Best Rock Climb and Rappel Phoenix 2008 - The Hand and Razor's Edge
The Hand is a gorgeous, freestanding pinnacle of prehistoric lava in the Superstition Mountains that almost looks as if it belongs on Easter Island. It more resembles a finger as you hike toward it along Treasure Loop trail, though from the side it does really look like a hand, complete with a short thumb.
One of the reasons we love this climb is the belay perch on the space between that great thumb and the rest of the hand. It's like sitting in the saddle of a giant horse, our legs dangling over the steep cliffs on each side. Steel chains bolted into the rock provide a good anchor here, but there's certainly a high danger factor — let's just say that if you have no experience with rock-climbing techniques and equipment, the pretty view from this ledge just might be the last one you ever see.
Razor's Edge sports a moderate technical rating, but indoor-only climbers be warned — this one requires the lead climber to pack more than a medium amount of chutzpah. The two pitches of climbing have many sections with no protection for the lead climber. And, as on many climbs in the Supes, we found some loose rock that is just waiting for a careless climber to pull on.
In general, though, the pointy dacite outcroppings make good holds for hands and feet. The fun climbing and airy, heart-pounding exposure of Razor's Edge even received notice by Climbing Magazine. (www.climbing.com/exclusive/classicclimbs/razorsedge).
Also worth mentioning is the thrilling, 150-foot rappel, which is how you get down from this thing. The first climber that goes down should be ready with his or her camera to get shots of the others as they descend on the rope. A day at the Hand, especially properly photographed, will be a day to remember.