The Tucson rock-climbing scene is paramount to the parks and recreation community in Arizona and has proved to be rock-climbing heaven for both avid and casual climbers.
The most popular and difficult scene that southern Arizona has to offer can be found at Mt. Lemmon. It is more than 9,100 feet above the desert floor and sports around 1,200 separate routes for climbers.
Another notable spot in the state include, Camelback Mountain and Hole in the Rock both located in Phoenix.
For newcomers to the sport, there are many bouldering areas scattered around the state where they can work on they’re craft before taking on more challenging courses.
A great beginners mountain is Camelback Mountain located in Echo Canyon, Phoenix. This mountain offers trails and bouldering so climbers can choose their path of difficulty. Another great mountain also in Phoenix is Hole in the Rock. This mountain offers many boulders as well as small mountains and trails for climbers of all experiences.
If you’re not quite into scaling natural boulders, indoor climbing has become very popular whether it’s just for a quick exercise or to teach beginners the boundaries of climbing outdoors.
Rocks and Ropes is Tucson’s only indoor climbing area. Owners recently expanded to another location known as the Bloc. Climbers can hone their skills here in a controlled environment before venturing out into the desert.
“Indoor climbing gyms are a much more controlled environment to learn the basic techniques, safety precautions and proper equipment usage you need to be able to go climbing outside safely,” said Clayton Norman, an avid climber.
I’ve just started coming here this semester,” said Chris Ching, UA junior and newcomer to the Bloc. “I’ve been climbing casually for a couple of years, maybe one day I’ll try my skills somewhere tough like Mt. Lemmon.”
Ching pointed out how much he has learned in such a short period of time. Rock-climbing involves much more body control than most casual observers would think. “It is not all just upper body strength,” he said. “Girls tend to improve faster than guys since they aren’t as strong because they can just work on technique and have to rely on other things besides strength to get to the top.”
“Plenty of people also view indoor climbing as a really great overall fitness activity in and of itself. Also, because it is a gym, climbing indoors is usually a lot more of a social activity than climbing outside,” Said Norman of those not looking to take their climbing skills outdoors
Arizona features many rock-climbing clubs organized to get people together and spread the joy of the sport. Clubs such as The “X” Hiking Club and Tucson Rock Climbers consist of hundreds of members and routinely climb areas such as Tumamoc Hill as well as Mt. Lemmon.
Rock-climbing provides something for everyone. Whether it be a casual climb indoors or a quality hike up “A” Mountain, tourists and locals alike need not feel pressured to strap up and trek up Mt. Lemmon just yet.
Whether your using it for a sport or just to get exercise, rock climbers can agree that it is a challenging way to stay in shape and seek a thrill.
Arizona offers many great rock-climbing areas all over the state because of its wide and open desert terrain. There are many spots available no matter if your beginner or a full-blown mountaineer.