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South Side

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West End Wall 

South Side Rock Climbing 

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Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on Sep 21, 2010

43° | 12°

44° | 12°

47° | 20°

55° | 23°

49° | 24°

45° | 20°
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Sunset over the south walls...


The South Side of Volunteer Canyon is a stunning array of haphazardly balanced columns. While most of it is losing the battle against erosion and gravity, there are pockets of the cliff that are unbelievably solid and offer up some timeless routes.

Rock Climbing Photo: Joel Unema at the crux transition of Phantsam 5.11...
Joel Unema at the crux transition of Phantsam 5.11, during his onsight, second ascent.

Wade Forrest Photo

These routes require rapping to specific belays, and climbing out, which may make them a bit tricky to find your first time out. For now, all I can say is that it is best to locate the routes from the North Side of the canyon, and eye the topouts well. There are faint trails, and to the discerning eye the topouts should be recognizable.

Rock Climbing Photo: JJ plugging it in on the "orange" jug du...
JJ plugging it in on the "orange" jug during his first lead attempt of what would become Nyctophiliac, 5.12-.

The East End Wall and The Pillar Wall both face Northbound, and in the dead of summer hold fast to their shade. The Canary Area, the Iron Wall, and the West End Wall face Northwest, and stay in the shade until early afternoon. More shade in the fall.

Rock Climbing Photo: Big hands for a big crack. Steve Grossman and the ...
Big hands for a big crack. Steve Grossman and the Canary Crack 5.10. 1970's

The most accessible and enjoyable camping is also found on the rim of the South Side.

We have encountered Black Tail Rattlesnakes when the ambient temperatures were in the high 80s or low 90s. Two of them decided our climbing packs offered up the best shade around. Watch your step, and watch out for your l

Getting There 

You can almost drive to the rim! Find the point, and start poking around.

Climbing Season

For the *Williams/ Sycamore Canyon area.

Weather station 9.7 miles from here

33 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',9],['3 Stars',20],['2 Stars',4],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in South Side

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for South Side:
Red's Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Canary Area
Bromancing the Stone   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 70'   Memorial Wall
Canary Crack   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Canary Area
Rapture   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   East End Wall
Detritus Spite Us   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   The Iron Wall
Honey Cwm   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   The Iron Wall
Experimental Forrest   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 80'   East End Wall
Pig Iron   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   The Iron Wall
Sindarete   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 125'   Memorial Wall
Parallel Universe   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 65'   Pillar Wall
The Falconer   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 120'   The Iron Wall
Cash, Grass, or Ass   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   West End Wall
Phantasm   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   West End Wall
Nyctophiliac    5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 125'   West End Wall
Iron Potato   5.12- 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 70'   The Iron Wall
Ultraviolet Ammunition   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Trad, 105'   East End Wall
Seamingly Binary   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Trad, 70'   Memorial Wall
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in South Side

Featured Route For South Side
Rock Climbing Photo: Falconer

The Falconer 5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c  AZ : Northern Arizona : ... : The Iron Wall
Start either on the ground just right of a large juniper, or begin 20 feet up on a ledge with a belay bolt. Climb a clean right facing corner to a stance. Stem your way up using finger/hand jam pods as they come. Once out of the stem box launch into steep fingers to jugs. 20 more feet or moderate climbing takes you to the rim.Above is the original description from the FA party recovered by wayback machine....[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of South Side Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A look at the walls of the South Side of Volunteer...
A look at the walls of the South Side of Volunteer...
Rock Climbing Photo: .
Rock Climbing Photo: South Walls topo
BETA PHOTO: South Walls topo

Comments on South Side Add Comment
Show which comments
By Paul Davidson
Jun 26, 2013
You guys should try hard to drag Baxter out there and get him to document the stuff he did out there. Seemed like the few times I went out there with him he kept pointing out other stuff he'd done.
By JJ Schlick
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 26, 2013
It does bum me out that the history here wasn't as well documented as other older crags like the Forks and the Overlook. There are some damn hard lines to do, and it won't surprise me if this place churns out a few test pieces for this generation to chew on...
By Darren Mabe
From: Flagstaff, AZ
Jun 29, 2013
Joel has definitely volunteered a glimpse into the future..
By john crawley
From: flagstaff, az
Jun 29, 2013
And the drums go ba da ch! For Darren.
By Paul Davidson
Jul 1, 2013
A lot of the history wasn't recorded for a few reasons.
There was never a ton of activity for one. The area has a certain feel and look to it. Some of the walls look like they might decide to pay homage to gravity any day now. Most stuff was just word of mouth, way back when. There were a number of test pieces for the time that were scattered out there, most of the hard stuff was on the south side. And originally, it was out there all by itself. Once the Forks was found, well... There was enough to do there to stay pretty occupied.

Those new routes look really cool.

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