Matt and Joanne’s Page

March 20, 2008

Grand Canyon + Isolation Canyon

Filed under: Climbing, Roadtrip — Tags: — Matt Stamplis @ 10:53 am

So we’ve finally moved out of Arizona and onto a new state: the Beehive State, Utah! But before we leave Arizona completely, here’s a few last places we visited: the Grand Canyon (of course!) and Isolation Canyon, a cool word-of-mouth climbing area 70 miles Southeast of Flagstaff.

Hanging out on the South Rim…we took lots of pictures of the Grand Canyon but I figure one is sufficient: there’s lots of nice pictures of this big hole on the internet 🙂 Anyway, I was really impressed with it – I was just staring at the colors and shadows for about 15 minutes. Joanne, on the other hand, said it wasn’t all that impressive!! She thought the colors of Sedona were prettier (and she’s probably right but still – I thought the Grand Canyon was amazing!)

Before we left Arizona we met a really nice Flagstaff climber named Brad. We ran into him in the Superstition Mountains and then again at The Pit in Flagstaff. He invited us to go check out Isolation Canyon, an area where he’s put up a few routes and I had heard a bit about. The climbing was really superb and an area that I’m sure climbers will hear more about in the future. The rock is super hard Quartzite (some kind of compressed sandstone I think??) with lots of positive edges. But the nicest part is the length: the pitches are usually around 80-130′ with routes up to 3 pitches long. And the canyon is a really beautiful place to hang out.

Joanne climbing the lower part of The Steller Arete (10/10+), one of Brad’s routes. Joanne and I both really enjoyed this climb, featuring some really fun, aesthetic moves on the arete up high.

Joanne pulling over the starting bulge on Life On the Drop (10-). You can get a feel for how big the walls are from this view.

Matt eyes a loose-looking block on Footprints in the Sand (5.10-ish). This mixed route features thought-provoking face moves on a 130-foot long pitch.

Joanne taking a ride on the Angel Wing (10-) – at least I think that was the name…

Besides showing us this cool climbing area, Brad was nice enough to let us borrow some of his big wall gear for our next destination: Zion. Thanks Brad – and we’ll be sure you get your gear back!!

Route Info + Beta!
Best time to climb? Probably climbable most of the year. Might be cold in the winter?

Climbing Quality: Interesting routes on solid rock. Mostly sport climbing with a few gear/mixed routes. This was one of Joanne’s favorite climbing areas we visited. Well worth a visit for a weekend or longer.

Camping: We didn’t stay overnight here but the area around the parking lot seems pretty low-key: I don’t think you’d have any problem setting up a tent.

As of Dec ’08 this was still a bit of a local’s secret. So until a guide is published you’ll probably need to find someone to take you there. The good news is that the Arizona locals are friendly and if you’re really set on climbing here, you’ll probably be able to find someone willing to climb with you.

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1 Comment »

  1. Hi there again! I know your Mom, Zach and Liz have joined you in Utah. Hope to see some pictures of them in your next posting. Look forward to it!

    Comment by Cindy Scalf — March 25, 2008 @ 11:46 am


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