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East Clear Creek - Winslow Wall
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mini location map2007-10-21
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East Clear Creek - Winslow WallNortheast, AZ
Northeast, AZ
Climbing avatar Oct 21 2007
Climbing2.00 Miles 300 AEG
Climbing2.00 Miles   4 Hrs      0.50 mph
300 ft AEG
Toprope I G  • Aid • 3rd Good • 80 Feet 1 Pitch
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
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.
Agave varietals
Kelly D. McLaughlin
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