Friends and I drove to Queen Creek Canyon to do some climbing there. Well, my friends planned to do some climbing and I was just going to hike around the area and then watch them for a while.
To access the Pond climbing area, leave your vehicle in the parking area that is about 0.6 mile east of the Queen Creek tunnel on US60. Walk east along the side of the road to a short bridge. Walk under the bridge to the opposite (North) side of the road. Climb along the right side of the wash a short distance until you come to a pond (sometimes dry). If it has water in it and you want to keep your feet dry, it's a little tricky to get around it to access the paths to the climbing area. Assuming you want dry feet, you can climb over the rocks to the right of the pond or you can climb across the wall for about ten feet. You'll find three handholds on the wall. Once you get past the pond, you can use several anchored rebar rungs and a short rope to get up to the trails that take you to the climbing area. Then just follow the trails. There are many climbing routes of varying degrees of difficulty in this section. It would be good to obtain a climbing guide for the area.
After hiking up to the top of the hills above where my friends were climbing and taking a few pictures, I decided to go down to watch them climb. It was way too windy up top. Unfortunately, the route down was not obvious. After 45 minutes of trying to find the route by which I came up, I was beginning to think it was about time to call in a helicopter to rescue me. Finally, after pushing my way past a bush, I saw the top of my route down. Makes me want to invest in a handheld GPS unit.
I rejoined my friends and enjoyed their escapades on the rock face. Two of them had some experience with sport climbing. The rest of us had never done this sort of thing before, although one had done a lot of rappeling in his work for the fire department. Eventually, Matt suggested that I give it try. At first, I declined, but eventually I said, well ok, maybe the first 10 feet.
Once I got on that rock face, well protected by the belay line as I was and the fact that one might call this rock face a "bunny slope", well, I just kept going. What a thrill it was to touch the chains at the top and look down and all around! Matt controlled my descent with the belay line and my first climbing experience was a success. Needless to say, I hope that won't be my last climb!
The distance and AEG values are just estimates determined by using Google Earth (Sorry, no GPS device). The 5.4 difficulty rating given above is what my more experienced friends said the route we were climbing was rated, but I don't know how they got that number. As I said above, this "bunny slope" was probably the easiest route in the area.