The Thumb from Campbell Trailhead, AZ

Guide 3 Triplogs Mine 0 0 Topics
4 of 5 
no permit
15 3 0
Warning! Technical climbing skills required. Risks include serious injury to death.  Risks are not eliminated by skill.
Climb Consensus (3) → View
Difficulty 5.2
Climb I Trad
Rock Granite Good
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Difficulty 4.5 of 5
Route Finding 3 of 5
Distance Round Trip 6 miles
Trailhead Elevation 2,976 feet
Elevation Gain 2,412 feet
Accumulated Gain 3,300 feet
Avg Time Round Trip 5-8 hours
Kokopelli Seeds 22.5
Interest Off-Trail Hiking & Peak
Backpack Possible - Not Popular
Dogs not allowed
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15  2018-11-03 jladderud
Author jladderud
author avatar Guides 1
Routes 12
Photos 17
Trips 79 map ( 692 miles )
Age 32 Male Gender
Location Tucson, AZ
Historical Weather
Trailhead Forecast
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Preferred Dec, Jan, Feb, Nov → Early
Seasons   Early Autumn to Late Spring
Sun  5:35am - 7:25pm
Official Route
0 Alternative
Historic Fire Perimeteracres
🔥 2020 Bighorn Fire119.5k
Nearby Area Water
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West of the Eroding Rubble
by jladderud

I've stared out my front door at this monolith for years and figured it was high time to try and stand atop it. I could not find any beta on the hike, so I went in somewhat blind, unsure if it was even possible to summit without climbing gear (spoiler alert: it is, though it does require 5th class moves and some bloodletting).

This summit is no joke. Reaching the top requires 5th Class (i.e., rock climbing) moves with exposure where a slip could result in severe injury or death. The approach offers no shade or water and is not recommended in the summer. Using a GPS is highly recommended to take advantage of the faint trail that exists for the first 1.5 miles of the approach. The trip time, distance, and elevation gain listed here are all approximate, given that I did a bit of wandering along the way.

This route is a continuation of the Campbell Cliffs hike (though it could also be accessed from Pima Canyon following the description for Prominent Point or Rosewood Saddle). Follow the well-cairned trail through the easement, into the National Forest land, up the steep hillside, along the Rosewood Saddle (with an optional, straightforward bushwhack up to Rosewood Point) past the break in the cliff band. Passing the break requires a little Class 3 scrambling. Also, be sure to note where you ascended the cliff break, preferably with a GPS, as it can be tricky to find again on your descent.

At this point, you will leave the trail and cairns and embark upon about 3/4 of a mile of bushwhacking through shin daggers, prickly pear, ocotillo, catclaw, and all other things pokey. Pick your line and head uphill towards the ridgeline and follow it to the backside of The Thumb.

From here, the line to the summit ascends a chimney on the northwest side of the summit block. In contrast to the eroding rubble around the northeast side of the block, the rock in this chimney was, in my opinion, relatively competent. However, you'll have to make that call for yourself based on conditions and risk tolerance. Ascending the chimney requires some easy, airy 5th class moves followed by a 4th class scramble. Soak up the views--I can't imagine many people visit this summit!

Descend by re-tracing your steps. A rappel down the chimney would not be inappropriate (though it is free climbable), but you'll need to construct your own anchor. I noticed some old webbing up there--DO NOT USE THIS (and make your anchor better than these folks did)!

Check out the Official Route and Triplogs.

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2018-11-05 jladderud
    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.

    Permit $$

    Map Drive
    Paved - Car Okay

    To hike & climb trip
    The trailhead is at the north end of Campbell. Pima County maintains the parking lot.
    page created by jladderud on Nov 05 2018 9:38 am
    90+° 8am - 6pm kills

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