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Climbing Management Plan for North Area of McDowell Sonoran Preserve Approved!

After five years of persistent and cooperative negotiations between local climbers from the Arizona Mountaineering Club (AMC), the City of Scottsdale, and the McDowell Sonoran Preserve Commission, the rock climbing plan for the north area of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve was approved. The plan includes crags that range from Half and Half Wall and Lost Wall on the west to Tom's Thumb, Gardeners, and Morrells Wall in the middle to Sven Towers, Sven Slab, and Granite Ballroom on the east, with Hogs Heaven being the southern most crag. This approval marks the preservation of all historic rock climbing in the preserve—a major win for local climbers.

In order to preserve the land and its ecology, the AMC worked with city officials to establish sustainable use expectations for the area, including designated approaches to the crags and prohibition of new bolting to minimize environmental impacts. Climbers will also be expected to comply with the Management Plan for the preserve, which includes no camping, fires, or other practices prohibited by the city.

To learn the acceptable approach trails to access these crags, climbers are asked to review maps available on the Arizona Mountaineering Club’s website. New trailhead locations are now being planned and will be built over the next several years. Climbers should be aware that as new trails are built some old approach trails will eventually be closed, making many existing guidebooks out-of-date regarding access points. The AMC will continue to communicate updates as they unfold.

Please direct any questions concerning the plan for rock climbing in the McDowell Mountains to Erik Filsinger, AMC Land Advocacy Chair and Rock Climbing Liaison with City of Scottsdale Staff at, or Scott Hamilton, the City of Scottsdale Trails Planner at

Date: 5/17/2009

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Anonymous @ 5/18/2009 1:46:04 PM 
Well done, AMC! I had the opportunity to climb at Tom's Thumb last winter. THe encroaching sprawl was somewhat disquieting. I am glad to see that those crags will now be preserved. Cheers to AMC and the AZ climbing community!
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