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Oak Creek Canyon

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Oak Creek Canyon Rock Climbing 


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Location: 34.9524, -111.7543 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 88,952
Administrators: Greg Opland, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on May 27, 2008
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Sterling Pass from the air!

Description 

Oak Creek Canyon is a Grand Daddy of Mogollon Rim drainages! This expansive canyon takes root in Flagstaff, but really starts just south of town in beautiful Pumphouse Wash. Oak Creek Canyon runs all the way down until it opens up at the entry of Munds Canyon from the east rim, and empties into Sedona. This canyon holds a myriad of side canyons, sub drainages, and a staggering amount of stone, climbing, exploration, and adventure to be had right off the heals of HWY 89.

Rock Climbing Photo: Anne Mariah Tapp on the Second Ascent of the Golde...
Anne Mariah Tapp on the Second Ascent of the Golden Sweater, The Odyssey Wall.

Photo blakemccordphoto.com


There really is something for everyone in this canyon, starting out with the treasure of moderate traditional climbs to be found at the Oak Creek Canyon Overlook. If you are learning to place gear, and get some leads under your belt, this is a fantastic area to create a foundation. Also a wonderful place to rip through them and enjoy the view for a day. Moderates hold the majority. I have moved this area to the Flagstaff Crags Section due to it's proximity to town. Though this area clearly marks the entrance from the north, into Oak Creek Canyon.

Rock Climbing Photo: Youngharz on the exposed moves out to the arete on...
Youngharz on the exposed moves out to the arete on Angels Delight, The Overlook.


If you are looking for sport routes, then you have the options of The Doctor's Office which is the only "sport" crag in the canyon, or exploring the depths of Pumphouse Wash for more scattered moderate sport routes. Though the sandstone is soft, there are some excellent routes to discover, and some out of the way CLASSIC lines to track down.

Rock Climbing Photo: Free Refills 5.10, The Doctors Office Such an uniq...
Free Refills 5.10, The Doctors Office
Such an unique route!

Photo Credit to Moe Lauchert! moelauchert.com/


Pumphouse Wash, now listed under Flagstaff Crags, is also the stunning showcase of the The Ultimates these lines are a fabled collection of cherished, traditional routes that will test the best, up to 5.12+ fingers, and some burly offwidth if you are so inclined.... Lately some new multi pitch moderates have also been added. There is a lot to see down there, and some excellent "hot summer" swimming holes as well.

Rock Climbing Photo: Darren Mabe on the FFA  of Twist Of Fate 5.12, The...
Darren Mabe on the FFA of Twist Of Fate 5.12, The Ultimates Area, Pumphouse Wash.
Photo: Blake McCord


*The Waterfall now has well over 100 trad routes, with the majority of them going down in the 5.10+ through 5.13 range.You can expect splitter cracks, steep jug hauls, and very thin technical lines.The climbing really starts at solid 5.10 trad, and only gets exponentially better from there! Bring a 70M rope, a robust rack including a triple set of TCUs, and your game! Not a place for the faint of heart.

Rock Climbing Photo: Colin Cox on the 'all or nothing' redpoint crux of...
Colin Cox on the 'all or nothing' redpoint crux of There Will Be Blood 5.12+, The Waterfall.


And, on top of all that, if you want to get in a superb sandstone bouldering session, The Anvil Boulders are a collection of wonderful and rare blocks all conveniently (or maybe not so because of the creek crossing?) located 200 yards on the East side of Oak Creek just a hop and skip drive north out of Sedona. V-easy to V-super-hard- inspiring! Some very cool steep lines! Find this area in the *Northern Arizona Bouldering section.

Rock Climbing Photo: Shot taken by Ian Kiersey.
Shot taken by Ian Kiersey.


Oak Creek Canyon is a treasure to many, and a focal point to climbers in this area for harboring a wide variety of crags, which can be intimidating, but also accessible year round, if you play your cards right. It is an awesome place to visit, and climb in, and an arduous place to explore off the beaten path! Watch out for tourists, rattle snakes, rock fall, hard approaches- and mellow ones, slow drivers (with their cameras stuck outside the window), soft sandstone, hard sandstone, and impeccable stone as well!

There is obviously much more to be found in this expansive canyon than is listed here.... Be ready to "earn your burns", and engage with an environment that always seems to be coming after you! Yah, you personally....

An intriguing landscape!

Getting There 

Take 89 south from Flagstaff, or north from Sedona.

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.0 miles from here

208 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',45],['3 Stars',124],['2 Stars',31],['1 Star',7],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',5],['5.9',5],['5.10',41],['5.11',83],['5.12',62],['5.13',11],['>=5.14',1],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Oak Creek Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Oak Creek Canyon:
Flashflood   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
The Sword   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
Smilin' Jay   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
Black and Tan   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
Spite and Malice   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
Vertebrae   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
Natural Enhancement   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
Lord Humongous   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
Double Helix   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
Resurrection   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
Heart and Soul   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   Sterling Pass
The Chronic   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 75'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
False Prophet   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
American Caesar   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Right Wall
11:11 (AKA "Welcome to the Waterfall")   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
Super Chron   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 115'   *The Waterfall : The Double Clutching Wall
Valhalla   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 6 pitches, 600'   Insomnia Canyon
Life Without Parole   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 6 pitches, 500'   Insomnia Canyon
Terminator   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Left Wall
There Will Be Blood   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Oak Creek Canyon

Featured Route For Oak Creek Canyon
Rock Climbing Photo: Casey N. reeling in the positive holds, and big mo...

No Utopia 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a  AZ : Northern Arizona : ... : *The Right Wall
"Well, there is no utopia." I heard it said many times growing up when my old man wanted to describe a less than ideal situation... I just like saying it, but it is also in reference to the grovelly, block start, although it's a small price to pay for the upper goods.This curvacious pitch shares the start and first third of Natural Enhancement. Beware the 'in your face' starting moves (5.10+, PG-13) wheth...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of Oak Creek Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking across canyon from The Waterfall.
Looking across canyon from The Waterfall.
Rock Climbing Photo: A general overview of the layout of the Oak Creek ...
A general overview of the layout of the Oak Creek ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Oak Creek Canyon, AZ.  March 09.
Oak Creek Canyon, AZ. March 09.

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