Trip ReportMy Favorite Phoenix 5.8
Smokiní the Toad - 5.8
Lower Devils Canyon - Hackberry Creek
A perfect line? Maybe. For a single pitch, it doesnít get much better in my opinion. Sure, I love climbing endless cracks, I love stemming through chimneys, liebacking corners and pulling roofs. I love it all! But when thinking about great or classic single pitch routes, I always go back to three things; consistency of moves, length of route, and of course the aesthetics of the line or feature.
For me, Smokiní the Toad meets all three of these categories with 5 stars. A long pitch at 130 feet, be sure to bring two ropes if you climb on a 60 meter line. No one move on this route is really difficult or tricky, in fact I couldnít really tell you where the crux is, if there really is one. What this route gives you is consistent climbing from bottom to top. In a 130 feet you will pass five bolts, which gives many climbers comfort after climbing above gear placed into a shallow dacite pocket. Iíve always wanted to climb the route on just the bolts (not suggested) but for now itís just a vision for the future. I bring a rack of small to medium cams and tri-cams. This climb has holds everywhere, as with most Queen Creek climbs, the crux is choosing the right ones. Pockets both deep and shallow, perfect horizontal slots that take good gear, and the awesome friction of the volcanic rock will have climbers grinning the whole way up. And how could you not be smiling if you are climbing in Hackberry Creek!
Queen Creek has been my mecca since my first days of climbing. I think most Phoenix climbers would agree, though an hour east of the city, this place is the go to spot for sport climbing, bouldering, and climbing awesome desert towers. With thousands of established routes and boulder problems, and the never ending potential to link together a new series of moves on rocks as far as the eye can see, there is always a reason to go back for another day climbing at Queen Creek. Be sure to check out the Pond and Atlantis, boulder at Oak Flats as much as you can before itís gone, climb in Devils Canyon and be sure not to miss Hackberry Creek!
The landscape around this area is out of this world. Crazy towers, walls, and features everywhere. As a climber itís pretty overwhelming. The amount of holds covering these walls will have an aspiring first ascensionist drawing new lines in their head all day. Sure, a lot of the plums have been picked but the potential is pretty much endless. With that said, this is the desert and not all of the rock is solid! Holds break, climb delicately, belayers should wear helmets too. Be careful and be aware. Enjoy the beauty and uniqueness of this delicate environment, as it may not be here forever. Since I have been climbing in the Queen Creek area it has always been threatened by mining. Please do what you can to protect the area, as it is a very special place for many people for many reasons, not just climbing. If you are interested in joining the fight to protect the area, please check out The Access Fund. On that note, if you are a climber and not an Access Fund member, that really needs to change. Check them out at www.accessfund.org.
So hereís the deal, go climb Smokiní the Toad, youíll love it! To get there you will need a high clearance vehicle, preferably with 4WD. Bring a rack, bring two ropes, bring some friends, shoot even stop at the shell in gold canyon and bring a growler. Get out there, have fun, be safe and climb hard! Invite me! I hope you have enjoyed reading about my Favorite Phoenix 5.8. I look forward to writing about my favorite 5.9 next week. Stay tuned in!
Recent Trip Reports