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Mount Lemmon / Druid, AZ

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Rated  Favorite Wish List AZ > Tucson > Tucson N
3 of 5 by 1
Warning! Technical climbing skills required. Risks include serious injury to death.  Risks are not eliminated by skill.
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Preferred   Sep, Aug, May, Jun
Sun  6:07am - 6:28pm
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8  2016-06-22 rvcarter
8  2016-06-15 rvcarter
Climb Section

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Rated Difficulty Route Pitches Trips
5.8 Admiral Throckmorton160 ft1
5.8 Bloodly Likely2
5.9 Corporal Punishment160 ft1
5.11c Equinox
5.8 In Lightning2180 ft2
5.10d Lights Out175 ft1
5.10c Lord Fowelsbain
5.9 Of Mice And Men
5.9 Pneumatic Bliss
5.11d Roman Opposition
5.5 Rupley's Believe It Or Not
5.11b The Pagan
5.11d Thingfish
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Likely In-Season!
Due to the heat at lower elevations, we recently explored some new possible climbing crags on the upper part of Catalina Highway. One of these is not far from the Outcroppings, a nice crag also reached from this parking area. The origin of the name is unknown to me, but it sounded intriguing and seemed to have a short approach, morning shade, and several routes in our wheelhouse, so we tried it. I will admit that you will need more details than I have presented here to make plans for your trip, such as those presented in Mountain Project and in Squeezing the Lemmon III. My main impression, after one day on the nearly 8,000-foot rock, is that the routes are generally confusing and chaotic, but well worth the trip, even if you have some difficulty in figuring out the wall.

Walk back up the road about 200 feet and turn west into the Showers Point Group Campground entrance. Continue through the campground and turn up the fire road at the water tank (where the camp host’s rig is parked), then turn left onto a nice path which you follow to the top of the crag. The routes are reached by going left or right around to the west and south sides; neither is a very easy scramble from this point. SQL III has the approach at 15 minutes, but it is a pretty easy 0.6 miles and took us less time.

We started by toproping from the chains at the top of Corporal Punishment and Admiral Throckmorton, both 5.9s. It’s a fairly easy class 4 scramble, but with some exposure, over from the side to setup at this point. Only Bob made it over the bulge at the top of both routes. Our next thought was for Bob to lead from these chains up to another set of chains that a number of routes run through, namely Bloody Likely, In Lightening (the 3-star attraction on this wall), and Admiral Throckmorton, on their way to the top. Each of these three routes is two pitches. So, Bob did the 8/9 lead up, started rigging the anchor…. then I realized it was more than 100 feet. In other words, the rope was a good 25 feet from the base. Even a 70-m rope would be too short. Moral of the story is “Don’t go rapping down without making absolutely sure the rope is on the ground”.

We decided that Bob would rap down to the anchors used earlier, clean his hard earned gear placements and draws on the way, and hop/bounce over to a lower set of chains about 85 feet up at the top of Lights Out at 10 Candles Out at 11, a route that seemingly goes no further. That opened up several routes that we could finish on, with some meandering, including The Gripes of Wrath (called The Grips of Wrath in MP), Of Mice and Men, Lord Fowelsbain, and Bron-yr-aur. As you can see, route naming is an art form all its own.

What is so confusing is why the routes meander and cross over each other so much. One reason may be that most of the routes are two pitches and there is a dearth of places to belay from between the two. At any rate, be prepared to take some time in figuring out how you want to attack this wall. Next visit, we plan to set up a toprope for In Lightening and some of the other nearby routes. Mountain Project has some suggestions for setting up its belay station.

Druid offers something to climbers of many skill levels : on the main (west-facing) wall are 1-5.5, 2-5.8s, 4-5.9s, 4-5.10s, 5-11s (you Alex Honnold’s out there will not be challenged but the 8s and 9s were plenty hard for me).There are another 5.8, a 5.11, and 2-5.12s on the back (south) side. The protection (where available, and where we could see) is solid. There are interesting bulges/roofs to maneuver over on some routes, and there is a good mix of sport and trad. The rock is good, but watch for seams of lichen which makes for poor footing. SQL III has some excellent topos, but figuring out the routes and the sequence of bolts on some routes will still be a challenge.

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2016-06-17 rvcarter
  • sub-region related
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
Mount Lemmon / Druid
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Bob and I gave Druid a second chance. Our goal was to toprope from anchors at the top of the lip. Surprise, surprise, there are no top anchors for In Lightning. There is only one set of anchors in the vicinity, and they are 20 feet to the left and would be helpful only for Lights Out or Bron-yr-aur. So after rigging from a huge boulder at the top (see picture), we used a doubled 100 foot rope to reach over the draggy lip, then tied our two 200 foot ropes together to do the 2 pitch climb all at once. From this position we were able to do all of In Lightening at one time, about 175 feet. That made it a very tiring route, so we only did a few climbs. Belaying with the significant rope drag was also an effort. We managed passing the knot by attaching a second belay device above the knot while the climber was in a safe zone and still attached to the first belay device.

Druid is a difficult setup for toprope. All of the routes appear to lean mixed or trad climbing. If you are a confident 5.8 or 5.9 leader, you'll do ok on the moderate routes. But, this is a confusing wall.
Mount Lemmon / Druid
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The wall has PM sun, but belayers will have shade all day. Nice, mostly two pitch, crag with some interesting, some might say confusing, routes that stop in the middle of nowhere, and cross over each other at will. Some good additional information on Mountain Project and in Squeezing the Lemmon III, without which I think one would have a hard time figuring out how to attack the wall. Next time we visit, we'll explore toproping opportunities, but I had a hard time seeing exactly where to drop a rope over the edge. Also, the belay stations are few and far between, meaning you'll have to use the anchors and chains at mid wall which have poor footing. However, the easy approach and cool temps at nearly 8000 feet will mean lots of use on Summer weekends. Based on Bob's grunting and panting while on lead, I would expect the leads to be a little harder than similar grades at, say, The Havens. I suggest starting/warming up with the two toprope routes over the bulge and go from there. Lovely view down Palisades Canyon, worth the trip out by itself.

One last thing, the FS does not want people to park in the Showers Point CG, but the camp host we talked to did not mind one dropping off gear at the water tank if the gate is open, which saves a couple hundred yards of carrying a heavy pack. There are climber's paths around both sides of the crag to the west and south walls. Both are hard, but they are short.

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Coronado Forest
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Coronado Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUMs)

Map Drive

To climb trip
Turn left (west) off Catalina Highway at milepost 19.4 onto Organization Ridge Road; the Palisades Ranger Station/Visitor Center is just past the turn off. Go past the Scout camp facilities, and park at the trailhead for the Palisades Trail #99. (this is also the parking spot for the Outcroppings and Boy Scout walls.) Parking along the road is discouraged.
page created by HAZ_Hikebot on Jan 13 2010 12:35 pm
3 pack - loud whistle
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