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South Side

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South Side 

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Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: JJ Schlick on Sep 21, 2010
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Sunset over the south walls...
Know the location of this area? Show us! We don't know it, but we're working on cool new features that need it!


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.

These routes are rap in and climb out affairs which will 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.

The East End Wall and The Pillar Wall both face North, 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.

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... Be careful, and bring a sharp shovel.

Getting There 

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

20 Total Routes

['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',12],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for South Side:
Canary Crack   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Canary Area
Rapture   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   East End Wall
Phantasm   5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   West End Wall
Browse More Classics in South Side

Featured Route For South Side
Joel Unema at the crux transition during his onsight, second ascent. <br /> <br />Wade Forrest Photo

Phantasm 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII E4 6a  AZ : Northern Arizona : ... : West End Wall
This is one of the most unique lines I have ever established on basalt. From the climbers left side of the drainage at large, half alive ponderosa, rappel past knobby horns, down 90' to excellent belay ledge, fixed belay. This route also stays in the shade until 1:30 or so in the afternoon in the dead of summer.From the deluxe ledge, tackle the slightly overhanging right facing dihedral with thuggy hand and finger pods (5.10+). Take a moment at the break before the rail traverse, and eye it w...[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

News and Events For South Side
Photos of South Side Slideshow Add Photo
A look at the walls of the South Side of Volunteer Canyon looking up canyon. The East End Wall and the Pillar Wall are out of sight in this photo around the corner from the Canary Area (the bright yellow lichen splotches mark Canary Crack). Phantasm can be hard to find the first time, but the large drainage, and the half dead tree at the rim in this drainage marks the top of Phantasm. It is a little stroll from everything else.
A look at the walls of the South Side of Volunteer...
South Walls topo
BETA PHOTO: South Walls topo
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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.