Bug Spring has two walls, east and a west wall. The west wall has nine climbs, the east wall has six. Grades range 5.7 to 5.10. This area faces northwest and doesn't get sun till noon. A good place to climb in the spring, fall and winter when we have moderate temps and not too much wind. The rock is granite that is mostly solid with some small loose stuff here and there. Horizontal cracks offer lots of handholds and gear placements.
Park in the small parking spaces at the entrance of Prison Camp. Walk across the street through the gated dirt area that is used for road crew machinery parking. At the far east end drop into the wash. Follow this wash till it forks. Stay in the right drainage following cairns along the way going up two steep "dry waterfalls" with a lot of boulder hopping. Continue till you see the tallest most dominate 100 ft. tall cliff band on the right. Approach time 35 minutes.
Fun challenging crimpy face climbing with plenty of rests. Two cruxes: first one pulling through the second bolt (balancy and technichal), the other from the 4th to 5th bolt. There's a runout between bolts 3 & 4 on very easy ground and you clip the 4th bolt from a huge ledge (so it's pretty tame and you could get gear if you wanted it). Above this ledge, there are two distinct lines to climb, both about at the same grade: go left of the bolts into a short crack (a hand jam is helpful) and then...[more]Browse More Classics in AZ
Well, we finally made a trip up here last weekend. The area is a little farther up the drainage than the description suggests. The "tallest, most dominant [sic]" 100' wall is NOT where the climbs are, nor is it the best place to exit the drainage. Keep going past that until you come to a flat, essentially boulder-free (likely a consequence of silt infilling after the Aspen fire) area in the streambed past that. There is no mention of the 1-1/2" or 2" (approx) diameter metal pipes you walk under in the drainage shortly after taking the right-hand fork. There are two places you will encounter this. This confirms that you are indeed in the correct drainage. The GPS coordinates were very helpful.
The six routes we did (we started on the far end and worked our way back to climber's right) were all a least a number grade easier than the given ratings.That said, I thought it was a good area overall. It was nicely shaded until mid-afternoon. The rock is solid for the most part, and the routes were fun. Thanks to Andy for putting these up.
Yeah there's a cliff off to the right about 30 minutes in that's easy to mistake for this area..I made that mistake, but even subtracting the time spent on the detour, it was still about 45 minutes to get to this area. Fun climbs though. All I noticed about the ratings was that "It's About the Six" felt sandbagged to me (I'm 5'8")
Following the approach path shown on the Beta photo topo map above will probably save you a lot of time. I used this route recently and was much happier than going the standard up and down the drainage approach. I timed my trip out of there and it was 25 minutes max from the drainage below the walls to the highway. It was a much easier and enjoyable hike as well. Follow the Bug Springs trial just past the water tank and double pipes, head up the ridge (following game trails) to the right towards the boulder pile at the little peak. Stay on the ridge up over the first peak, through the saddle and up the ridge until you are about even with the drainage below the crags. At this point contour to the right following the game trails until you hit the beach area in the drainage below the West Wall.
The approach through the drainage is not that bad, slow going but it is only 1 mile long. The GPS coordinates helped because when you reach the "beach" (just a flat area after all the elevation gain) the West Wall has finally just come into view and you are just below it.
The directions for this approach and associated comments confused the hell out of us. All you really need to do is take the right fork in the drainage at the second set of metal pipes. Follow this drainage all the way to the crag. It will be obvious, up and to your right when the drainage levels out and becomes sandy.
Aside, the climbs here were average to good, IMO, with sun on the wall this time of year (march) beginning around 1:00 pm until sundown. If you're waiting till sundown to hike out, beware. It took us 1:20 to hike out in the darkness, albeit with an injured climber and a gimpy dog. Not bad, considering the approach took us 1:45 minutes because we followed the path to the left fork of the drainage and had to crest and descend the adjacent ridge line to get to the crag. Happy trails!
The hike out, timed, no stops, via drainage, at night with headlamps, hard march, was 58 minuets. I estimate that hike in (first time) via drainage took 1:10:00 with no stops. Beautiful secluded area. THANKS.