New Climbing Access Trails Opened in the McDowell Mountains, Arizona

After being threatened by the encroachment of a housing development, climbing access in the McDowell Mountains, near Scottsdale, Arizona, just got easier and more secure. A series of defined climbing access paths now lead from the main trail system to the following crags (from west to east): Half and Half Wall, Fort McDowell, Lost Wall, the Rist, Lost in the Air, Toms Thumb, Glass Dome, Gardeners Wall, Crossover Wall, East End, Goat Hill, Hog Heaven, Morrells Wall, Morrells Parking Area, Girlie Man, Sven Towers I, II and III, Sven Slab, Trundle Pinnacle, Rosetta Stone and Granite Ballroom. Rock climbing is limited to the existing and historical climbing crags.

The spring of 2009 will see the official opening of the North Access Area of the McDowell Sonoran Preserve, marked by the opening of the Toms Thumb trail. The North Access Area serves the north end of the McDowell Mountains that are south of Dynamite Boulevard/Rio Verde Drive.

The City of Scottsdale wants to educate the climbing community about its plans to open this area and receive feedback. There will be a meeting on January 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the Phoenix Country Day School (3901 E. Stanford Drive, Paradise Valley, 85253) for the purpose of receiving comments from members of the climbing community.

This meeting will be held in conjunction with the Arizona Mountaineering Clubs January member meeting. If you are interested in hearing about the climber access and overall climbing management in the McDowells, please plan to attend. Mountaineering club membership is not required. The presentation will include maps of the North Access Area layout and climber access paths followed by a question-and-answer session as well as an opportunity to fill out comment cards. Your input can also be emailed Scott Hamilton, City of Scottsdale Trails Planner, at SHamilton@scottsdaleaz.gov. For questions, contact Erik Filsinger, the Climber Liaison to City of Scottsdale staff, at smorefil@aol.com.