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Sun Spot Crags

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Across To Bear T 
Ain't no Sunshine When it's Gone S 
Angus' Kong T 
Aurora No Boreals S 
Black Hole T 
Blinded by the Light S 
Blink S 
Brighter Side Of Darkness S 
Chromosphere T 
Crack Of Dawn T 
Cragmire S 
English Breakfast Crack T 
Euro-lite S 
Filet Of Sol S 
Fun With Dick And Bob S 
Hardboiled T 
Hashbrowns S 
Head in the McLeods S 
Hebrew Hammer S 
Krymptonite S 
Lein On Me S 
Magnetopause S 
Myopic S 
North American Free Trad Agreement T 
Northern Tights S 
Ra's Arete S 
Red Dwarf T 
Rehearsal of Fortune T 
See the Light T 
Sol Survivor S 
Solar E-clips S 
Solar Flare T 
Solar Sis-stem S 
Solar Wind S 
Sun Baked (No Longer Exists) S 
Sun Demon S 
Sun Dialed S 
Sunny Side Up S 
Tallest Man On Earth T 
Turn The Other Cheek T 
Viking Soared T 
Wedge Of Delight, The S 
White Dwarf S 

Sun Spot Crags Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 4,697'
Location: 32.34035, -110.68889 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 17,562
Administrators: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: eMurdock on Jan 9, 2006
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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The Sun Spot Crags are a sunny, winter climbing area that's visible from the Molino Campground as a low, south-facing cliff band. There are more than 20 routes to do from 5.7 to 5.12. There was only one route, bolted by Strassman, on the crag until December 2005. Some of the other lines, including chimneys, have been climbed/toproped in the past. Rock quality is variable although all the routes are surprisingly good. Solar Flare, the farthest route to the west, is on great rock and is top notch by Lemmon standards. Bring a standard rack for a few excellent cracks and mixed routes. Routes were cleaned although there may be some residual crustiness on a few. If you are looking for a low, sunny crag with warm temps, this place is a worthwhile alternative to the Ruins or Club Med.

Getting There 

Park at the Molino Campground parking lot which is about a quarter mile past the Fee station. Walk across the road to the AZ trail heading east. Walk for a minute or two on the AZ trail. Turn off trail and head left (north), up the hillside, past abandoned mine, to the crag. Approach time is 15 minutes.

Climbing Season

For the 1 - Lower Highway area.

Weather station 5.5 miles from here

43 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',8],['2 Stars',20],['1 Star',15],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Sun Spot Crags

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sun Spot Crags:
Sunny Side Up   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   
English Breakfast Crack   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Hashbrowns   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   
Crack Of Dawn   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   
Solar Flare   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   
Cragmire   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Solar E-clips   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Rehearsal of Fortune   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Trad, 65'   
Brighter Side Of Darkness   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   
Aurora No Boreals   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 45'   
Northern Tights   5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 45'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sun Spot Crags

Featured Route For Sun Spot Crags
Rock Climbing Photo: here's the topo

Solar E-clips 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a  Arizona : Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalin... : ... : Sun Spot Crags
Solar E-clips is located in the middle of the Sunburst Crag and climbs a major weakness. The line starts in a dihedral under a roof. There are some interesting moves into a open groove. The top is exceptional with steep pocket (yes, pocket) pulls. This thing took some clean up, but it is fairly sweet in its current state. 8 or so bolts. Sparky speaks the truth. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Arizona

Photos of Sun Spot Crags Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: here's the topo
BETA PHOTO: here's the topo
Rock Climbing Photo: View from Sun Spots during a winter shower
View from Sun Spots during a winter shower
Rock Climbing Photo: Snow along the approach 12-4-11.  It was still war...
Snow along the approach 12-4-11. It was still war...
Rock Climbing Photo: From the bottom of English Breakfast
From the bottom of English Breakfast
Rock Climbing Photo: I forget which route this is
I forget which route this is
Rock Climbing Photo: Sign across the highway from the Molina Basin CG, ...
Sign across the highway from the Molina Basin CG, ...
Rock Climbing Photo: The really New Sun Spots topo
The really New Sun Spots topo
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunspots topo with route list(compiled from info a...
BETA PHOTO: Sunspots topo with route list(compiled from info a...
Rock Climbing Photo: The trail to Sun Spot Crags deposits climbers at t...
BETA PHOTO: The trail to Sun Spot Crags deposits climbers at t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Sun Spot Crags from Molino Basin Campground parkin...
BETA PHOTO: Sun Spot Crags from Molino Basin Campground parkin...

Comments on Sun Spot Crags Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Nov 28, 2015
By Scott Drawz
Jan 18, 2006
Went out to this crag last week, had a good time overall. There is no good trail up there, so be prepared to bushwhack. There is also quite a bit of loose rock, we were pulling off holds left and right.
Check your pro placements carefully. It should be a significantly better experience if some cleaning is done on the routes.
The finger crack is quite fun, but the lower part is choss and is only 45 feet in total..
Solar Flare is excellent! A must do if you go up there.
Crack of Dawn has some great moves on it, but it has a lot of loose stuff still.
Sunny Side Up, and Hard Boiled are good. Hard Boiled is the name for "original route" in the Steiger Guide.
Not sure I quite agree with the star ratings, but that is in the eye of the beholder.

Thanks for the new routes guys!!!

-Scott Drawz
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Feb 13, 2006
On Sunny Side Up and Original Route (shared anchors), you need to belay on the ledge about 8 feet up to the right..A 60m rope hanging straight down from the chains is about 3 feet off the ground, probably quite a bit more if running through draws..

The move to enter the chimney on the Original Route felt harder than 9, maybe people head up a bit higher on the face and then enter the chimney further up..

On Sunny Side Up, there's one unneeded bolt like a foot below the anchors, but then there's a big runout I think between the 3rd and 4th bolts which requires a kind of a balancy move to the left to clip..

There's a new bolted route just to the right of the Original Route, looks pretty hard..

Be careful belaying English Breakfast Crack on a toprope, lots of loose flakes to the left of the arete coming off where a belayer might be standing..

Why not consolidate the two Sunburst Wall pages??

By 1Eric Rhicard
Feb 15, 2006
This area is now being referred to as Sun Spot Crags. It has been divided into five crags, The Griddle, Red Dwarf, White Dwarf, Brown Dwarf and The Heliosphere. These climbs range in length from 25-100 feet. With an elevation of around 4000 feet they provide an opportunity to climb on the coldest windy day in Tucson. The first routes reached are only 10 minutes from the parking lot and the climbs that are higher up the hill are 20 minutes. A number of moderate routes have recently been put up but most are 5.10 or 5.11. The climbing differs from a lot of Mt. Lemmon because you climb a lot of features instead of just crimping. Some routes are rough around the edges and need a tad more cleaning. They are all protected well enough that if a hold does come off no one should get seriously hurt or die. As always the decision to climb past pro is a judgment the climber must make. The approach trail has been marked with cairns in an effort to minimize our biggest impact on any area. Please try to follow the cairns so we don't have more than one trail. As of 3/9/06 there are 30+ routes.
By Scott Tucker
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 30, 2006
This is a nice crag. There are flat clear belay spots at the bottom of almost every climb, and there is a nice variety of climbs. That said, some routes haven't been traveled enough to be free of all the loose stuff. Some of the routes, like Solar Flare and Sun Dialed, are on flawless rock. But some of the more moderate routes (and even a few of the harder ones) still have some chunks that might rain down on your belayer, so be careful. All the faces get sun pretty much all day, so it's perfect in the winter. Thanks for all the work on the routes and trails, guys!
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Jan 4, 2007
Hey anyone here that can update the topo? I see a list of routes but the topo reflects only a handful. Even a description of which is which or the order the go (left to right or something) would be fantastic.

Help - I'm thinking about humping it up there!

By Jimbo
Jan 5, 2007
Sun Spots Routes and grades (Conforms with topo)

1: English Breakfast Cracks 5.9/5.10d Bolts, gear, chains **
2: Solar-E Clips 5.11 Bolts, chains ***
3: Hashbrowns 5.10+ Bolts, chains *
4: Hardboiled 5.9 Bolts, gear, chains *
5: Sunny Side Up 5.10- Bolts, chains *
6: Sun Dialed 5.11 Bolts, chains *
7: Crack of dawn 5.10d (left variation: 5.10) Gear, 1 bolt, chains **
8: Myopic 5.11a/b Bolts, chains *
9: Blinded by the Light 5.10 Bolts, chains *
10: Brighter Side of Darkness 5.12- Bolts, chains *
11: Angus Kong 5.10- Gear, 1 Bolt, chains *
12: Hebrew Hammer 5.12- Bolts, chains *
13: Sun Baked 5.10+ Bolts, chains *
14: Viking Soared 5.11 Gear, bolts, chains *
15: Red Dwarf 5.12 Gear, chains *
16: Wedge of Delight 5.10 Bolts, chains *
17: Krymptonite 5.12 Bolts, chains *1/2
18: Sun Demon 5.10 Bolts, chains *
19: Ra’s Arete 5.11 Bolts, chains *
20: White Dwarf 5.11 Bolts, chains *
21: Solar Flare 5.11 Bolts, chains ***
22: Lein on me 5.8 Bolts, chains *
23: Euro-lite 5.10 Blots, chains *1/2
24: See the Light 5.11 Gear, bolts, chains *
25: Filet of Sol 5.10+ Bolts, chains *1/2
26: Sol Survivor 5.11 Bolts, chains *
27: Black Hole 5.7 Gear, chains **
28: Chromoshere 5.10+ Gear, bolts, chains *
29: Cragmire 5.11 Bolts, chains **
30: Magnetopause 5.11+ Bolts, chains **
31: Fun with Dick and Bob 5.8 Bolts, chains *
32: Blink 5.9+ Bolts, chains *
33: Aurora No Boreals 5.12- Bolts, chains **
34: Head in the McLeods 5.11- Bolts, chains *
35: Turn the other Cheek 5.10- Gear, bolts, chains *
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Jan 5, 2007
Jim, thanks so much for the speedy reply. You numbering system and topo will help us out a bunch!

Thanks again!


p.s. suggestion - save the list and add it as a beta photo so it can be easily printed along with the topo.
By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
Jan 5, 2007
Jo, great modification of the topo. It prints out a bit clearer too. Plug that thing into a PDF and we'll be on our way!


By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Jan 12, 2007
Thanks for the new topos! And for putting up the routes in the first place.

I've only climbed a few routes on the front crag, this oughta get me schlepping further up the hill. Even from the few I've climbed, it's a great area.
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Feb 5, 2007
You probably want some gear for route #11, there's only one bolt.

Also, if 5.10 is near your limit, on route 16 you might consider a small cam in between the 2nd and 3rd bolt, there's an outside chance (with rope stretch, etc) you could hit the ledge if you blew it getting to the third bolt.
By Jimbo
Feb 7, 2007
My fault on Angus Kong. Should read gear, 1 bolt, chains.
Has been changed, on list.
I hope, Christian, you good see that it was a gear route before you started your lead???!!!
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Feb 7, 2007
I haven't led this yet, didn't bring the gear that day, Erick (Murdock?) was telling me I should just solo up to that bolt haha ok..

One good side effect of the confusion is that I got on Hebrew Hammer thinking it might be 10a and actually got the rope up eventually..In horrible style I might add, but for me, it was the first time ever being able to get on stance on the crux of a 12a and place a draw on the hanger..and then proceeding to shamelessly grab said draw to make the clip..haha..But it's a start..
By Jimbo
Feb 9, 2007
As the old man of the mountain, Eric Rhichard, always says "If your not flying your not trying". Sport routes were invented to so we could push our limits safely. Keep getting on the hard stuff!!

By the way, Murdock puts gear in this climb when he leads it.
By eMurdock
From: Tucson, Arizona
Feb 11, 2007
I did not say that he should solo up to the bolt. Must have misunderstood me. I may have said that it would be a solo up to the bolt.
By Daniel Cohn
May 7, 2007
There has been some great weather at Sun Spots this month. Apparently the rattlesnakes like it too. In the past two weeks I have seen two of them here so take care around this crag.
By Joseph Stover
From: Batesville, AR
May 7, 2007
I was confused by the topo.. So Angus kong is a trad route between the two 12's on what is called the "brown dwarf"?

Going left on the crag:
-Brighter side of Darkness 12- sport, furthest right route on brown dwarf
-Angus Kong, 10- trad
-Hebrew Hammer, 12- sport
-big gulley with Sun Baked, 10+ sport
-then you get to the red dwarf,
-and then continue on up the trail to Ra's Arete and beyond.

I was confused because the topo listed Angus Kong as a Bolted route.
By Hampton Uzzelle
From: Tucson, Arizona
May 9, 2007
Angus Kong is a mixed route, You climb a 5.7ish crack/chimney to a ledge, (the move off of the ledge can be protected with finger sized cams) then head right up a steeper section with a short crux that is protected by a single bolt. It's pretty fun.
By 1Eric Rhicard
May 9, 2007
Brighter Side of Darkness has been downgraded to 5.11+
By 1Eric Rhicard
Dec 3, 2007
Hey Adam, perhaps if you spent less time surfing Mtn. Project and did a little public service at the crag now and then we would all have some cleaner routes to climb. Seriously, how many routes have you done there and how many of them had "blocks" coming off? I put a lot of those climbs up and was there when Lien On Me was done. Meant to get back and clean it up but I was too busy putting up another thirty routes at a whole new area for guys like you to climb and gripe about. Granted we didn't have to put those Sun Spot climbs up. Yet even with sections of them that are not perfect at least there are 40 more routes that can be climbed on the coldest of sunny days. If you happen to find any great cliffs with bullet rock let me know. I would much rather climb them too. Unfortunately they are few and far between. In fact we are headed up on Thursday, Saturday or Sunday to do some new ones and you are more than welcome to come help. Email me if you would rather climb than surf. (I'm smiling)
By jbak
Dec 3, 2007
Good thing I didn't have any liquid in my mouth when I read this or my keyboard would be ruined.
By Christian
From: Casa do Cacete
Dec 15, 2007
Guess Eric hasn't learned the fine art of quoting a post to "preserve it for posterity", so to speak, hehe..Maybe Adam was having a bad day.

The only thing I would say is stay off the trad or mixed climbs within a few days of heavy rain or snow, other than that it's fine..

We climbed there today and had a blast. It was 37 degrees when I crawled into my truck at 8:45 this morning, but it was nice and cozy at the Sunspot by 10 AM.

Didn't follow my own advice and led the "Black Hole" and it was a little scary with the snow melt still coming down in a few places and the rock a little crustier than usual.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Dec 16, 2007
Christian, I will have to learn that art quoting for posterity. I hope Adam is laughing about it as much as I have. It was great ammunition for a few good lines. Any time I can make Jbak glad he didn't spew his drink I have done my job. Just for the record, Adam is right about many routes at the SunSpots being fuzzy, just not that it would be better to surf Mtn. Project than climb there. I have to admit that I climb around and avoid stuff just as a matter of course. If you climb long routes in the mountains or even in places like Eldorado Canyon you sometimes have to work your way around stuff or you kill your belayer. I tend to avoid the junk and really don't even think to myself that it is grungy. Yesterday I climbed at the aforementioned new area with "30 new routes". Will publish it soon. Three people fell when holds broke. I had to dodge rock a number of times as well as ice as it melted. Even so we all had a good time no one was injured or killed despite the whippers that resulted. Some of these new areas have some junk on them. If you find junk feel free to clean it especially if you think it could hurt someone severely. If you can't handle a little munge head for the crags that don't have any. Or as I said to Adam come on out and help. The bottom line is that some of the newer areas that get developed will take a lot of ascents to get totally clean.
By jbak
Dec 28, 2007
So if BSOD is now 11+, why not edit the route and change the rating there ?
By Jon Ruland
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 10, 2009
what's the short bolted route around the corner to the left of sunny side up? it felt really hard.
By randy baum
From: Minneapolis, MN
Jan 4, 2010
anyone scouted out the overhanging headwall between solar e-clips and the original route?

at over 100ft, a line that tops out on that thing would be the longest at all the sun spot crags, no?
By Jimbo
Jan 7, 2010
Eric and I top roped that face very early on. Pulled off holds on every move. The climbing was hard, very sharp and not much fun. So we binned it.
Feel free to clean and bolt that wall my friend. Just give yourself a lot of time.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 18, 2010
For those of you who use Google Earth, I've put together an approach map. You can download it from

The Business Time Wall is located right above Sunspots, so I've included the approach map for this area in the same directory.

By "Canada" Eric Ruljancich
Feb 21, 2010
Business Time Wall is just a few minutes away from the main crag
By davidbr
Mar 13, 2010
A bit to the left of Crack of Dawn there's a squeeze chimney. Robert McLeod and I climbed this recently. It's 5.7 and would take gear to six inches. To descend, it's an easy and protectable traverse to the chains to the right, though I hope to add chains at the chimney's top next time I'm in Arizona (likely next spring). We haven't been able to find any record or evidence of a prior ascent, and have taken to calling the route 'North America Free Trad Agreement'.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Mar 14, 2010
Hey Davidbr, thought I replied to Mcleod but maybe I forgot. Don't know of anyone who has done that chimney. So you get the FA. It always did look interesting. If we are up there with a drill we will add anchors for you if you want.
By Charles Vernon
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 6, 2011
I propose to rename this place the "Steeper Than They Look Crags."
By Lora Rivera
From: Tucson, Arizona
Nov 28, 2015
The once-friendly climber trail is near extinct this fall season. The trail is thoroughly grassed in. You can see the wall, of course, so it's not impossible. Put on your best route-finding hat and be glad the snakes are all sleepy in the cold!

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