Best Rock Climbing Phoenix 2013 - West Corner of Tom's Thumb, McDowell Mountains
16300 McDowell Mountain Park Drive
Scottsdale, AZ 85255
Want to test out those fingertips on some real rock and stand atop a truly kick-ass pinnacle summit? For the beginning leader, you can do no better than the west corner of Tom's Thumb. This gorgeous piece of granite can be seen from miles away, sticking out like a ripe piece of fruit on the summit ridges of the McDowells. Two fun new trails that lead to Tom's Thumb opened in the past couple of years. Take the newer, shorter trail on the east side of the McDowells, since you'll be hauling a backpack with the requisite gear for this adventure. If you don't know what to bring for this traditional climb, you shouldn't be trying it. Consult a guidebook, regardless. Begin the route with an easy, ropeless scramble to a kitchen-table-size belay ledge. The first 20 feet or so is easy — then the fun begins. The Phoenix Rock Guidebook calls this a 5.1, but don't be fooled by the sandbagged rating. The two best parts: The shaded nook just under the smooth friction ramp you'll just about pee your pants on, and reaching the summit. We hope you like long rappels, too, because that's the only way you're getting down.