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West Elden

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West Elden Rock Climbing 

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Location: 35.2542, -111.6235 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 21,776
Administrators: Greg Opland, Luke Bertelsen, JJ Schlick, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Will Cobb on Apr 21, 2006
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Bouldering at West Elden in the old days: Jim Doni...


The West Elden climbing area is made up of a 80' tall Dacite cliff which hosts a large number of traditional routes. This climbing expanse houses excellent crack, slab and face climbs of all grades. West Elden has morning shade and afternoon sun. The crag also sits at about 7000' making it a great summertime get away. It is climbable in the fall and spring, but don't' count on it as weather in Flagstaff is difficult to predict.

Rock Climbing Photo: Flex on Left Deception. photo copyright Jeremiah W...
Flex on Left Deception. photo copyright Jeremiah Watt.

In his excellent and comprehensive book, A Cheap Way to Fly, Tim Toula breaks West Elden into Uptown, which is north of the fence, and Downtown, which is south of the fence. To aid in the use of his guide I have kept the same labels here.

Rock Climbing Photo: Paul Davidson on the FA of Retirement Crack in the...
Paul Davidson on the FA of Retirement Crack in the late 1970's, at West Elden.

Rock Climbing Photo: Hepcat cruises Bold is Love, a new route at West E...
Hepcat cruises Bold is Love, a new route at West Elden put up on the lead in April, 2008.

Getting There 

Drive north out of Flagstaff on Highway 180 for about three miles. After passing the Museum of Northern Arizona (which is on the left) look for a right hand turn on to Shultz Pass Road. Take this turn and drive about 1/4 mile to a fork in the road. The left fork continues on Shultz Pass Road while the right is Mount Elden Lookout Road. Take the right fork and drive about three and a half miles to the parking area. Approximately two miles of this drive is on pavement and one and a half miles on a well maintained dirt road. The parking for West Elden is in two pullouts on the right hand side of the road. There is a small kiosk at the first pullout.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.9 miles from here

47 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',20],['2 Stars',21],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in West Elden

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for West Elden:
Slab Problem   V4- 6B     Boulder, 13'   Uptown
The Impossible Problem   V4 6B     Boulder   Downtown
Five Easy Pieces   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Uptown
Baxter Crack   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, 60'   Uptown
Right Deception Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Uptown
Zit Slab   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Uptown
Cracktus   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 60'   Downtown
Verse in Ragtime   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Uptown
Doug Scott Route   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Downtown
The Prow   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Uptown
La Diosa    5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   Downtown
Middle Deception Crack   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Uptown
Watermelon   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Downtown
Kid Gloves    5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 80'   Downtown
The Point   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Downtown
Twilight Zone   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   Downtown
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in West Elden

Featured Route For West Elden
Rock Climbing Photo: Ed Webster pulling the final moves on the first fr...

Twilight Zone 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c PG13  Arizona : Northern Arizona : ... : Downtown
The Twilight Zone crack sits in a small alcove about 100 yards south of the barb wire fence. Climb a moderate slab with small gear to the back of the alcove. From here powerful face climbing leads to nice hand and fist jams up the steep crack. The moves out of the alcove are difficult to protect.This route stays dry in a light rain.Rappel from a tree or take the walk down 100' to the climber's right....[more]   Browse More Classics in Arizona

Photos of West Elden Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Hepcat cruises Bold is Love, a new route at West E...
Hepcat cruises Bold is Love, a new route at West E...

Comments on West Elden Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 21, 2017
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Dec 13, 2014
Sorted the routes this morning. How did I do? There are still a lot of obscure routes not listed here on MP.
By ericm
Jun 23, 2015
I think you did a good job JJ. I appreciate your hard work and dedication. as well I appreciate others who have taken the time to help make the area more pleasant because I think West Elden is a great area that needs a little TLC. It is great that there are more anchors, because the walk off is kind of nasty especially with the myriads of snags littering the top and general looseness of the rock at the top. As well I give a shout out to FOS for developing the area.

I am writing in today to describe a route that I recently resurrected. Back in 2000 I lead a route on lead with hooks and a hand drill on the arete left of the Grass Crack, which is left of Flameout and La Diosa. This route was chopped sometime after, apparently for ethical reasons. Originally I began low and somewhat left of the arete by soloing up the slab and traversing over right where I clipped a bolt and continued up past another bolt to a couple of gear placements, then to the top and a natural anchor and a walk off. Yesterday I replaced the bolts and put in an anchor. I top rope soloed the route and did some cleanup. Also I straighten out the line. I think this old route will clean up well and I am planning on more cleaning and also eliminating the gear placements in the near future.

I encourage climbers to go and set up a top rope and climb it and please do not chop or take the biners off the chains. This is a work in progress.

By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 26, 2015
Thanks Eric. You go to West Elden now a days, and it looks as if Mother Nature is trying to reclaim it. Hard for people to imagine that this was once, thee Mt. Elden Crag during the 1970's into the early 1980's. When these lines were first established, they were often times cutting edge for their place in time.

The place could use some love, as nowadays it serves as a great beginner to moderate crag, with easy access. I wouldn't argue against any anchors as along as they are good. Let the top of the cliff go wild! Aside from that, a little trimming, and giving the routes a good once over brushing would go a long way to enhancing the experience.

Way to stay busy Eric! Our crags need stewards of all types. Keep the old crags alive!
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 27, 2015
And while I appreciate people adding anchors, let's do it right.... 6-8" apart, and the same from the back of the cliff top if that's the best place for them, is it? Any chain less than 5/16" should be left as dog leashes. 3/8" chain is usually the standard.
By ericm
Jun 29, 2015
Thanks JJ-

Yeah I really like the climbing at West Elden. It is a great area, developed by great climbers so many years ago. I am still amazed by their skill and dedication. I feel that I advanced my skills there years ago. Presently, it is hard to see the state of the area and I want to do my best do be a good steward of the area. Of course these days I don't have as much time, but I do have more money and I don't mind investing some of money in keeping the area great.

Also, thanks for keeping me educated on the current anchor standards. Admittedly, I am slightly "out of the loop" and will make sure that I keep the standards up.

By JacobD
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 6, 2015
I'd be excited to help organize an Access Fund sponsored adopt a crag event for west elden. Let me know if there would be interest.
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jul 6, 2015
Hey Jacob, sorry I wasn't more talkative on Friday. I was so focused on getting my grease on;) I think of all the crags in Flag were people actually climb, West Elden would benefit greatly from a good solid Crag Day. Trail maintenance, route maintenance, etc.... I would be up for anchor placing, especially if the hardware was stainless and supplied by somebody, but I'd be happy the set them.

Let's just not turn it into a party!! Maybe an after TR party. There's a lot of work to be done to bring this crag into the condition it deserves, as a corner stone of Flagstaff climbing history. Let's show it some love.

PM me Jacob if you need a hand. I think it's a worthy project to bring some of the forgotten classic back to life. There are a lot of moderate routes there, they are just filthy....
By ericm
Jul 7, 2015
I would like to be a part of this effort as well. Please keep me posted. Thanks!
By Clay Mansfield
Jul 9, 2015
I am willing to offer time and labor. West elden is a hop, skip, and a jump from my front door
By J. Snyder
From: Flagstaff, Arizona
Jul 22, 2015
I remember rapping down that last summer and noticing the chopped holes, I was super psyched to notice today they have come back! I noticed some gear near the top also? Any other spray to get me wet?

Since I spend a lot of time out there working, Id be psyched to give some input when the time comes. I know in the past the FS has worked directly with us on maintenance at the crag. The death trees that were cut up there were done by the FS and I am sure they would be down for more work anytime.
By ericm
Jul 24, 2015
Yeah J-

The route follows the 2 bolts and then straight up past the gear to the top. It was a walk off then, but I always thought it should have an anchor because the walk off is lame. There is a large loose block that you have to climb around. It always scared me. I drilled an anchor recently and replaced the bolts. I now feel the route should follow the arete more closely and I want to retro bolt the arete, which I think will make for a better line. As well I want to re engineer the start and make the whole line more direct. In all not a bad route that I rated 5.8 years ago. I called it My Opinion-

I encourage you to go and TR/lead and clean it up a bit- She needs some love for sure and let me know what you think. I hope to get back up there asap- So far all my efforts recently have been thwarted due to rains. good luck and c u climbing-

By Charlie Honsinger
Aug 4, 2016
Just spent a day at West Elden with my sons on a hot day in Flag. First day there in 32 years. Loved the place then, still love it now. Many, many great memories. Very surprised to see how overgrown it is, and how moss and lichen are starting to reclaim some of the great bouldering. Guess there are new areas around Flag where the climbing is just as good or better . . . .
By Andrew Ryder
From: Flagstaff
Jul 1, 2017
if anyone should find a white Hydroflask with "friends of the dunes" and "hemp history week" stickers, hit me up... I do miss it so.
By David Accomazzo
Jul 21, 2017
I left a green chalk bag (Sortbaggers brand) near downtown area on fourth of July. If anyone finds it i would be happy reward you.

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