Three great Red Rock Canyon climbs

Red Rock Canyon is full of stellar climbs.
Photo: Wade Vandervort

1. The Hamlet (beginner)

Amongst Red Rock’s thousands of climbs, there’s something for everyone, whether you’re in your first year of climbing or your third decade. In the first pullout stands a colossal red wall named for Shakespeare’s tragedy. The area is perfect for beginners, with 16 different climbs named for characters or famous lines from Hamlet—like Rosencranz and Frailty Thy Name Is Sandstone—and ranging in grade from 5.6 to 5.10. The Hamlet offers two tiers, with the top tier comprised of 10 sport climbs and the bottom tier made up of six top rope climbs. Also, the high climber traffic has knocked loose most of the questionable holds over the years, leaving only the most sturdy.

2. Birdland (intermediate)

This 600-foot climb on Bridge Mountain comprises six pitches and is highly rated for the beautiful views it provides. Each pitch is rated 5.6 or 5.7, and climbers love it during the winter months, since it stays entirely in the sunshine during the day. Directions from MountainProject.com: Park at the Pine Creek trailhead and proceed west along the trail toward Mescalito. When the trail follows the wash and meets up with the red rock band on the right, divert off the main trail and start ascending a fainter trail that leads back up to the Spectrum and Brass Wall areas.

3. Levitation 29 (advanced)

Lynn Hill, most famous for making the first free ascent of El Capitan’s The Nose in Yosemite Valley, is regarded as one of the best female climbers in the sport’s history. When asked for her selection for the book 50 Best Climbs, however, she choose Levitation 29 over the Nose. “It’s in a beautiful setting,” Hill wrote. “There is lots of aesthetic movement. And the climbing is consistently in the 5.10 range, with only a short bit of 5.11 that can be aided if necessary. It’s the perfect all-day route.” Levitation 29 is a 1,000-foot ascent made of nine different pitches that require most of a day to conquer. It’s located on Eagle Wall in Oak Creek Canyon.

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