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The Peaks Crag

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The Peaks Crag Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 8,000'
Location: 35.30692, -111.70527 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 49,613
Administrators: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on May 24, 2015
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Up on top of the crag.

Forest Service Parking Requests MORE INFO >>>


Please take the time to read, and understand the Forest Service parking requests alongside Road 522. Continued access requires responsible parking.

The Peaks Crag, or formally,The Southwest Shoulder, is a 90' tall row of weathered dacite tucked up in a shallow canyon amongst the giant aspens, and fat ponderosas on the southern flanks of The San Francisco Peaks. Folks have been climbing here since at least the late seventies, and definitely since the early eighties. It is obscurely listed in Tim Toula's "A Cheap Way To Fly".

The Peaks Crag remains one of only three small route climbing areas in the whole of the San Francisco Peaks area. Sad but true, and it's this fact, coupled with the crags seasonally easy access off the heals of Snow Bowl Rd and Forest Rd 522 that have lead to it becoming more popular in the last decade as more and more ascents have lead to cleaner routes, and a better over all climbing experience.

This small crag has very engaging traditional gear routes interspersed with thoughtful sport lines. There are very few routes here under 5.9. However, you will find very entertaining routes up to 5.14-, and at least several good lines in each grade from 5.10 up. Though there aren't of ton of great lines, there are classics to be had. Locals love it, while most visitors I run into find it sharp, and just above average, but that's usually how it goes.

This wall faces southeast, and gets great morning sun, before going into full shade in the early afternoon. This arrangement makes for perfect temp chasing on projects throughout the season. Whether you are escaping the summer heat, or reveling in the mix of crisp temps and dazzling fall colors, this aesthetic wall is sure to please. It has become over the decades a cherished local crag to the Flagstaff climbing community, and a very special way for us to interact with Peaks!

If you are new to the crag, please do not run off with the anchor biners. Many of the anchors there are specifically set up for biners. If one is worn past your comfort level, simply substitute one of your freshies and call the 7$ a little bit of climber Karma.

Rock Climbing Photo: Danny stepping on the dragon's tail.
Danny stepping on the dragon's tail.

***PARKING- The Forest Service has made it very clear that the most important issue regarding access to this area is proper parking off of FR 522. Their concern, and rightly so, is that they will not be able to move heavy road machinery in and out of this road IN CASE OF FOREST FIRE, or possible rescue operations deeper in the mountain because climbers have carelessly parked and blocked portions of the road. THEY DON'T EVEN WANT TO HAVE TO THINK ABOUT CARS BLOCKING THE ROAD, let alone deal with the scenario. They have the authority to eliminate that parking area, so if you appreciate this crag please park responsibly.

-Carpool!!!! There are areas off of Fort Vally Rd., just before Snowbowl Rd. where you can park, meet friends, and cram into a single vehicle for the short distance to the crag. Please!

-Please conserve space at the small parking area at the trailhead. Squeeze them in! If this area is full, continue east for 300' on FR 522 to another parking area on the south side of the road. There is a fire pit here sometimes, but it is not a designated campsite, and parking is allowed.

-Do not park in designated, and numbered campsites unless you are actually camping there. These are free sites, first come first serve, and they are not meant for daily parking. The Forest Service does patrol these sites, and it is a grievance of their's that climbers are parking in them. It's also just rude.

-Make sure your vehicle is parked at least 8' off of the road. Parking parallel to, but just off the road is unacceptable in eyes of the Forest Service. In fact, it's best to not consider this an option at all.

-If the lot is full, chances are the crag is ridiculously packed. Consider other options such as bouldering at Viet Springs or Freidlein Prairie, (Viet Springs is right up Snowbowl Rd., while Freidlien Prairie is down FR 522 a few miles, and is actually quite a cool area). You can also take the north route around the Peaks and find yourself at The Hobo Jungle after a scenic little drive. Or just head back down Fort Vally Rd. to West Elden or Oaklands.

-Dogs.... Of course a sensitive issue, however, this is a small wall, and if it's crowded, there seems to be an inevitable dog fight, as the trail along the base of the wall doubles as staging and belays spots.... Interaction is unavoidable. If you have an aggressive dog, this is not the place for them. In fact, maybe give fido the day off all together. As we all know, having dogfights at the crag seems to cast a shadow upon the day.

-And while this area feels secluded, the Kachina Trail is not that far up the mountain, and it's easy to hear climbers yelling from there. The Viet Springs Trails are just a half mile or less over the top of the cliff, and are very popular with tourists looking for short peaceful day hikes. The Peaks are truly special, and as climbers, the Peaks Crag is the cherry on top. A little respect for the crag, and consideration for other user groups in the area will go a long way in preserving this amazing place for generations to come. Scream if you must, but keep it down if you can.

Rock Climbing Photo: Corey Ellison onsighting his way through the bulgy...
Corey Ellison onsighting his way through the bulgy crux of The Hall Of Mirrors 5.10, The Grotto, Southern Walls.

Getting There 

Drive west out of Flagstaff on Fort Vally Road/ Hwy 180, passing the Museum Of Northern Arizona. Turn right onto Snow Bowl RD and proceed upward for several miles.

Eventually, after some switch backing, you will encounter FR 522 on the right (east) side of the road. It is quite conspicuous with a steel gate not more than 50' off the road. It should be well marked. Drive up a rocky hill for a 1/8 mile to a small parking area at the top of a rise on the north side of FR 522. It also serves as a trail head.

Hike 1/4 mile up obvious old trail heading north from the parking area. After several minutes, at a large bend, keep your eyes peeled while looking for a climber's trail that breaks off right by a fallen tree over the main trail. If you hike past an old scrap of a rusty car off the main trail in, you've gone too far.

Once you are on the climber's trail, you can shut down your radar, as you follow this trail for 30 minutes through splendid scenery, cascades of lichen covered boulders, and a steady, gentle uphill grade. The trail leads you straight to the Main Wall.

Rock Climbing Photo: Peaks Crag Aerial Overview/Approach. Not to scale.
Peaks Crag Aerial Overview/Approach.
Not to scale.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.2 miles from here

69 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',8],['3 Stars',35],['2 Stars',23],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in The Peaks Crag

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Peaks Crag:
Latebloomer   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   South End
Clean Slate   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Middle Area
Field Holler   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 70'   North End
New River   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   North End
Off The Couch   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Middle Area
Giggle Drops   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   South End
Hobo Joe   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   North End
Lion's Bait   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   North End
Prosthesis   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 70'   Middle Area
16 Weeks   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Middle Area
Flowrider   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   South End
Be Yourself   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   North End
Be the Burn   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   South End
Chasing Dragons    5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   North End
Above The Storm   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   North End
Metro Line   5.12a/b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   North End
Burning Point   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   South End
Up In Smoke   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 90'   South End
Black Swan   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Middle Area
Control Burn   5.13+ 8b 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 80'   South End
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Peaks Crag

Featured Route For The Peaks Crag
Rock Climbing Photo: Danny stepping on the dragon's tail.

Chasing Dragons 5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  Arizona : Northern Arizona : ... : North End
Aside from the gritty opium based history, one of the more metaphoric and common uses of the phrase "chase the dragon" eludes to the pursuit of an ever elusive, ultimate high.Shares start with Metro Line. Climb juggy, pocketed rock past three bolts, then start moving left to a good shake, at the base of the steep arête. A few big pulls between perfect jugs sets you up for a series of boulder problems that incorporates both sides of the arête, and seem to get harder as you climb. The ...[more]   Browse More Classics in Arizona

Photos of The Peaks Crag Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: .
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the top of the crag.
View from the top of the crag.
Rock Climbing Photo: Danny Schwarz finding it irresistible to scoot up ...
Danny Schwarz finding it irresistible to scoot up ...
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the top of the cliff.
View from the top of the cliff.
Rock Climbing Photo: .
Rock Climbing Photo: .
Rock Climbing Photo: .

Comments on The Peaks Crag Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jun 17, 2017
By J. Snyder
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
May 26, 2015
To even better add to the mysterium of Peaks climbing and "A Cheap Way to Die", Toula recently made his first visit to The Peaks Area and had no idea that it even existed or not... Does this mean there still is a super crag mirage somewhere out there!?
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 26, 2015
It probably doesn't look the same as it used to, if he ever saw it. He used references quite a bit. It might have been the Coats that told him about it?
By J. Snyder
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
May 26, 2015
He seemed to not remember if he had been told about it or maybe that he had made it up... Classic

Either way he had a good time up there...
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 26, 2015
Like "The Mystique of O' Leary Peak"?
By Kevin Kent
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 29, 2015
JJ what are you talking about? O'Leary Peak has great climbing. You must not have looked hard enough...
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
May 29, 2015
I've seen what you consider good climbing Kevin... don't worry about me;)
By Marlene Machemy
From: Squamish
May 12, 2016
Anybody missing some shoes? Found a pair at the Peaks today.
By K-Tanz
From: Phoenix, AZ
May 17, 2016
Hey those are my shoes! I PM'd you. Thanks!
By Trevor Bowman
From: Sheridan, WY
Jun 7, 2016
Came down with a pair of TC Pros someone left behind Sunday. Let me know if they're yours.
By Jenny.cummiskey
Jul 12, 2016
I left my blue turantulace shoes somewhere in the middle section!! If anyone sees them please let me know. :(
By Teancum Bryant 1
Aug 7, 2016
If anybody picked up a 64oz black hydroflask around clean slate let me know please
By Jenn Blazer
Aug 15, 2016
I lost a grey mesh harness bag containing an atc, lockers, and some other gear a few weeks back. I think I left it here. If anyone found this bag, please let me know!
By Andrew Platt
Nov 20, 2016
If anybody finds some keys at the south end near dacite delight please let me know!
By jzuba
May 29, 2017
Found a black jacket left near Dacite Delight on Monday May 29. Identify it and I'll arrange to get it back to you.
By Nick
From: Flagstaff
Jun 17, 2017
Found helmet near Off The Couch/Middle Area on June 16th, 2017. PM me with details.

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