|The Dry Canyon
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).
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]
Browse More Classics in The Dry Canyon
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for The Dry Canyon:
Featured Route For The Dry Canyon
Latest Regional Forum Messages
There's a bit of an overhang. Photo by Andrew Guic... Crappy cell phone pic, but I still like it.
BETA PHOTO: Topo of the 'shallow end' of the dry. View from the start of the approach trail
BETA PHOTO: Topo for The Dry Canyon. I don't know how old or a... View looking SW out of The Celebrity Cave
Great view of the Dry Canyon BETA PHOTO: The Celebrity Cave from the left BETA PHOTO: The Celebrity Cave from the right
Trying out the projects in the Celebrity Cave. Pumpy project in the Celebrity Cave. This is a lo... SB working on WP
|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).
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.
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.
Dec 3, 2007
Braxwood -- I added a few comments to the topo photo. Most of the good stuff is on the topo.
Jan 15, 2008
Anybody have any idea about the routes on the "new" wall, about 100' left of Stimpy, Stumpy, etc?
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.
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|
Feb 28, 2008
Whats the bee situation out there this winter?
Anyone still climbing this pile? I hope not.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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?
Nov 9, 2009
FYI: You don't need 4x4 to get here. Just clearance.
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)
One For The Road (5.10c/d)
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.
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.
- 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.