Matt and Joanne’s Page

February 21, 2008

Queen Creek Canyon

Filed under: Climbing, Roadtrip — Matt Stamplis @ 10:57 am

After Mt Lemmon, we decided to head back towards the Phoenix area and the Superstition Mountains. But first, a quick trip to Queen Creek Canyon. Queen Creek Canyon has a few strikes against it: it’s next to a noisy highway, there’s a constant threat of vehicle break-ins and the approach to the climbing has garbage all over the place (from the highway). The rock is volcanic tuff and is described as being similar to Smith Rock, our favorite Oregon climbing destination. Maybe they’re both volcanic rock but it’s not quite the same as Smith. The rock at Queen Creek is much more pocketed and maybe a little more sharp: my fingers were numb after the first day of climbing.

Here’s a climber hanging out on Soft Parade (11a) – this was definitely one of the most fun routes we climbed here (and also one of the longest). It’s neighbor to the right, Pocket Puzzle (10a) was even more fun – a improbably steep looking wall with good holds all the way up.

This was the best part about Queen Creek Canyon – the waterfall!! Some locals told us that in the summer it doesn’t really run and the water gets really nasty. But it looked really nice when we were there so I couldn’t resist jumping in and cleaning up a little. The water was coooold but refreshing.

Oak Flat Campground at Queen Creek was quite nice (and free!). There’s even some decent bouldering just a short walk away. Here’s Joanne and Yogi enjoying a hard-earned day of rest.

On our last day in Queen Creek we decided to go climb at Atlantis, a different area than the Pond Walls (where we were climbing previously). Unfortunately, Atlantis was appropriately named and most of the climbs were somewhat submerged. Here’s Matt looking a little downcast. Oh well, guess that’s our cue to move on to our next stop….the Superstition Mountains.

Route Info + Beta
Best Time to Climb? Fall, Winter, Spring. Summer will probably be HOT.

Climbing Quality: Unless you’ve got no other better place to climb, you might want to avoid this place. If you took the highway away this would be an amazing canyon. From what I’ve heard, the climbing areas that are away from the highway are probably worthwhile but we didn’t get a chance to check them out. We heard lots of break-in occur so we constantly have to worry about our car.

Camping: Oak Flat Campground is great. It’s free and just a short bike ride (or 4-wheel drive) from a great boulderfield. No water.

Rest Day Activities: Park off the highway and be a security guard for other climbers, explore the miles of dirt roads heading out from Oak Flat, play on the boulders.

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