Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Saturday, February 04, 2017

Bouldering at South Mountain, AZ

A few weekends past, Liz took me and Brandon to South Mountain for some bouldering. To get there, park at Pima Canyon trailhead, Maricopa Trail, Phoenix, AZ. There is a developed lot with bathrooms and picnic area. Be mindful of the time as the park gate closes between  certain hours (typically near sunset).

To get to Pima Canyon Trailhead, park at the following address:

From the parking lot, get on the National Trail. Walk along the National Trail for a mile or so until you pass the old stone Ramada. At this point, walk off the path and follow the dried river bed for another half mile towards Pima Canyon (the coordinates where you should start looking for the dried river bed: 33.360756, -112.004855). It might be best to go with someone who has been there to find the river bed path. But here's a snapshot of where I got off from the Ramada.

A good indicator that you're on the right path are the old petroglyphs on the boulder right at the entrance of where you migrate down.

Eventually, you should come to a welcome wall as seen by the picture below.

There, we only had time to climb on two problems. The two problems were Hookers Are Fun (V2-V3) and The Tongue (V2).

The Tongue is a great problem to warm up on and the trick to starting the problem involves two parts. The first part is the tiny foot underneath the over hang as you start. The other part is where you position your right foot, also during the start, as you pull yourself up and begin the problem. If you're falling instantly, but have good strength in your hands, your right foot is smearing too far right. Experiment with different right foot placements as you attempt the sit-start.

Next, Hookers are Fun. Hookers are Fun is an especially fun V2-V3 problem. The start is a straightforward shimmy but becomes difficult upon reaching the pocket. The trick to this transition is to, as you're hanging upside down, first bump your left hand up onto the crimp. Once you establish that hold, make the right hand transition. Most people won't get the larger pocket first, they'll grab some smaller hold first. If you do, I would suggest making a quick bump to get that better pocket, it'll help with conserving your energy. After you get that move, the rest is easy and simply a matter of whether you still have any energy left.

There are two variations of how you can finish this boulder.

An overly attached, concerned, puppy wondering what her mom is doing hugging a rock.

After completing this problem, we moved on towards the amphitheater.

There, we checked out some more problems in the area. However, most of them were beyond our climbing level and the ones we did want to climb, we were unable to find. Eventually, we called it a day because the sun was setting and we hiked back towards the lot.

From the amphitheater, you can either backtrack completely, or scramble up a bit and find the latter part of the National Trail. The view scrambling up is quite nice.

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