Climbing Guide – Beardsley Boulders – Phoenix, AZ
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Climbing Guide – Beardsley Boulders – Phoenix, AZ

Over Thanksgiving weekend I traveled to Phoenix, AZ to visit family for the holiday.  I had a few extra days to spare though, so I really wanted to get outside and explore a new climbing area. To be perfectly honest, I’d heard negative thing on top of negative thing about the local climbing scene in Phoenix, but descriptions like choss-pile, sharp as s*%t, and not worth the hike, are all used to describe some of my favorite places around Los Angles too, so I held out hope!  

After doing some research on Mountain Project and reaching out to a few locals I knew through Instagram, I settled on a trip to the Beardsley boulders near downtown. With a convenient location basically in the city, and a short approach, this seemed to be the best place for a quick trip, as I still needed to work around family obligations. 

Despite everything I had heard, I ended up having a great time at Beardsley!  There were plenty of quality problems, especially for those climbers in the v2-v5 range.  Nothing was too sharp or too breakable, and most problems had nice, flat landing areas.  I feel like this area deserves a bit more credit, as well as having potential for more exploration and development, thus I just wanted to give it a quick overview here and encourage people to head out there!

Getting There:  From the Phoenix area, get yourself to the intersection of the 101 and Cave Creek Road. Take Cave Creek North (towards the Cave Butte Rec Areas) for about .5 miles, then make a left on Lone Cactus Drive.  At the end of Lone Cactus, make a left onto N 121st street and park in the dirt lot where it dead ends.  

Approach: From the parking lot, there is a very obvious dirt trail leading up towards the base of the mountains and the boulder field. Within 10 minutes on this trail, you’ll come to your first boulders on the left. 

What to Bring:  Multiple boulder pads would be helpful on certain problems, but as many of the landing areas are clear and sandy you could easily have a fun day with only one pad.  Some of the problems are a bit slick or painted over with graffiti so a chalk brush is helpful. Otherwise, water, and sun protection (hats, clothes, sunscreen) are important as it’s a desert climate and there isn’t a lot of shade. 

Climbing: As I mentioned above, the Beardsley Boulder Pile seems to have a lot of quality routes in the V2-V5 range, as well as plenty of fun warmup climbs. Mountain Project has information on some classic problems/boulders that I can recommend including: everything on the Wiley Thompson boulder, the Monkey Lust boulder, and the Pencil Thin boulder.  These three areas in themselves are enough for a good day, but there is plenty more to explore! For a comprehensive map of dozens of problems, head to a Phoenix REI or the Focus Climbing Center and pick up a Marty Map.  For just a few dollars, you’ll be getting a great area guide, as well as supporting Marty Karabin and all his work for the Arizona climbing community. Win win! 

Let me know if you have any questions.  Otherwise, get out, explore, and don’t let the naysayers keep you down! 

Working a powerful sit start on the Wiley Thompson Boulder
Hitting the crux dyno (or technical static move if you're tricky) on Pencil Thin Flake, V5.
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