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The Dry Canyon

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1 - Addendum Wall 
2 - Shallow End 
3 - Spine Cave 
4 - Superfly Sector 
5 - Bee Cave 
6 - Swallow Wall 
7 - Celebrity Cave 

The Dry Canyon 


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Administrators: Greg Opland, James DeRoussel, JJ Schlick, Hendrixson, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: James DeRoussel on Jul 25, 2002
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Spinal Twist earns its name.

Description 

Dry Canyon, a.k.a. 'The Dry', is an increasingly popular destination for those seeking moderate to very difficult sport climbing. Located in the Whetstone Mountains north of Sierra Vista, this remote limestone crag is an ideal cool weather playground, being mostly sunny until later in the afternoon. Established routes range from 5.9 to 5.13d, with the overwhelming majority in the 5.11-.12 range.

Bring a 60m rope and quickdraws. The rock is generally steep and of good quality, though bloodily abrasive in some areas. There are certainly enough routes to keep you busy for a winter, and it is likely that The Dry will see further development in coming years.

The Whetstone Mountains are one of several small mountain ranges in Southeastern Arizona hosting an abundance of limestone rock. While there are most certainly more crags like this one, the remote nature of these ranges (among other factors) has limited their development. This crag was discovered by two U of A students in the 1995 but most of the routes have been since 1999.

There are currently no access issues at this crag. Please help to keep it that way. The Dry is on BLM land, so camp freely, but PLEASE observe low impact principles to avoid future access issues!!! Also, please do not block the road with your vehicle. Lastly, remember that all of Southeastern Arizona is a virtual highway for Mexican migrants. Use your head.

For rest day fun, visit nearby Kartchner Caverns State Park, just to the north.

For a topo of The Dry Canyon, go to www.arizonaclimbing.com. For more information on the area, check out Todd Gangelhoff's mini-guide in Rock & Ice #113 (January 2002).


Getting There 

Drive east on Interstate 10 from Tucson for about 40 miles. Exit at Arizona Hwy. 90, heading south towards Sierra Vista. Drive south for about 12.5 miles and carefully make a right onto an unmarked dirt road.

A 4WD vehicle is strongly recommended for the remainder of the drive. If you do not have at least a high clearance vehicle, consider going home! The road is very rough and steep in places.

From Hwy 90, proceed down dirt road to a T-intersection. Turn right. Take the first left (hopefully marked #4014) and continue to the end of the road, staying right through two intersections.

Park at the road's end, where it dwindles down to a trail. Follow this trail down and across the ravine, out past a water tank and continue on toward the far end of the crag. Approach the crag uphill on established switchbacks. It is 15 minutes from the car to the crag.


54 Total Routes


['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',20],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',1]
['<=5.6',0],['5.7',0],['5.8',0],['5.9',1],['5.10',12],['5.11',10],['5.12',24],['5.13',5],['>=5.14',2],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Dry Canyon:
Sexual Tyranosaurus   5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   3 - Spine Cave
Hippie Hate   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   3 - Spine Cave
Robby the Robot   5.11- 6c 22 VIII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 50'   2 - Shallow End
Butterfly Hiccup   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   7 - Celebrity Cave
Veganator   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   5 - Bee Cave
Loose Stools   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 50'   3 - Spine Cave
Oh Bee-have   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 60'   6 - Swallow Wall
Morbius   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 45'   2 - Shallow End
Spinal Twist   5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   3 - Spine Cave
Stranglehoff   5.12b/c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   5 - Bee Cave
Great White Hunter   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 60'   7 - Celebrity Cave
Renaissance Man   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport   7 - Celebrity Cave
Browse More Classics in The Dry Canyon

Featured Route For The Dry Canyon
clip before the left hand reach.

Loose Stools 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a  AZ : Southern Arizona : ... : 3 - Spine Cave
One of the best routes of its angle/grade in the Tucson area. As good as Tsunami and Delirious and that is saying something. Starts about 40 feet right of the Spine Cave. It's barely overhanging but offers a lot of variety....[more]   Browse More Classics in AZ

Photos of The Dry Canyon Slideshow Add Photo
There's a bit of an overhang. Photo by Andrew Guice.
There's a bit of an overhang. Photo by Andrew Guic...
Crappy cell phone pic, but I still like it.
Crappy cell phone pic, but I still like it.
Leading the Alter
Leading the Alter
Topo of the 'shallow end' of the dry.
BETA PHOTO: Topo of the 'shallow end' of the dry.
View from the start of the approach trail
View from the start of the approach trail
Celebrity Cave
Celebrity Cave
Almost there!
Almost there!
Topo for The Dry Canyon. I don't know how old or accurate it is. Use at your own risk!
BETA PHOTO: Topo for The Dry Canyon. I don't know how old or a...
View looking SW out of The Celebrity Cave
View looking SW out of The Celebrity Cave
Great view of the Dry Canyon
Great view of the Dry Canyon
The Celebrity Cave from the left
BETA PHOTO: The Celebrity Cave from the left
The Celebrity Cave from the right
BETA PHOTO: The Celebrity Cave from the right
Trying out the projects in the Celebrity Cave.
Trying out the projects in the Celebrity Cave.
Pumpy project in the Celebrity Cave.  This is a looooong route!
Pumpy project in the Celebrity Cave. This is a lo...
SB working on WP
SB working on WP
Comments on The Dry Canyon Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Dec 4, 2013
By Luke Bertelsen
Oct 8, 2005

Serious Bee and Wasp issues. A warning to those who are allergic. Due to the seeps at certain spots along the limestone crag The Dry is a hotbed for beehives and wasp nests. This is as of Oct. 2005. I was stung yesterday. A lot of the activity is concentrated at the cave formations (spine cave, bee cave, and celebrity cave).

By jbak
Mar 5, 2006

Lots of bees and wasps there today. No one got stung though.

By steve bleyl
Mar 7, 2007

I added a topo of the 'shallow end' of the dry. It has a few routes not on the full topo.
I moved away and I'm not sure if anyone is still climbing out there, This used to be the prime season.

sb

By Braxtron
From: ...
Dec 2, 2007

Excellent area! Many thanks to the generous souls who donated chain draws. Also, there are a ton of climbs that aren't on the topos. Anybody happen to have a recent topo laying around they'd care to upload? I'd be happy to scan it and make a pdf for you.

By jbak
Dec 3, 2007

Braxwood -- I added a few comments to the topo photo. Most of the good stuff is on the topo.

By Braxtron
From: ...
Jan 15, 2008

Anybody have any idea about the routes on the "new" wall, about 100' left of Stimpy, Stumpy, etc?

By jbak
Jan 16, 2008

Braxwood...the somewhat cranky answer would be: why do you care ? Anyone that goes all the way to the Dry to do those routes is wacked.

By Braxtron
From: ...
Jan 17, 2008

jbak, you're 'spot on', which is exactly why I'm wondering...why did somebody spend time, energy, $, etc. to bolt those short routes? I did a few and they're really not worth it. Then again, that may be why nobody is taking credit for them, or maybe I'm just an angle-snob. :)

By Andrew Kornylak
From: GA
Feb 28, 2008

Whats the bee situation out there this winter?

Anyone still climbing this pile? I hope not.

By jbak
Feb 28, 2008

Hey Korny-man, how ya doin ? There's been quite a bit of visitation at the Dry this season...even some non-locals. I've been out there several times. My opinion: the top 15% of routes are really good, the bottom 85%...just okay. I think Spinal Twist is one of the best in S. AZ. Bees haven't been bad, no big nests or anything. Season may be about over now that we've hit the 80's.

By Braxtron
From: ...
Mar 6, 2008

Apparently that far-left wall is called 'Addendum Wall.'

By Daryl Allan
From: Sierra Vista, AZ
Apr 24, 2008

I believe that #4014 ohv is Sands Ranch Road.

By jbak
Feb 16, 2009

So...using Vince's new mini-guide to The Dry I tried to do some different stuff there. Vince's guide shows the order of climbs like this:

Morbius, Robby, Hesitation Blues, Paranoid Android (L to R)

This is based on Vince's best guess given the info he could find.

Steve Bleyl's picture/topo (posted here) agrees that Morbius is the climb LEFT of Robby. But..."snaffel" posted Hesitation and Android here and implies that they are BETWEEN Morbius and Robby. But there's no room there, so Vince (and I) think they must be the fairly recent routes to the RIGHT of Robby.

Snaffel rates Hesitation Blues 12a and Paranoid Android 11a. If those ratings are correct, AND the routes are RIGHT of Robby, then this looks like the ordering to me:

Morbius, Robby, Paranoid Android, Hesitation Blues.

I did Robby and both routes to the right of Robby. Robby is probably correct at 11a. The route just right of that felt like 11b to me so if Snaffel says Android is 11a, that's close enough. The route further right felt like 11c/d so maybe that was Hesitation (12a ?).

So in the interest of getting Vince's guide straight, can any of you guys offer some beta on this ?

By Boodge Nomchompski
Feb 16, 2009

jbak - good to know, as I'm heading out there tomorrow and have Paranoid Android on my list of progressive warmups.
What did you think of those 4 routes? Good, decent or junk?

By jbak
Feb 16, 2009

Robby is decent but crux is hard to read.
Next route right (Android ?) is decent. A bit of a one-move wonder but pleasant.
Next right (hesitation ?) is complicated and pretty good. Don't think it's 12a but would like to hear other opinions.

By Braxtron
From: ...
May 31, 2009

From my partners' experiences and my own, from L to R it seems to be: Morbius, Robby, P Android, H Blues, J on the S, Procrastination Proclamation, Shit'n Cactus, I am the Eggplant, Pss Pss.

By Braxtron
From: ...
Oct 1, 2009

According to this pic, Pss Pss had not seen a FA as of Mar '07. Did anyone send it before spring '09?

By jbak
Oct 26, 2009

You can download Vince Bates' guide to The Dry by going to this page, find the link, right click and "Save target as"...members.cox.net/johnnlindabaker/index.shtml

By Red
From: Arizona
Nov 9, 2009

FYI: You don't need 4x4 to get here. Just clearance.

By Hendrixson
Administrator
From: Tucson, AZ
Jan 18, 2010

From Snaffel's posts the routes on Addendum Wall are (left to right):

Ain't That A Hoot (5.10c/d)
Hoodwinked (5.11c/d)
One For The Road (5.10c/d)
Messenger (5.10d)
Uninvited Guests (5.10a)
Napolean Complex (5.9)
Instant Gratification (5.10b)

The routes, at least the rightmost four, are short but not bad.

By Alex Kirkpatrick
Jun 3, 2013

So I'm not sure how this place garnered a reputation as a winter crag. In the winter it can be freezing cold because of the wind and too hot at the same time because you are forced to climb in the sun. In my opinion it is a much better shoulder season/summer crag. Those who can handle approaching in the sun will be rewarded with shade temps from 50-70 degrees when it is 80s to 100s in Tucson. The Celebrity cave is in the shade from early morning on, and the whole crag goes into the shade between 12-2. The later in the summer you go, the earlier the shade.

By Hendrixson
Administrator
From: Tucson, AZ
Dec 4, 2013

The crag has been divided into subsections and the routes have been sorted. Let me know if anything needs to be altered.

Condition Tracker:

  • Sunny, High of 57 in Tucson, Dec: Climbed in full sun wearing a tee; shade in long sleeve.
  • Sunny, High of 64 in Tucson, Dec: Climbed in full sun wearing a tee.