Sven Slab on the north side of the McDowell Mountains is one of the most popular granite rock climbs in Arizona.
It's also good for beginners (and good thing because while I've been indoor climbing for about five months, the mountains and I will agree -- I'm still a newbie).
There's a nice, steep hike up to one of the main climbing areas, so even if you're not suiting up in a harness and helmet, you can still enjoy a climb.
There are about 25 climbs, ranging from 5.4 to 5.10 (on the climbing scale), in the immediate area. Almost all of them are bolted. Some require straight slab technique, while others have deep cracks and big jugs (Gotta love climbing terminology). Although, I would wager that any real climber would tell you that as long as you're being safe, you can climb any which way you want.
Routes be damned! ...Or something like that.
Note: It's seriously important it is to have a guide along with you if you're not a seasoned climber, and even if you are, make sure somebody knows where you are. You wouldn't want to have to cut your own arm off, would you?
Getting to Sven Slab can be tricky. From Dynamite Road/Rio Verde Drive, take 128th Street south until you reach a T in the road. Veer left and drive east until you reach a parking lot. Having a high-clearance vehicle doesn't hurt either.
Check out our other recent hiking news/reviews:
South Mountain: Mormon Trail
Phoenix Summit Challenge
Dreamy Draw Trails
North Mountain Summit Trail
Parking Fees to be Enforced at Local Trails