Matt and Joanne’s Page

February 21, 2008

Arizona Sampler

Filed under: Climbing, Roadtrip — Matt Stamplis @ 10:58 am

It’s been 2 and a half weeks since our last update – whoah! We’ve really been busy and finding a decent internet connection while outside of the city has been pretty much impossible. Right now we’re in Chandler, AZ (just South of Phoenix) and we’re heading North towards Sedona, Flagstaff, and the Grand Canyon. But first, let’s catch up on what we’ve been up to!

Soaking up the Southwest in Saguaro National Park… Personally, I wasn’t that excited about the park – you can see Saguaro’s all over the place near Tucson. Oh, a Saguaro Cactus is the big one in the picture above! They have a real nice patch of Ocotillos, though. Unfortunately, they’re not blooming yet.

While visiting Saguaro NP, we swung by Colossal Cave. It’s a commercial cave and we took their cheesy cave tour. It would have been more fun if they let us explore on our own 🙂

After visiting the above parks, we spent 9 or 10 days at Mt Lemmon near Tucson. The weather was mostly good and we got some good climbing in! The rock is granite: while not as solid as the stuff in Joshua Tree, you won’t find much loose rock here. Crack systems tend to be discontinuous, when they exist, so a lot of the routes tend to be face climbing with a few finger or hand jams thrown in on occasion. The rock also tends to be hard to read: the holds are small and getting through tricky sections often requires finding a hidden sidepull or some blank smearing. It took us a couple days to really get used to it but by the end we were having a good time. Because of the huge elevation gain up and down the mountain you can find a comfortable spot to climb any time of the year!

Climbing Quality: Roadside, year-round granite cragging. Our top picks: Rupley #4 5.9, Space Cowboy 5.9+, Cripple Creek 5.10-, Centerpiece 5.10-, Four Crows 5.10, Hunchback Arete 5.11a

Camping: $10/night – lots of campgrounds to pick from. No water in the winter.

Most of the climbs are short, just off the highway. This is Hitchcock’s Pinnacle, a short 2 minute stroll from the road. Climbing this guarantees you’ll find your way onto a few tourists’ cameras.

Here’s Matt climbing one of our favorite routes on the Rupley Towers. I think this was called R-3 (5.9) – I think this was climbed in the 60s before they really named routes. It involves an intimidating traverse under a roof then you get to pull over it on great holds – fun!

After 3 or 4 days at Mt Lemmon, a big snowstorm came in and dropped a foot of snow on the top of the mountain. We headed to a lower elevation on the mountain and waited 2 days for things to melt so we could climb again!

Just a couple days after the snowstorm we were back climbing in the sun. This was a crag near Molino Basin called The Ruins – it was a little further away from the highway and provided an amazing view and some fun climbs.



  1. Hi guys,
    So i just bought my plane ticket to come visit you in march with zach and mom! So excited to get reconnected with nature…and to get to hang out with the two of you (and Yogi). Should I be bringing my climbing shoes?? I suspect I should.
    So…I just wanted to make sure you guys were SURE you know what your doing…some of those pictures are really freaky! and look really high up!
    Talk soon,

    Comment by Liz Stamplis — February 23, 2008 @ 6:01 pm

  2. FYI, the reason those bolts and anchors in the Supes have not been replaced is because there is a bolting ban in that area.

    Comment by Aerili — April 6, 2008 @ 10:30 pm

  3. Great climbing pics!

    Comment by eaveskg — August 3, 2009 @ 7:52 am

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Blog at

%d bloggers like this: