|Five Mile Wall
|Subject to the Bighorn Sheep restriction from January 30-April 1, according to Backcountry Rock Climbing in Southern Arizona|
Five Mile Wall faces west and is visible from Oro Valley, but not from anywhere on the Mt. Lemmon Highway. It's hard to say what area this rock belongs in. It's in the Backcountry guide rather than Squeezing the Lemmon, and requires a relatively long hike. However, access is from the Mt. Lemmon Highway, so it seems to make sense in that sub-section.
Five Mile Wall is so named because it is located approximately 5 miles from the summit of Mt. Lemmon. It offers high quality granite crack routes 2-4 pitches in length on good rock, in a spectacular location. You are unlikely to see other climbers due to the long hike. It's a good place to climb in summer as it's at a reasonably high elevation and faces primarily west. Great campsites are available near and directly on top of the cliff, although the nearest water is a least a half mile back in the Wilderness of Rocks, and possibly further depending on the season. Classics, according to the Backcountry Guide, include "Town Without Pity"*** and "Motor City."** Those are the only two routes I've done as of this writing, but there are several other very intriguing looking lines listed in the Backcountry guide.
Due to the long hike, for a "cragging" area, I don't ever see this area becoming crowded, but I'm posting it here to encourage climbers to visit, as there's some excellent climbing in a beautiful location.
The shortest approach starts at the summit crags parking at the top of Mt. Lemmon. (The Backcountry Guide describes this approach, although it's mildly confusing as it refers to the "Romero Pass" trail). Follow the Mt. Lemmon trail, which starts out as a dirt road, past Rappel Rock, the Ravens, and the Fortress, until the road ends at a junction with the Sutherland trail. Bear left here, and continue to a junction with the Wilderness of Rocks trail. Go right here (continuing on the Mt. Lemmon trail), and after 1/4 mile of uphill hiking, the trail takes a sharp left (south). The wall is not visible, as it will be below you, to your right, and facing away from the trail (west--overlooking Romero Canyon and Oro Valley). At this point one can leave the trail immediately if heading for the Motor City area, or continue another few hundred feet until the trail starts switchbacking downhill and crosses the top of the gully which is used to access "Town Without Pity" and most of the other climbs. Having now descended both gullies, the south gully seems to be the more pleasant of the two.
The hike to the top of the cliff (on the trail) took us about 1.5 hours (almost all downhill), and it takes another 15-30 minutes to descend the gullies to the base. You'll earn your beer on the 5 mile hike out with 2000+ feet of elevation gain at the end of the day.
It's also possible to approach the wall via the Wilderness of Rocks trail, which I think is a mile or so longer but has significantly less elevation change. One can also use the Mt. Lemmon look-out trail to the Wilderness of Rocks trail, which is about the same length as using the Mt. Lemmon trail the whole way. I don't recommend hiking out up the Mt. Lemmon look-out trail!
Finally, it would certainly be possible, though much longer, to approach from Catalina State Park. Although at least it would be downhill on the way out.
2 Total Routes
['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',1],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]
Featured Route For Five Mile Wall
Motor City 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c AZ
: Mount Lemmon (Santa Catalin...
: ... : Five Mile Wall
The second pitch of this route is dirty from neglect, but is otherwise a real gem--one of the best crack pitches on the mountain.Kerry's description of this route confused us a little, mainly because he references a "direct start" that supposedly goes at 5.9, but he never describes the regular start. We did a direct start that seemed to match his description, except we didn't find 5.9 climbing. At any rate, the crack system is fairly ob...[more] Browse More Classics in AZ
Latest Regional Forum Messages
Aug 14, 2013
Camping on top is awesome. Views and sunsets... awesome. I remember the 2 routes you listed as 5.9 and 5.10+... but it's been 30 years !
|By Charles Vernon|
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 15, 2013
Must be that grade deflation everyone's always complaining about :)
Seriously, I wouldn't argue with 9 & 10+. Damn hard moves off the belay on Town Without Pity.
You do any of the other routes out there Jbak? Any recommendations? After seeing the campsites and the view I want to go back just so I can camp out!
Aug 16, 2013
I don't remember much except that Stoned Man's Dream was kind of a cool adventure, give that a try. My log notes say "good route for an 8, stiff". Original Sin I wrote "strange route, 3 pitches, good in places." Also did Comfortably Numb and Carrion Crack, but made no comments. There are a lot of variations, and there wasn't much of a guide when we went, so YMMV as to ratings and quality.
|By Steve Pulver|
From: Tucson, AZ
Aug 16, 2013
I tried to find this area once, and gave up. These directions look better than what I remember so I'll probably try searching for this place again.
Apr 21, 2014
I don't understand why Five Mile Wall is under "Upper Highway". It is approached as though it were one of the Summit Crags, so that would be a more logical home for it.