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Finger Rock Summit, AZ

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Guide 6 Triplogs  0 Topics
Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson NW
5 of 5 by 2
Warning! Technical climbing skills required. Risks include serious injury to death.  Risks are not eliminated by skill.
Climb Consensus (2) → View
Difficulty 5.6
Climb I G Trad
Rock Granite Excellent
Length 85 ft 1 Pitch
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 7.5 miles
Trailhead Elevation 3,050 feet
Elevation Gain 3,420 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,800 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 6-7 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 26.5
Interest Off Trail Hiking, Seasonal Creek & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
feature photo
Photos Viewed All Mine Following
20  2016-05-06 rvcarter
31  2013-12-28
Finger Rock Guard 6475
27  2009-07-04
Mount Kimball via Finger Rock
Author rvcarter
author avatar Guides 33
Routes 304
Photos 2,146
Trips 236 map ( 1,436 miles )
Age 73 Male Gender
Location tucson, az
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
Expand Map
Preferred   Nov, Mar, Apr, Feb → 7 AM
Seasons   Autumn to Spring
Sun  6:08am - 6:29pm
Official Route
1 Alternative
Fauna Nearby
Flora Nearby
Named place Nearby
Give me the Finger Anytime!
by rvcarter

I’ve been hiking to Finger Rock Guard for several years now and each time peered over at the pinnacle that is Finger Rock with some fear (and some tightening of my lower stomach), and wondered what it would be like to actually climb it. For the first few trips, looking was enough. That lasted till a couple of years ago when a climber friend moved here from Colorado and got my hiking buddy and I interested in technical climbing. Then, each trip to the Guard, we would talk about how to get the gear up that long approach to the base, i.e., mules, unsuspecting (and younger/stronger) hiking friends, stashing equipment, etc. Each time, we would retreat down Finger Rock Trail, content with just reaching the Guard and making it back safely, a great achievement at this stage of our lives.

Then, we decided we would never get any younger or stronger, and finally bit the bullet on the first opportunity this year after hiking restrictions associated with the Bighorn sheep restoration project were lifted. Thanks a million to Mike for carrying the rope. Before going further, a little geography is helpful. Finger Rock is a remarkable rock pinnacle that resembles a finger sitting atop a closed fist, located in the Santa Catalina Mountains north of Tucson. It sits between (and is hidden from view by) two shear rock formations, on the west is Prominent Point and on the east is Finger Rock Guard. It is easily visible from the north and south. Exposure on these features is extreme. The top is very small; room enough for only two or three people, and is characterized by a teetering boulder about 4 feet long and a precariously positioned chockstone, beneath which is a 2x3 foot opening.

To get There
To get to the Finger Rock area, one hikes up the Finger Rock Trail # 42 about 2.5 miles to a 90 degree right hand turn and drops 200 feet into the canyon. From the departure point, the sometimes faint trail is not shown on any hiking maps. From the bottom of the canyon, one heads up to the saddle on the northeast side of the Guard and turns sharply left and scrambles up the class 3 slope, fraught with huge boulders, cacti, and bushes, to a poorly marked junction. Here, hikers going to the Guard take the left route up the rock chute and climbers going to the base of the Finger take the right route, descending initially and keeping left along the cliff face till reaching the west saddle between the Finger and Prominent Point. This is where the 80+ feet technical climb begins.

The Hike and Climb
Mountain Project (which rates this as a 3 star route) has good information about the climb, noting the original rating of 5.8 and the more recent consensus 5.6. It indicates that two pitches are needed, but our leader did it in one pitch, and we rappelled all the way down in one pitch with a 60 meter rope. I would argue that even the 5.6 rating is high, since I didn’t have any trouble climbing it in my hiking boots (forgot my LaSportivas). However, the exposure and topping out to moving boulders and chockstones with windows will make this climb unnerving to most people.

The climb is trad, but there is one eye bolt on the crux a few feet below the top and two excellent anchors with chains at the top. If you want to break it into two pitches, there is a pretty good ledge about half way up. Our leader placed protection at two points, one a ¾ inch camalot in the lower part, and clipped a quickdraw in the upper face eyebolt. Your leader may wish to place additional protection but a set of nuts and cams to one inch should cover most needs.

You should also check out bknorby’s excellent triplog and photoset for her December 28, 2013 ascent to Finger Rock. Her pictures make me think they had more photographers along (I don’t think the guys with me even own a camera). See also Finger Rock Guard for the nearby non-technical option. Regardless of which one you choose, the level of accomplishment is considerable, the views to the north and south are outstanding, and you will not soon forget going to either destination.

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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

2016-05-09 rvcarter
    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
    Finger Rock Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    The Triple Crown of Alvernon
    Since the beginning of the year I've been scheming of linking up Pontatoc Ridge, Mt Kimball, and Finger Rock. Now that the sheep closure is lifted, I did that today with an overdose of type-2 fun. I followed the Pontatoc Ridge trail, then bushwhacked up the (sometimes class-4 chossy) ridge line a couple miles to Little Kimball, hopped on the trail to summit Mt Kimball, then bush whacked down to Finger Rock and free soloed it before heading back down the Finger Rock trail to the trailhead. Highlights include seeing a Gila Monster and seeing a summit log entry from 1970 on Peak 5783. Lows included being dehydrated and feeling guilty about free soloing Finger Rock (I've done it before; but at this point in my life it seems unnecessarily risky--not doing it again). If any of you out there are crazy enough to try this link up, a couple (obvious) suggestions that I should have heeded: bring more than 2L of water, bring a buddy, don't free solo Finger Rock (Finger Rock Guard is a safer alternative).
    Finger Rock Summit
    rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5rated 5
    I just posted a description for the technical climb to Finger Rock so I won't include much here. Suffice it to say we had an outstanding, coolish day to hike up Finger Rock Trail and on to the Finger Rock. Good breeze, some would say windy in the afternoon, but the air was cool. The route after leaving the main trail was much easier to follow than last October, when grass was hiding it. When we first did this 7-8 years ago, there was not much to help find the trail, but now, cairns are present along the entire way. Outstanding day with 6 of my hiking friends from Saddlebrooke. Highly recommend the hike and the climb, but you need someone with technical climbing experience to lead the pinnacle climb. need some mules to carry the extra equipment. :)

    Permit $$

    Coronado Forest
    MVUMs are rarely necessary to review unless mentioned in the description or directions
    Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To Finger Rock Trailhead
    To reach the Finger Rock trailhead parking area from anywhere in Tucson, get to Ina road and follow it east until it becomes Skyline. Where Sunrise and Skyline diverge, enter the turn bay and turn left onto the continuation of Skyline. Follow Skyline until you reach north Alvernon and turn left (north). The turn at Alvernon is marked by a sign for the Finger Rock trailhead. Follow Alvernon north for just under a mile and the trailhead parking area will appear on the left (west).

    From PHX (I-10 & AZ-51) 112 mi - about 1 hour 49 mins
    From TUC (Jct 1-10 & Grant) 10.2 mi - about 24 mins
    From FLG (Jct I-17 & I-40) 256 mi - about 3 hours 54 mins
    page created by rvcarter on May 09 2016 10:21 am
    3 pack - loud whistle
    go prepared
    help comment issue

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