corral area. Even if you hike in, you are required to have the permit. It's available from the ASTL website Though it's rare, I'd hate to see anybody get cited for not having the permit.

Hope this helps. Just thought you'd like to know that the area has more history than detailed so far, that we were both rap bolting and going ground up, and that it does require the special ASTL permit for access. One should definitely carry gear down to the area but I do hope that there won't be any heartburn or ethical difficulties over rap bolted face routes since we had kind of already set off in that direction back in the day.

From what I found on my excursions over there it was obvious that I wasn't the first to visit, though I didn't find much hardware anywhere, so please don't mistake this as a claim on anything, just filling in some things for you.

Have fun and be safe,

By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Feb 18, 2011
Great info, Fred! Thanks for the added history. Geir and I initially learned that at least one route existed on the East side before 2008. We've come across evidence of three now. Two of these we have repeated and are noted in the foldout and here on MP, the third we think may be "Womb with a View", although we ascended the back of the formation and found your bolts on top (the Ravens were gone, though). It has been fun for us to find the lines that those before us have climbed. I'm not sure if the other old routes we repeated are yours - if they are, we are happy to add or correct any details if you like. :)

Thanks for pointing out that the Lower Devil's area is on state trust land; this should probably be included in the main page for Lower Devil's Canyon too!

Edited to add: Thus far, we haven't come across any existing sport lines, however, Jon Ruland/Mike Dudley have put up a two pitch sport line on The Shmotem Pole and David Sampson has also added a sport line to The Coop.
By Dan Anderson
From: Phoenix, Arizona
Mar 14, 2011
Another stellar day at LDE, Climbology Area this trip. Had the place all to ourselves. Really fun routes. Road is in great shape, outing of 10-15 people capming out climbing in Glitter Box & Hackberry.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Jan 7, 2013
It's always terrific to get back to LDE and yesterday was no exception. Especially fun to get back on the new trail that Marcy, Geir and I marked last month or so and find it relatively easy to follow. Getting in to LDE from the east is relatively easy: drive ~ 2 mi. beyond the normal turnoff to Oak Flats and LD standard, take the first right after the bridge across Devils Canyon, and head in 6 miles on a well graded dirt road. Park at the last capped drill hole before the road gets noticeably rougher, follow cairns that begin just after a juniper tree and use your instinct for where to go to get to the top of LDE on the east side.
By Sayfe
From: Scottsdale, az
Jan 20, 2013
Arjun, good direction and cairns to the LDE. We went there yesterday. Long hike, specilly coming back at dark last night. I wonder which side is a better approach.
Thank you all for the great routes,
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Apr 1, 2013
Have now gone back on this route a few times and think it's almost a "six of one" question w/r to time to get to LDE from, say, the turnoff to Oak Flat. The pros for the eastern way in are that the road quality is much better and the hike is much mellower, with spectacular views from both. The con is that it does feel long, even if the time taken is likely about the same given the poor road into LD the normal way and the rugged hike down and up from the end of the road through Devil's Canyon.
By Tim Heid
From: AZ
Dec 31, 2014
Has anyone taken the back road out to LDE recently and know the condition of the road?

We have a Subaru and thinking about checking the way out.
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Dec 31, 2014
Hi Tim. Do you mean Rawhide road that runs on the east side of the canyon? I haven't taken it this season, but last Spring it was passenger car friendly, just long. I'd guess you'd be fine in a Subaru.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix & Prescott, AZ
Dec 6, 2015
Just went back into LDE via the eastern approach road and trail. The dirt road is 6.5 miles from the pavement to the parking "pad" and is in worse condition that before such that it took 30-40 min of conservative driving. Subaru still a maybe (I haven't driven one on such terrain). Interesting change right off of rt. 60 is that it's under some degree of construction such that they took out the cattle guard and there's now a openable fence gate that you have to untie and close back up. The trail itself is still discernible, though it could definitely use several trips of pruning -- will bring clippers next time in. Most cairns are still in place, though some could be added to/repaired. It takes about 30 min to exit this way from the Coop and slightly less to enter. No free range bulls at least.
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Mar 22, 2016
Did you leave behind some ropes in LDE recently. PM me for info.

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