REI Community
Southern Arizona

Select Area...
Arivaca Lake 
Baboquivari Peak 
Chiricahua National Monument 
Cochise Stronghold 
Dry Canyon, The 
End of the Road, The 
Farmhouse, The 
Kitt Peak 
Kofa Mountains 
Mendoza Canyon (aka Coyote Domes) 
Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalina Mountains) 
Mustang, The 
Newman Peak- "The Shady Lady?" 
Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument 
Pinaleno mtns. (Hell's Hole) 
Rincon Mountains 
Santa Rita Mountains 
Stone Canyon 
Tanque Verde Canyon 
Texas Canyon 
Tinajas Altas 
Tollgate Pass 
Tucson Area Bouldering 
Tucson Buildering 
Tucson Mountains 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Snake Dance Loop
A predominantly level trail with several small washes and nice curvy flow. Near Vail, Arizona
Rez Loop
Home of the "Field Goal", "Elbow Slammer", and "The Slide." A good mix of intermediate and easy. Near Tanque Verde, Arizona
Lone Cactus Loop
A 6-mile singletrack loop starting at the intersection of Harrison & Irvington. Near Tanque Verde, Arizona
Bitter on the technical uphill, sweet on the slightly exposed, ridgeline descent. Near Drexel Heights, Arizona
Camaro Loop
The centerpiece of Robles, Camaro Loop provides fast, fun desert singletrack. Near Drexel Heights, Arizona
Robles Loop via Coyote Ridge Trailhead
A great way to ride many trails at Robles Mtn. with scree, climbs, switchbacks, technical climbs. Near Drexel Heights, Arizona
From MP's sister site:

Southern Arizona Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 32.2534, -110.9237 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 912,161
Administrators: Greg Opland, JJ Schlick, Luke Bertelsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: 1Eric Rhicard on Jan 23, 2012
This Afternoon

113° | 83°

111° | 82°

108° | 80°

106° | 79°

104° | 77°

103° | 75°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [1 person likes this page.]
Orifice Politics, Mount Lemmon, Arizona. Photo b...


Southern Arizona has a lot to offer most rock climbers. There are classic old school trad routes and super safe bolted climbs. Most of the climbing is lower angle to vertical face climbing. This is not to say that there isn't any steep stuff as a few crags have sections of steep to very steep (45 degrees) rock. There is some crack climbing but not many pure crack climbs. The majority of routes are between 5.8 and 5.12. For the 5.10 to 5.11 climber thousands of routes will keep you busy for a lifetime. There are only two 5.14s and 15 or so 5.13s on Mt. Lemmon at this time so super hard climbers usually move away.

The approaches range from sixty seconds to three or more hours. Most however, are between fifteen minutes and one hour. Elevations range from 2300 feet to 9100 feet. The ability to climb at various elevations make it possible to climb all year. On top of that the scenery is pretty spectacular with some of the prettiest sunsets you can watch. You can climb next to giant Saguaro Cactus or in the tall Ponderosa pines at the top of Mount Lemmon.

Rock Climbing Photo: The West Stronghold on a gorgeous November night. ...
The West Stronghold on a gorgeous November night.

Cochise Stronghold and the Catalina Mountains, more often referred to as Mt. Lemmon are where most of the climbing activity occurs. The Stronghold has lots of old school sphincter puckering trad routes and a higher number of more heavily bolted lines that make for a less terrifying day. The climbs reach to the summits of majestic domes of granite that are highlighted by green and yellow lichen. Late afternoon sunsets lighting these walls will take your breath away.

Rock Climbing Photo: Orifice Politics, Mount Lemmon, Arizona.   Photo b...
Orifice Politics, Mount Lemmon, Arizona.

Photo by: Aaron Lavinsky

The Catalina Mountains have hundreds of multi pitch routes but most think of it as a cragging area. Located on the northern edge of Tucson it sees the highest concentration of climbers. The 30 mile long Catalina highway has a couple of thousand climbs within 30 minutes of the road. Even so if you walk a short distance you can often have the crag to yourself.

If you get away from these two areas and visit the less traveled areas you can easily eliminate contact with other climbers and still find some great climbing.

Wherever you end up the weather will usually cooperate and the warmth of the desert will have you smiling.

Getting There 

Tucson is the epicenter of southern Arizona. If you are flying in you might find direct flights can be a bit more expensive. Many fly into Phoenix and rent a car and head south. Most cars will get you to most areas but a few will require a high clearance vehicle. If you are driving find your way to I-10 and it will lead you to Tucson.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.0 miles from here

2,870 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',90],['3 Stars',708],['2 Stars',1326],['1 Star',610],['Bomb',19]

Classic Climbing Routes in Southern Arizona

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Southern Arizona:
Southeast Arete   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 6 pitches   Baboquivari Peak : East Face
What's My Line?   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b A0 R     Trad, Aid, 3 pitches, 400'   East Stronghold : Cochise Dome (What's My Lin...
Ewephoria   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 5 pitches, 750'   Sheepshead Area (Southwest) : The Sheepshead
The Wasteland   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 6 pitches, 600'   East Stronghold : The Wasteland
Moby Dick   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 6 pitches, 700'   West Stronghold : Whale Dome
R-4   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 130'   3 - Windy Point East : Rupley Towers
Steel Crazy   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 4 pitches, 450'   The Fortress : Southeast Face
Old Man   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   4 - Windy Point West : South Fin
Forest Lawn   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 3 pitches, 300'   Rockfellow Group : Bastion Towers
The Peacemaker   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 7 pitches   Sheepshead Area (Southwest) : The Sheepshead
Absinthe of Mallet   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 7 pitches   Sheepshead Area (Southwest) : The Sheepshead
Endgame   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, 5 pitches, 600'   Rockfellow Group : End Pinnacle
Days of Future Passed   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Rockfellow Group : End Pinnacle
Warpaint   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 5 pitches, 680'   West Stronghold : Westworld Dome
Stampede   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 7 pitches, 800'   Sheepshead Area (Southwest) : The Sheepshead
Abracadaver   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 6 pitches, 500'   Rockfellow Group : Rockfellow Dome
Steve's Arete   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   3 - Windy Point East : Hunchback Pinnacle
Two Kings And A Pawn   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Chessman Area : 4 - Queen
Hard Day at The Orifice   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Fortress : Orifice Wall
Tsunami   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   3 - Windy Point East : New Wave Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Southern Arizona

Featured Route For Southern Arizona
Rock Climbing Photo: Mr Crowely

Mr. Crowley 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a  Arizona : Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalin... : ... : OCB
Mc Croweley is the second route climbed, and the must do route at the OCB. The first P is short and can be avoided but is worth doing. Both pitches were put up on lead in 1998. The second pitch is the money; a 90' stem box with a finger seam....[more]   Browse More Classics in Arizona

Photos of Southern Arizona Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Saguaros and approaching storm, Mt. Lemmon
Saguaros and approaching storm, Mt. Lemmon
Rock Climbing Photo: Coronado NM, Southern Arizona
Coronado NM, Southern Arizona
Rock Climbing Photo: Saguaro NP, Southern Arizona
Saguaro NP, Southern Arizona
Rock Climbing Photo: Yeah I know it's not So AZ, but I thought some of ...
Yeah I know it's not So AZ, but I thought some of ...
Rock Climbing Photo: In Saguaro national park.  September 2012.
In Saguaro national park. September 2012.
Rock Climbing Photo: Another shot.  September 2012.
Another shot. September 2012.
Rock Climbing Photo: Maybe a barrel cactus?  September 2012.
Maybe a barrel cactus? September 2012.

Comments on Southern Arizona Add Comment
Show which comments
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
Mar 18, 2014
Bighorn Sheep calving closure on Pusch Ridge Wilderness. This includes Leviathan. I found it out the hard way last weekend. The area is closed from January 1 until April 30.
By brian benedon
Dec 5, 2014
what do you mean about finding out the hard way?

Mountain Project

The Definitive Climbing Resource

MTB Project

Next Generation MTB Trail Maps

Powder Project

Backcountry Ski Maps & Secret Stashes
FREE Stickers · Gyms · RSS · School of Rock · Contact · About