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Queen Creek Canyon

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Queen Creek Canyon  


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Elevation: 3,500'
Location: 33.30561, -111.07634 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 450,422
Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Orphaned on Jan 20, 2006
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Mike K on the warm up wall in Superior. Picket Po...

Description 

Queen Creek and its many volcanic towers is the home of central Arizona sport climbing and bouldering. The rock is volcanic tuff and the routes go from deep-pocket pulling down to tiny-edge crimping, depending on the area. Many of the routes here were established between the early '90s and present day.

Getting There 

Queen Creek Canyon is found above the small town of Superior, AZ, about an hour's drive (depending where you start) east of the metro Phoenix area. Drive through Superior headed east, go up the hill and the various areas will be found after you get through the big tunnel.

Climbing Season



Weather station 0.6 miles from here

577 Total Routes

['4 Stars',24],['3 Stars',202],['2 Stars',240],['1 Star',84],['Bomb',9]
['<=5.6',44],['5.7',61],['5.8',72],['5.9',86],['5.10',170],['5.11',76],['5.12',24],['5.13',2],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',10],['V4-5',13],['V6-7',9],['V8-9',7],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',3],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Queen Creek Canyon:
Alien Autopsy   V3 6A     Boulder, 12'   Oak Flats : Vector Arena
The Rail   V6 7A     Boulder, 10'   Oak Flats : Road Area
El Throatchoker Grande   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 160'   Lower Devil's East (LDE) : The Lunchbox
Accelerated Climbology   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 165'   Lower Devil's East (LDE) : Climbology Area
Giggling Marlin   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport   Atlantis
Neptune   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 85'   Atlantis
Pocket Puzzle   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport   The Pond
Illegal Dihedral   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Northern Devils Canyon : Stormwatch Wall
Arete Horizon   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 75'   The Pond
The Shmotem Pole   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 3 pitches, 250'   Lower Devil's East (LDE) : The Shmotem Pole
Totem Pole Direct   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Lower Devil's Canyon : Totem-Proto Area
Pathological Optimist   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Lower Devil's Canyon : Totem-Proto Area
Centipede Corner   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 110'   Lower Devil's East (LDE) : The Lunchbox
In Seam   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   The Pond
Octabulgey   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 110'   The Torch : The Bulges
The Totem Pole   5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   Lower Devil's Canyon : Totem-Proto Area
High Man on the Shmotem Pole   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 150'   Lower Devil's East (LDE) : The Shmotem Pole
The Soft Parade   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   The Pond
Gabriel's Watch   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 135'   Godhead South : The Face of God
Desert Devil   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport   The Pond
Browse More Classics in Queen Creek Canyon

Featured Route For Queen Creek Canyon
Geir through the hard stuff. Jim belays and DAS observes.

Double Fault 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b  AZ : Central Arizona : ... : The Towers
Right tower, delicate face climbing requiring a tricky sequence to get through the sustained lower crux. Difficult on-sight, rewarded by superb rock quality and one of the most fun sequences in LD. Took us a while to figure this out, but the rewards are high indeed! Clearing the upper bulges means taking any rest you can find. Runout between the upper bolts. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Local Information for Queen Creek Canyon
Photos of Queen Creek Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
can't remember the route name.
can't remember the route name.
My son Brig going for it in Oak Flat
My son Brig going for it in Oak Flat
Ray Mine (ASARCO) is about 8 miles of SE of Oak Flat.
Ray Mine (ASARCO) is about 8 miles of SE of Oak Fl...
"We come in peace for all mankind." <br /> <br />Exploratory drilling for copper in Queen Creek.
"We come in peace for all mankind." Exp...
as written
as written
Jason Sandbag and Meep Meep Jaybro at Oak Flat
Jason Sandbag and Meep Meep Jaybro at Oak Flat
dishpan hands
dishpan hands
Phil Caballero bouldering at Queen Creek.
Phil Caballero bouldering at Queen Creek.
My friends, Mr. and Mrs. Javelina of Queen Creek, Arizona.
My friends, Mr. and Mrs. Javelina of Queen Creek, ...
The sarcophagus boulder Oak Flats
The sarcophagus boulder Oak Flats
Snow settles upon the fantastic crags...
Snow settles upon the fantastic crags...
When you find Roman and my new sculpture you'll find the route to paradise ... and hundreds of feet of chossy rock!
When you find Roman and my new sculpture you'll fi...
Starting the exit from the toilet into the plunger.  This exit is a squeeze and if you don't squirm through, you get flushed!
Starting the exit from the toilet into the plunger...
Queen Creek canyon
Queen Creek canyon
A wider shot of the destruction
A wider shot of the destruction
My son Hyrum on an unknown problem
My son Hyrum on an unknown problem
The Sarcophagus boulder
BETA PHOTO: The Sarcophagus boulder
more of brig
more of brig

Comments on Queen Creek Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 18, 2013
By Ken Isaacson
Apr 20, 2009
This is another of Arizona's great climbing areas. It was once home to the Phoenix Bouldering Competition, attended by thousands of climbers. However, in a questionable land swap, it was taken over by Resolution Copper. As soon as possible Resolution will turn this ecologically protected area into a hole in the ground about a mile across and perhaps a half a mile deep.
By Ken Isaacson
Apr 21, 2009
I am deeply sorry for my over estimation of the hole in the ground. Perhaps it will be as attractive as the ASARCO photo above, a sort of eco-friendly hole.
By max gibbons
From: AZ y TO
May 13, 2009
Climbers need to get their asses out here and make a presence of themselves:
1) Enjoy it while we have it.
2) Remind the shafts and tools that the area still means a lot to a lot of folks.
As the land swap creeps forward QC draws fewer and fewer preemptively dismayed climbers. Poor form.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
May 13, 2009
I'm not sure of the other areas, but Lower Devil's has seen quite a bit of activity lately. I've been in LD most weekends since December. Other parties have been there nearly every time.

There are also some new climbs going up both in LD and Hackberry - I've been in on a few of the FAs and they are great! Keep an eye out on MP for new route info, and if you haven't climbed the older routes, check them out!
By Squish
From: Lakewood
May 19, 2009
I lived in Tucson for 3 years and Queen Creek was my absolute favorite place to go climbing at. It would be a tragedy if QC was closed down. Which also brings me to my next point. How come no bouldering is documented for QC? Great places like Davey Jones Locker and Evolution Boulder are just for 2 examples. Not to forget to mention the classic Rail problem. Now that I live in CO I realized how much I miss QC. Max is correct. People need to enjoy it while they have it and speak out about how much the area means to them.
By Helen Padilla
Feb 28, 2010
Thank you to the person who put the time and money into the nice via ferrata to the Pond area!
By Steven Lucarelli
From: Moab, UT
Feb 28, 2010
Does anyone know what the current access situation is at Queen Creek?
By davyanderson
From: Nashville, TN
Mar 8, 2010
Any tips on camping nearby?
By Marcy
From: Tempe/Tuscon, AZ
Mar 9, 2010
Oak Flat campground is on the left just after you turn onto Magma Mine Road. If you're climbing in Lower Devil's Canyon, there are several spots to camp primitively along the dirt road as well as at the end of the road (which is also the parking area).
By brucy
Apr 13, 2010
Queen Creek is an area that suffers from somewhat loose and friable rock (welded tuff/dacite), inconsistent rating (which can be severely sandbagged), painful edges and pockets "volcanic coral", occasionally poor anchors or lack of descending hardware (necessitating dangerous walk-offs vis-a-vis an out of step late 70's/early 80's mentality), and ego-based built-in runout protection (EBR) on rock that is anything but bombproof Yosemite granite. Having an national bouldering contest there resulted in many first ascentionists painting their egos on the rock in an attempt to impress visiting climbers. Routes can be at times silly, stupid, and ultimately sad. Having said that, one can have a good experience there provided the foregoing caveats are understood. Camping is free, many routes can be found that are wonderfully fun- if you look for them, and the sunsets are unexcelled.
By Colonel Mustard
From: Reno, NV
May 7, 2010
While I do not agree with everything Brucy says here and in some of his route comments about this area, I do agree that the Queen Creek ethic is a bit out of step of what I consider "sport climbing". Given no bolting bans and the presumption that all the sport routes are put up on rappel, I find the intentional and sometimes dangerous runouts a bit of an odd ethic. This is not ground up climbing (a style I love, by the way), so it sometimes seems lame that pushing the difficulty level in this area on supposed "sport climbs" can often mean risking ankle integrity. Given all that, yeah, you either rise to the level of commitment and hope the choss doesn't bite back, or you back off doing a particular climb.
By manuel rangel
From: Tempe, Arizona
May 10, 2010
I have to agree that some of the routes, especially the earlier bolted routes, have runouts accepted by the original developers. Like me, we did a lot of ground up stuff first then evolved to create better sport routes via rappel. Newer routes with built in runouts for no apparent reason (like some in the Pond), bug me. I try to stay away and point out their shortcomings to good people.

Some of the guys have gone back and changed the routes to bring them in closer to today's reality. Newer routes I've climbed have either been way over bolted or under. I think it's just hit or miss, you have to take responsibility for your climb and choose the right one or back off and TR it.

Lot of development at Lower Devil's East, go try it and report back on the new stuff!
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
May 20, 2010
I can comment on current bolt placement as I've been putting up routes of late (not posted yet, sorry). Many of the lines are indeed done ground up as that is the favored style from my perspective and I know Marcy and Geir feel similarly. When there's good gear placement I have not been placing a bolt, especially if the rock yields a hollow sound to a hammer blow. I feel that a bolt placed in such rock may give a climber a false sense of security, while a climb that requires gear placement is going to only attract climbers solid at the grade.

The four Glitter Box long routes -- Adios Larry, Damsels in Distress, Summer Assault, and Two Bit Shuffle -- are a bit odd in this regard as they are mostly bolted, but not fully enough to be truly "sport", nor are the bolt placements only where absolutely necessary.

In any case, as long as the route description is clear about what to expect on the route I actually like these mixed routes that are going in down here.
By Sara88
Jun 13, 2011
Hi, I am new to bouldering and was wondering if this area (queen creek canyon) is still usable for climbing? I live in the city of Queen Creek and would be looking for any areas that my kids and I could learn and grow in this sport! THANK YOU!!
By Trey Lewis
From: Glendale, Az
Jun 13, 2011
Oak Flats has a ton of bouldering of all grades.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Nov 25, 2011
In Lower Devil's Canyon there is now a new area.

If you turn right at the base of the switchbacks you'll head up into this area that we've (Arjun Heimsath and David Sampson) been developing. We've now posted most of the routes and called this area "The Refuge." There are about 60 climbs up in this area and we hope you check them out. There is some excellent climbing in here with easy approaches. Keep posted here, via "The Refuge" area under "Lower Devils Canyon", as the maps and descriptions are just being uploaded and updated (Thanksgiving, 2011).
By Dreez
Dec 28, 2011
Just a heads up on the mining issues. Read an article Dec 7th local paper.

Resolution Copper is prospecting the largest copper deposit known to mankind..literally. Queens Creek is sitting on top of it. Currently there is bill in Congress to do a landswap of US forest land (oak flats, road to LDC) for other land so they can start operations. The mine will be underground 1.5 miles, but the land will shift so they don't want anyone on top when it all collapses. They are in the processes of cajoling/bribing all parties to play the game and support the landswap. I read they promised climbers $50,000 to create new climbing areas. I sense the mine is letting climb on private property (The Pond), because they want us to support the deal.

OPINION: In this day and age this new mine is a done deal. Try to get as much out of them as possible and move on. They are ready to negotiate now and after the bill passes congress we will be nobodies.

Love QC, hate to see anything change but hate to lose it all after the bill passes congress.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Aug 5, 2012
Thanks to Melina Lew we have a newly formatted and well edited mini guide to The Refuge area. See the description under Lower Devils, or access mini guide thanks to Geir Hundal's posting here:

geir.com/refugemini.pdf

Hopefully it'll be cool enough to climb down there in a month or two and DOUBLY hopefully the rains will help cover up the impacts of the fire. Thank you, Ben, by the way, for posting those pics of the fire impacts.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Nov 26, 2012
STASH STOLEN!! Am afraid I have bad news to report. David and my development stash was stolen from its hiding place behind rocks and brush just uphill of the Dog Town parking area and camping spot in The Refuge. It was one of those large Action Packers, spray painted brown, and filled with a new static line and 3 dynamic ropes. A big loss in terms of gear, but a bigger loss in terms of our faith in humanity. This theft will obviously result in some seriously bad Karma for whoever took it and this post is just a heads up to our community in case you may have witnessed something, or have word of such gear suddenly for sale somewhere. I will try to keep the faith, but this was a seriously bad discovery yesterday while we were out there on a stellar day. Thanks for any input/help if you have it.
By 1Eric Rhicard
Nov 26, 2012
Damn, that sucks. I doubt it was climbers. I would guess there are a lot of folks just cruising around that place and they happened on it. Check the play it again sports stores. My buddy found his whole rack a day after his house was burglarized. If you need an working rope I will give you mine. You can still lead on it but it will not last long if you TR too much on it. Glad to hear they didn't get your drill.
By Geir
From: Tucson, AZ
Nov 26, 2012
No way!!! That is awful Arjun!!

I will happily donate to you guys to help you recover the loss.
By David Arthur Sampson
Nov 27, 2012
Thanks Eric and Geir: we appreciate your offers. Yeah, our loss was mostly dumbfounded disbelief that it could happen in our sanctuary. But, I too suspect that it was not a climber that took the stash. Gosh, I certainly hope it was not climbers.
By jbak
Nov 27, 2012
I will happily donate a rope if we can figure out how to get it to you.
By arjunmh
From: Phoenix, AZ
Nov 27, 2012
Yes, thanks so much to all, including Ben Beard, for input and offers of donations! I too hope and assume it wasn't climbers, especially down there, but I suppose this is a good lesson. If you're not planning on coming out sometime to climb and want to drop anything off for us to use, The Hiking Shack is right around the corner from me, and shoot me an email off the comment page if you want to coordinate anything: arjunmh@me.com
By Bobby Boland
Feb 18, 2013
LOST: 1 pair of testarossas at the base of a 5.8 at the ponds in Queen Creek, AZ.

please contact me at robertwboland@gmail.com