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East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall, AZ

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194 12 0
Guide 12 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Northeast > Holbrook
Rated
4.5
4.5 of 5 by 6
 
3
Warning! Technical climbing skills required. Risks include serious injury to death.  Risks are not eliminated by skill.
Climb Consensus (12) → View
Difficulty 4th
Climb I G Sport
Rock Sandstone Good
Length 80 ft 1 Pitch
Statistics
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Difficulty 2 of 5
Route Finding 1 of 5
Distance Round Trip 2 miles
Trailhead Elevation 5,100 feet
Elevation Gain 300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 4 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 3.5
Interest Perennial Creek
Backpack No
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15  2017-09-17
East Clear Creek
chumley
17  2012-06-03 RickVincent
17  2011-06-26 Hikergirl81
14  2011-05-28 juliachaos
9  2011-05-28 Hikergirl81
67  2010-06-05 juliachaos
15  2010-06-05 Hikergirl81
5  2009-05-09 toddak
Page 1,  2
Author TM1ssKDMac
author avatar Guides 9
Routes 10
Photos 4,110
Trips 38 map ( 348 miles )
Age 57 Male Gender
Location Joseph City, Arizona
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Preferred   Apr, Mar, Oct, Nov → Early
Seasons   Late Spring to Early Winter
Sun  6:07am - 6:27pm
Official Route
 
1 Alternative
 
Water
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
A Hidden Slot Near Winslow
by TM1ssKDMac

Area: Just a short drive out of Winslow, gouged into the rolling high desert plains of the Little Colorado River drainage is a hidden jewel of exceptional beauty. East Clear Creek Canyon just upstream of McHood Lake is a narrow, winding canyon cutting deeply into the Coconino sandstone of the Colorado Plateau. This canyon runs for 50 miles as the crow flies and its length would be over twice that if it was stretched out straight. There are many places to enter and hike this canyon but I am going to limit this description to the section near Winslow known as the Winslow Wall.


Overview: This short hike requires some minor technical rope work to actually enter the canyon and climb back out. I am not a rock climber and I have been in and out of this canyon several times with children as young as 10. It does require rappelling gear and an ascender for protection when you climb back out. Once you are in the canyon you can hike either direction for about a half a mile before you are stopped by large pools of water.

This section of the canyon has a large number of bolted climbing routes in place for those that enjoy climbing. There is always water in the canyon of varying depths depending on the time of year and weather.

Hike: The trail starts at the parking area and is well maintained and marked by the climbing groups that use the canyon. The trail leaves the parking area and follows the canyon rim away from the parking area and the road back out to hwy 99. In about a half mile the trail starts winding down into a side canyon that is used to enter the main canyon. Climb down this small side canyon to a ledge area about half way to the canyon bottom. Here you will see several rappel anchors bolted into the wall where you can hook up your rappel gear and rappel the rest of the way down into the canyon. Generally there are always ropes to use here that are already hooked up and left in place by the climbing groups that use the canyon. Use your own judgment as to whether you want to use these ropes or not. It has been my experience that the ropes and the anchors are well maintained and replaced before they reach an unsafe level of wear. They are handy to have in place already so please don't damage them or decide you need them at home.

After exploring the canyon bottom and you are ready to climb back out. We hook up a short lanyard to our rappelling harnesses with an ascender attached to the other end which we attach to the rope for protection as we climb back up the crack of the side canyon and up the ledge where you can unhook from the rope and then hike out the canyon rim and the train back to the parking area.

Check out my photos of the climb before you go so that you can assess whether or not this hike is for you.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

Leave No Trace and +Add a Triplog after your hike & climb trip to support this local community.

2007-10-22 TM1ssKDMac
    WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

    Most recent Triplog Reviews
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    Just one day after the Tinder Fire started, I made my way up towards Blue Ridge Reservoir for some kayak time. Around Clint's Well, I started seeing digital signs announcing that a fire was up ahead. Then, upon turning on to the dirt road leading to Blue Ridge, there was a sign stating that the reservoir was closed. ](*,)

    I was bummed, but wasted no time getting back on the road towards Winslow for Plan B, East Clear Creek out of Winslow's Clear Creek Reservoir. Plenty of people on the water as I made my way upstream pass the graffiti covered cliffs. Just kept on paddling and soon the people and graffiti were long behind me.

    The further you paddle, the better it gets. Higher cliff walls, calmer water, greater solitude. On this day, it was just me and my dog, Enzo. We made it off the water by 5:30pm and headed back home, stopping at Mackie's in Payson for a delicious Curly Joe hamburger.

    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    East Clear Creek
    I'll list this as a hike though it involved kayaking, portaging, floating, swimming, paddleboarding, and probably a few other HAZ adventure modes.

    I had never kayaked the reservoir, and recruited @Hikergirl81 to be my tour guide for the day. She convinced me to skip the lower miles of paddling and get right to the good stuff. Apparently this meant I missed out on the less scenic part of the reservoir, the garbage, crowds, graffiti, and noise. Does she know me, or what!? :)

    The plan was to head south in the canyon and explore new terrain. She had been climbing at Winslow Wall a handful of times but wanted to explore more of the canyon. We ditched my kayak at the end of the reservoir, but portaged her SUP to the next pool. This was a great plan. There are numerous deep and very long pools for which swimming would be a bit chilly at this time of year (and tiring!). The option to stay on the surface when we reached the pools far outweighed the pita of carrying the SUP through the shallower parts. We chatted with a few climbers at Winslow Wall before continuing our trek upstream.

    This area is amazing, and I want to come back! I'll have to check out the class 4 access in the book that @toddak referenced in his triplog because if I can get down here without paddling the lake or rappelling that would open a bunch of new possibililties for me.

    With daylight waning, we turned back and made it to the truck just as it was getting dark. Alfonso's was closed, so we headed back to Flag for a late dinner that was well-earned!
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    After two consecutive days of hiking the Salome Jug, followed by the epic "Mother Lode" trek across the 4 Peaks, Dean and I were ready for something a bit more relaxing. Exhausted from the day before, we weren't looking to get on the water too early. We drove up to Winslow from Pine and ended up launching the boats after 9am. We shared the area with other kayakers, fisherman from boats and shore, rafters, climbers and others just out enjoying a day on the cool water.

    Right away the walls of ECC begin to rise over the water and we began searching for dws (deep water solo) climbing routes and high places to jump. Our muscles were still sore from yesterday's adventure, but not so much that we couldn't enjoy a little bit of pocket-pulling fun.

    We came to a couple of areas that required portage of the boats. Most paddlers don't seem to make it this far in. This made the trip all the more interesting as we now only shared this deeper south section with a few rock climbers. The creek also became more interesting with cool waterfalls and lush green plants and trees, and taller, narrower canyon walls. We spent a full day on the water, returning to the boat launch at McHood Park around 7pm.

    Afterwards, we carelessly stumbled into Alfonso's Mexican food restaurant in Winslow. The way I inhaled my food would make an onlooker think the meal was fantastic, but it was really just "okay."
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Another awesome trip down to the ECC! This is such a great time of year for it, with the warm temps and the nice cool water. I ended up getting there later on Saturday, so camped overnight with the group up top, and then rapped down into the canyon in the morning.

    TR'ed Girlfriend Route (9) and Valley Girl (11a). Valley Girl was actually pretty fun. Then got on Winsloner (11c), which was even more fun! Had my camera on that one, and got a couple pics of Patrick on Caligula. First time I've been up above taking pictures.

    Still not really ready to do any leading in this area, and not sure I ever will. It's a pretty tough area for climbing, but still great for swimming, kayaking, exploring, etc. And sooo beautiful.
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    Bittersweet trip experience. This is one of my most favorite places to visit in Arizona. Whether I'm hiking, climbing, swimming, or all of the above, I love it here. The place is full of magic and is not to be missed. I'd been planning this trip for over a month and got a group of friends to come with. Unfortunately I managed to re-injure myself a week and a half ago, and was not sure I'd be able to climb. This causes problems because the approach includes some sketchy downclimbing into the canyon before a final rappel. As it turned out, the rappel turned out to be nothing, but convincing my lats to cooperate on the downclimbs was another story.

    We all got down into the creek and took a deep breath and a look around. Pictures can never do this area justice. Amid smiles and shouts, we dropped our packs and loaded up on the gear we'd need, taking breaks to look around again and again at the tall sandstone walls and perfect flowing water. The trickle and flow of the water was music to our ears.

    My plan was to help belay anyone who needed it. I wasn't planning on much climbing, but tried out a 5.9 anyway, stopping halfway up to take a break and stretch. Against my better judgment, I finished the route. No more climbing for me this weekend. And no more belaying. I took it easy for a while, until it was decided we needed to take a swim upstream. The heat in the canyon was almost perfect, but the water was still cold! We jumped in anyway and swam quite a ways up until we reached a warm pebbly beach. It was nice for a while, but then the wind really kicked in. Swam back to the rest of the group until the sun disappeared behind the canyon walls.

    Hiking back to camp, we found that our tent had partially blown over.. knocking over the cooler we'd left inside to keep it stationary. Everything was soaked inside, from clothing to bags. And covered in sand. We gathered everything up as quickly as we could and changed plans. Headed out to Flagstaff to meet some others for brews and food. No more magical canyon for us, but we did have a warm place to stay there in Flag, and a few options open to us the next day..
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I will most definitely be back to this area, but probably under slightly different circumstances!

    We had a wonderful two days of climbing and exploring down at East Clear Creek. The weather was pretty much perfect all weekend. The routes are all on the tougher side, so I didn't do a whole lot of climbing. That was fine with me though, as I was exhausted from lack of sleep. So I took a lot of pictures. :D

    Day 1: I got to do my first rappel, which was somewhat frightening because this was the first time I think I've ever even seen an ATC in use. Didn't really get the hang of it the first time around, but I didn't fall so no complaints there! I was in the company of very experienced and reliable people so I wasn't actually too worried. The view down into the canyon was just breathtaking from that spot though! I knew right away that the weekend was going to be amazing. A couple people set up some routes so I hopped on a 5.9 and followed it. Janelle showed me how to lead belay, which was interesting on the low-angle route. I ended up spending most of my day watching others' techniques and taking pictures and taking notes. And then taking a much-needed nap! Tried out a 5.11b (I think?) but couldn't make it past the early crux. Next time... Around 7 we packed up some of our stuff and exited the canyon (an ascender+grigri REALLY helps with this) and went into Winslow to the Brown Mug for some delicious Mexican food. The salsa was SO hot! We were told it's not usually that hot, but wow! Great food though, and really friendly staff. After having entrees and some very tasty sopapillas, we went back to ECC and camped out above. Slightly windy, but nothing like at Jacks a couple weeks ago... phew!

    Day 2: Headed back into the canyon almost as soon as we woke up. This time the rappel seemed easy. :D I tried out a 5.10 (again, not sure exactly) but just wasn't feeling it. Bad weekend for me, I guess. So again I was extremely content to wander and photograph pretty much everything and everyone in sight. Later on a few of us decided to explore down the canyon. Some kayakers had come up and passed us by with their dogs, so we went over to check out how deep the water was... nice and deep, so we swam out a little way and found a giant hueco to hang out in for a bit. Did a little "cliff" jumping into the water from there. Fun! Clouds started to form, however, so we headed back over to the climbs. Found a cute little kingsnake and chased him around for a little while with the camera. My first time holding a snake -- exciting! After a full day of swimming and climbing, we all met up in town again at the Falcon Restaurant. They were very gracious there, as it was almost 9 pm on a Sunday (closing time), most other places were closed, and there were twelve of us ravenous for Mexican. We called ahead and made sure it wouldn't be a bother, and the owner himself insisted that we drop in. The food was decent, not as good as Brown Mug, but it wasn't bad and the employees were all really nice. Edible salsa, too! It was the waitress's fourth day working there so we tried to go easy on her. She survived the night and even took our picture to prove that we'd been there. :)

    What a great weekend. I really will need to come back for some kayaking and camping. There seemed to be a few spots here and there that would be great for camping, so long as no flash floods occurred! Lots of places for deep water soloing too, for those who are into that. Great area, and I can't wait to come back with a waterproof camera for even more pictures. :D
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rating optionrated 4rated 4rated 4rated 4
    As described in Tyler Williams Canyoneering Arizona book, there is a 4th class, no-rope-required entry/exit point about a half mile downstream of the rappel entry point given in the route description. At the current water levels, this actually drops you into the canyon in Clear Creek Reservoir, with a few hundred yards to swim upstream before you reach walkable ground, but its well worth the extra effort. Paddling up from the reservoir is also a nice option. In either case, head upstream as far as you wish, swimming, wading and hiking along this exquisite corridor. The hardest part will be deciding when you finally have to turn around.
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall

    I arrived home Sunday morning after having spent half the night running a train from Belen, New Mexico to Winslow. My youngest daughter, Morgan was just getting up and we had the day to ourselves since Mom was out of town visiting another daughter. Morgan decided that she wanted to go do some climbing, so we loaded up our gear, packed a lunch and headed out for the Winslow Wall. We took along one of Morgan's friends, Hunter. This would be his first time to do any rappelling or climbing so we were looking forward to a fun day.

    A note about the dirt road from hwy 99 to the parking area at the canyon: I have rated this road as a jeep road with a car being able to be used when it is dry. The road is pretty rough with sections of bumpy bedrock being the road surface. I regularly take a Toyota Corolla on this road with no problems. You just have to go slow.

    We arrived at the canyon a little before noon and dug our packs out of the trunk of my car. The wind was blowing and it was a little on the cool side but the sky was clear with no hint of rain. (This is something that you definitely want to consider when entering this canyon. It is a deep, narrow slot canyon with no quick or easy escape routes in the event of a flash flood.) We left the parking lot and headed down the well marked trail towards the small side ravine or crack that is used as an entry point into the canyon. I plugged new batteries into my GPS unit and fired it up so that I could mark the locations of a few points on the trail for reference in the hike description that I wanted to put together for this hike. Well that was a failure, the unit's screen kept going blank and freezing up so after a couple of attempts to get it running I just stuffed it into my pack and gave up.

    We quickly approached the entry crack and started our decent. Arriving at the ledge where the rappel anchors are located we dug out our harnesses and got ready to go. As usual there were several ropes already in place attached to the anchors and draped down the side of the cliff to the canyon bottom. I inspected the anchors and the rope that we wanted to use, making sure that everything was secure and safe. We had, as always brought our own rope with us, but again found that we would be able to use the ropes already in place. These ropes and anchors are installed by some climbing groups from Phoenix or Flagstaff and left in place for all to use. I have never seen any of the ropes be allowed to reach an unsafe level of wear before it is replaced. I don't know who puts them there but they are greatly appreciated! It is a great time saver not having to rig a rope for the rappel into the canyon.

    We could see from the rappel ledge that the stream flowing through the canyon bottom was at a higher level than we were used to seeing. This would mean that the easy top roping spot that we usually used would be inaccessible so our trip into the canyon would be just our rappel down, some exploring of the section of the canyon that we could get to and then our climb back out the same way we went down.

    We all descended and explored what we could of the canyon, had lunch and then started the climb backup to the parking lot. This canyon has some great bolted climbing routes in place and we have on occasion been able to enjoy watching some of the real rock climbers, inch their way up the cracks and bumps of the canyon walls.

    I am not a rock climber to speak of and I am unfamiliar with the difficulty ratings given to separate routes. I will pass along some information for those of you who are climbers so that you know a little better what this canyon has to offer in the way of climbing. The following information is from the book "Rock Climbing Arizona" A Falcon Guide by Stewart M. Green. The book was published in 1999 and I am sure that there are a lot of routes in place now that were not included in his book.

    West Wall
    King Snake - 5.9
    Hangin' Judge - 5.12, 185 foot, 3 pitch
    Black Juju - 5.8, 2 pitch
    Stick It - 5.10, 2 pitch
    Dark Star - 5.10, 2 pitch
    American Beauty - 5.10+, 2 pitch

    East Wall
    Cruise Control - 5.9
    Route 1 - 5.7
    Fallen Angel - 5.10
    Plunge Line - 5.9
    Stranger in Paradise - 5.10
    Flood Gates - 5.9R
    The Womb - 5.7

    This canyon is worth seeing from the canyon rim even if you are not a climber. For those who do want to venture down into the canyon, I will say that the scramble up the crack, to exit the canyon looks harder than it really is. There are lots of hand and foot holds and the opposing sides of the crack make it easy to bridge yourself across and work your way up. I have done it many times with kids as young as 10 along for the adventure as well.

    A word of caution:

    I will say that if you do take any young people along for this outing. You must have an adult that knows what they are doing, firmly in charge, with military style, total discipline in place. A brief moment of innocent horseplay at the wrong time could have tragic results. You must know how to safely rappel and also have the proper gear for the rappel and the climb out to enter this canyon safely.

    Permit $$
    None


    Directions
    Map Drive
    or
    Road
    FR / Jeep Road - Car possible when dry

    To hike & climb trip
    From Winslow at the corner of 2nd and Williamson Ave. head south on hwy 87 for 1.2 miles to the junction of hwy 87 and hwy 99. Turn left or east on hwy 99 to mile 7.5 from your start in Winslow to the junction of hwy 99 and Territorial Road that runs east from hwy 99. Stay on hwy 99 for about 300 feet past Territorial Road and you will cross a cattle guard and a fence line. Immediately turn right onto a narrow dirt road that follows the fence line in about a half a mile the road will fork, take the left fork that veers away from the fence line and follow this for about another quarter mile or so to the canyon rim and a small parking area and primitive camp site.
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