Best Bouldering Phoenix 2013 - Camelback Mountain
5950 N. Echo Canyon Parkway
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253
One of the worst things about this year's closure of Camelback's west-side hiking trails, especially the über-popular Echo Canyon Trail, is that the west side is the location of all the best climbing. But it's expected to re-open near the end of the year, and it's the single best bouldering spot in the Valley proper, so we feel compelled to tout it. Camelback, known since the late '40s as a rock-climbing mini-mecca for the Phoenix area despite the many areas with loose rock, has not only several tall climbs ranging from 100 to more than 300 feet but dozens of excellent short bouldering routes that put calluses on your fingertips and muscles you didn't could exist had on your forearms. You'll want to pick up a copy of Marty Karabin's Rock Climber's Guide to Camelback Mountain, a fold-out map (price: $5) that shows all the main bouldering areas. The boulder we frequent the most is called the Pyramid, a little ways up from the parking lot. When we can round the northeast corner without setting a foot on the ground, we know our training is paying off.