Best Rock Climbing Phoenix 2011 - Camelback Mountain
Many climbers write off Camelback as nothing more than a pile of "choss," a.k.a. crumbly crap-rock. Yet it's really stunning how few harnessed adventurers come out to get high (naturally) in the Phoenix park that contains the pyramid-shaped pink mountain and surrounding slice of the Sonoran Desert. Yes, the rock quality, being composed of prehistoric mud, is poorer than the granite you'll find at Pinnacle Peak in Scottsdale or the volcano-born stone in the Superstition Mountains. But there are major upsides: the super-convenient, central Valley location, the abundance of routes, the 300-foot-plus height of some of the climbs, and the area's sheer beauty. The handholds and footholds on the most popular routes are solid (true, there are no guarantees), and anchors for your rope often bombproof. From the spooky, hang-it-all-out moves on the three-pitch Ridge Route to the classic southeast face of the Praying Monk formation, the cliff climbs in the Camel's Head area offer easy-to-get-to thrills for vertical-minded visitors.