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Northern Arizona

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*Bouldering Northern Arizona 
*Flagstaff Crags 
*Oak Creek Canyon 
*Sedona Area 
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*Winslow Areas 
Arizona Strip, The 
Grand Canyon National Park 
Kingman Areas 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Chuckwagon - Mescal - Long Canyon
The best introduction to the red rocks and magnificent views of Sedona. Near West Sedona, Arizona
Fat Tire Loop
A great link-up of several trails in the area. Near West Sedona, Arizona
Excellent, scenic, rideable slickrock singletrack. Near West Sedona, Arizona
West Sedona Tour
Sample eight west Sedona trails with this loop. Near West Sedona, Arizona
Awesome introduction to Sedona; great on its own or as part of a bigger ride in the Dry Creek area. Near West Sedona, Arizona
Girdner Trail
A varied trail making lots of connections in the Dry Creek area Near West Sedona, Arizona
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Northern Arizona Rock Climbing 

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Location: 35.1828, -111.6541 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 3,738,706
Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on Jan 23, 2012
This Afternoon

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You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [11 people like this page.]
Towers-Monument Valley. Photo by Blitzo.


Northern Arizona (NAZ) is a vast and varied landscape of rolling ponderosa forests, high elevation plains, and sculpted sandstone deserts. Home to the Grand Canyon, the Painted Desert, the Mogollon Rim, the San Francisco Peaks, and some of the best whitewater on the Colorado River, NAZ is quite literally a sacred land to the Navajo and Hopi, as well as many a rock climber....

Climbing in NAZ really began in the late 1950's with the first ascent of the Mace in Sedona, done by visiting climbers, Bob Kamps, TM Herbert, and Dave Rearick. In the years to follow many of the major formations and summits throughout NAZ would be pioneered, and an age of vast exploration was on.

As Tim Toula writes in his classic guide, A Cheap Way To Fly, "I entered thru the historical gate of the Flagstaff climbing scene in the fall of 1978 when climbing still was much more of an underground sport than it is today. There was a mystique about climbing then that was hard to grasp. Perhaps it was because there were so few climbers then. Names like Baxter, Coats, Davidson, and later, Murray, Gault, and Mattson floated thru the air like phantoms. Their names heard often, but their talents seldom seen". Check this book out for a more comprehensive slice of the early history of NAZ climbing. At twenty some years old, this is still one of few sources for NAZ.

Rock Climbing Photo: Steve Grossman (during his Royal Robbins phase) tu...
Steve Grossman (during his Royal Robbins phase) turns the Tralfamadore Roof on the second ascent in 1976. Paul Davidson belays. Volunteer Canyon, AZ

Now a days that list of names has grown tremendously as a constant stream of talent pours out of Flagstaff, which is the heart of the NAZ climbing scene. The age of exploration that began in the late 50's has not only continued to this day, but has blossomed into a collective energy that really defines the community here. There is always something new to check out.

Take a look at Joel Unema's, Grass Routes Climbing, for stories and photos about local areas, and interviews with local route developers. It's a cool project and will hopefully turn into a means to record and revel in the colorful history of Northern Arizona rock climbing.

NAZ has long been held as a bastion of traditional climbing, and for good reason. With crags like *Paradise Forks, The Overlook, *Volunteer Canyon, and *The Waterfall, NAZ is a trad climber's dream. Add to that the back country adventures of the Grand Canyon National Park, Hualapai Wall, and *Sedona Area, you might just find yourself slipping into a heart pounding state of trad daddy nirvana.

Rock Climbing Photo: Joel Unema on the FA of Gemini Dragonfire 5.13+, i...
Joel Unema on the FA of Gemini Dragonfire 5.13+, in The Main Amphitqheater.
Blake McCord Photography

If you are looking for sport routes you won't have to look too hard with the likes of the Winslow Wall, and *Jacks Canyon to the East, Mt. Elden, *Oak Creek Canyon, and The Pit right around Flag, and of course, the Virgin River Gorge and the The Arizona Strip up North. Sport climbing is alive and well throughout NAZ. Whether you are looking for steep pockets, or off vertical crimps, the list of fine crags and excellent routes is sure to keep you happily swinging through the air, one way or another....

Rock Climbing Photo: Local sport developing fiend, Matt Greco, unlockin...
Local sport developing fiend, Matt Greco, unlocking Uncle Kentucky 5.13-, James Canyon, AZ

And then there is the bouldering.... Flagstaff is world renown for it's pocketed limestone roofs at areas like Priest Draw, but these roofs are tucked away in folds all over NAZ. And though the double digit lines keep adding up at places like the Hinterlands and Cherry Canyon, even the beginning boulderer is going to find a slew of premiere challenges at crags like Buffalo Park, Lake Mary Areas, and Turkey Tanks. From the Fontainebleau like slopers of Kelly Canyon, to the sharp dacite crimps of Gloria's, Northern Arizona is a boulderer's paradise.

Rock Climbing Photo: Andrew Ryder wasting no time on Human Wasteland V6...
Andrew Ryder wasting no time on Human Wasteland V6+, at the confluence of Kelly Canyon and Pump House Wash.

NAZ has some of the most pristine and unpolluted crags of anywhere I have been in the US. Please help us keep them that way.

We tend to take care of our crags, and most of the routes listed here have adequate to excellent anchors or other fixed hardware, if they have any at all. However, one may encounter a few old, rotting pins in places like Sedona and in the Grand Canyon.

Many of the anchor systems on single pitch routes throughout NAZ employ the "fixed carabiner" style anchor which is specifically set up for easy, safe lowering. If one of the two carabiners is worn past the point of common sense, please leave one of yours in place and take the old one home with you. They make great conversation pieces....

And while a lot of the routes listed here are well traveled, it can be said that NAZ is full of adventurous climbing. Always check your holds if they appear suspect at all.

Rock Climbing Photo: Leah Sandvoss on Moonjuice (5.11c), Upper Beach, C...
Leah Sandvoss on Moonjuice (5.11c), Upper Beach, Church Spires, Sedona, AZ
Photo by Andre Kiryanov

Flagstaff, AZ is a fairly small college town and liberal capitol of Arizona, though it also has an undeniable blue collar cowboy flair. Sitting at 7000' it is tucked in between the Mogollon Rim to the south, and the San Francisco Peaks just north of town. Flagstaff is draped over historic Route 66, and has everything a visiting climber may need, including buffets and chain healthfood stores. Cheap motels, and plenty of public land for free camping. Groovy coffee houses, and late night entertainment downtown.

Rest days can be filled with excellent hiking and peak bagging, miles and miles of world class mountain biking, or deep and narrow Canyoneering adventures. Or just take it easy and wander about the historic downtown which is filled with gear shops, art galleries, brewpubs, and a few good restaurants.

Rock Climbing Photo: Powerhouse Keith Beckley warming up the guns on Be...
Powerhouse Keith Beckley warming up the guns on Be The Burn 5.11+, The South End.
Wade Forrest Photo

Local Stone

Here's a short list of local rock types and corresponding crags or areas which are either right around town or within an hour and half drive from Flagstaff.

The Waterfall- trad
Paradise Forks- trad
The Overlook-trad
Volunteer Canyon- trad

The Grand Canyon- trad
Winslow Wall- sport/ trad
Sedona- sport/ trad
The Doctor's Office- sport/ trad
Pump House Wash- sport/ trad
Kelly Canyon- bouldering

The Pit- sport
Priest Draw- bouldering
Lake Mary- bouldering
Cherry Canyon- bouldering
Jacks Canyon- sport

Mt Elden- sport/ trad
The Hobo Jungle- sport/ trad
The Peaks Crag- sport/ trad
Bill Williams Mt- sport/ trad

Rock Climbing Photo: Jeff Snyder and Big Balls in Cowtown 5.12-R, Parad...
Jeff Snyder and Big Balls in Cowtown 5.12-R, Paradise Forks, Sycamore Canyon.

Local Photos

The ever changing and often daunting landscapes of NAZ are a true sight to behold and climb in. The often expansive or tight horizons makes it difficult to capture with a lens. However, these brave local photographers and videographers have been capturing the essence of these wild and untamable lands for years or even decades. If you enjoy excellent photos, climbing and so much more, then you may want to do some clicking here.

John Burcham

James Q Martin

Tamara Hastie

Blake McCord

Rock Climbing Photo: Wade Forrest deep into the mysterious Mulva 5.11, ...
Wade Forrest deep into the mysterious Mulva 5.11, Winslow Wall.

Dan Schwarz photo

Drive Times

Approximate drive times from Flagstaff to...

Cochise Stronghold- 6.5 hours
Mt. Lemon- 6 hours
Hueco Tanks- 10 hours
Indian Creek- 5.5 hours
Yosemite Valley- 10 hours
The Needles (CA)- 10 hours
Joshua Tree- 5 hours
Red Rocks- 5 hours


Flagstaff Climbing Center
205 S. San Francisco St. Flagstaff, AZ 86001

Flagstaff Climbing Center (climbing gym, retail shop and guide service) is located in historic downtown Flagstaff. The center features over 7000 square feet of widely varied climbing terrain to suit all abilities and climbing styles including 40’ tall top rope and lead walls and bouldering area. Flagstaff Climbing is here today because of its commitment to support the climbing community though quality training facilities, expert instruction, informative equipment sales and a friendly atmosphere for all climbers.

Main Street Boulders
1519 N. Main St. Ste 107, Flagstaff, AZ 86004

Main Street Boulders (owned and operated by Flagstaff Climbing Center) is located on Main Street in Flagstaff. The bouldering gym features over 2000 square feet of widely varied state-of-the-art bouldering terrain, built by Vertical Solutions, to suit all abilities and climbing styles and a first-class training area to build strong climbers. Main Street Boulders is here today because of Flagstaff Climbing Centers commitment to support the climbing community though quality training facilities, expert instruction and a friendly staff.

Beta Bouldering Gym
495 s. River Run Rd. Suite 104, Flagstaff AZ 86001

Beta Bouldering Gym, Northern Arizona’s largest bouldering gym, is located just a few blocks from downtown Flagstaff and Northern Arizona University. Beta is a 6,000 square foot bouldering facility built by the local climbing community in 2012 to house the growing demand for a place to train, get strong and socialize. With climbing terrain carefully built for all abilities and two separate workout areas, Beta strives to provide the best indoor bouldering experience in Arizona.

Gear- Flagstaff Sports Exchange is another local, climber owned shop in town. Babbits Backcountry Outfitters is right downtown, and covers the basics as far as climbing gear. Aspen Sports is right downtown, and covers the basics as far as climbing gear. Peace Surplus is also right downtown, and covers the basics as far as climbing gear.

Getting There 

Flagstaff sits at the junction of Interstate 40 and Interstate 17 in north central Arizona.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.5 miles from here

2,060 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',248],['3 Stars',965],['2 Stars',627],['1 Star',192],['Bomb',8]

Classic Climbing Routes in Northern Arizona

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Northern Arizona:
Dr. Rubo's Wild Ride   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 300'   Coffeepot Rock Area : Summit Block Rock
Mayflower   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   *Paradise Forks : The Prow
Sedona's Scenic Cruise    5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 700'   Sedona : Gibraltar Rock
Mars Attacks   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 350'   Dry Creek Road Area : The Fin
Original Route   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Trad, 5 pitches, 400'   Cathedral Rock Area : The Mace
Man On the Moon   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 4 pitches, 350'   Higher Solitude Canyon : Main Wall
Mr. Slate   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Pit : Swiss Tower
The Windows Route   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 220'   Steamboat Rock/Midgley Brid... : Super Crack Tower
Black and Tan   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   *The Waterfall : *The Main Amphitheater
Touched By An Angel   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 5 pitches, 650'   Sedona : Mormon Canyon
Coyote Tower   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 6 pitches, 400'   Bell Rock / Courthouse Butt... : Courthouse Butte
The Great Dihedral    5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b A0     Trad, Aid, 10 pitches, 900'   West Sedona : The Great Wall
Sindarete   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 125'   South Side : Memorial Wall
The Prow   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch   *Paradise Forks : The Prow
Heart and Soul   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   *Oak Creek Canyon : Sterling Pass
Be the Burn   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   The Peaks Crag : South End
Chasing Dragons    5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 69'   The Peaks Crag : *North End
Vesper   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 2 pitches, 160'   The Arizona Strip : Lime Kiln
Shangri-La   5.12+ 7c 28 IX 27 E6 6b     Trad, 5 pitches, 350'   Sedona : Lost Canyon
Where the Wild Things Are   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   *Oak Creek Canyon : West Fork
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Northern Arizona

Featured Route For Northern Arizona
Rock Climbing Photo: HMo on the belay

Mayflower 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a  AZ : *Paradise Forks : The Prow
Mayflower is located on the right side of the Prow area, in the second to the last big right-facing corner (left of Fool's Game). I think this is the best 5.9 route at The Forks! First climb a short pillar with a finger crack in it (shared with Fool's Game) to gain a big shelf. Move left, place some gear, and make a big stretch across to an arete on the left. Climb the blocky holds on the arete (don't fall!) to gain the big right-facing corner above. Beautiful hand-sized jamming above takes you ...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of Northern Arizona Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: fulgham on jolly roger at the forks
fulgham on jolly roger at the forks
Rock Climbing Photo: Zoroaster Temple, GCNP.
Zoroaster Temple, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Vishnu Temple, GCNP.
Vishnu Temple, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Navajo Point, GCNP.
Navajo Point, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Hartman Natural Bridge, Lava Creek, N.Rim, GCNP.
Hartman Natural Bridge, Lava Creek, N.Rim, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: SB Point, N.Rim, GCNP.
SB Point, N.Rim, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Angels' Gate from trail.  photo by Bob Kerry  11/0...
Angels' Gate from trail. photo by Bob Kerry 11/0...
Rock Climbing Photo:
Rock Climbing Photo: queenfolia at the forks
queenfolia at the forks
Rock Climbing Photo: Petrified Forest NP, Arizona
Petrified Forest NP, Arizona
Rock Climbing Photo: Gunther Castle, GCNP.
Gunther Castle, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: Tritle Peak, N.Rim, GCNP.
Tritle Peak, N.Rim, GCNP.
Rock Climbing Photo: The Dome, GCNP.
The Dome, GCNP.

Comments on Northern Arizona Add Comment
Show which comments
By Mike Dechter
Jan 6, 2014
I thought several of you may find this handy...

The Coconino National Forest has FREE color maps you can navigate with on your smartphone or tablet mobile device. Here are a couple links to a 1-pg giude to show you how to do it. - for Apple Smartphones/Tablets - for Android Smartphones/Tablets

The instructions has you download the Avenza PDF Maps app and then the north half and south half of the Coconino National Forest. It is all free. The Coconino National Forest made this tool available to encourage people stay on the designated roads system for motor vehicle use.

The Avenza PDF maps app can be used to track GPS routes and mark waypoints. You can also download and use free USGS 7.5" quad maps with the app as well.

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