Climbing Sites

Approved Climbing/Rappelling Sites

The following are sites that have approved by the Catalina Climbing Committee. The information is organized by general location. Click on the general location link to jump to the approved sites in that area:

Dragoons: Sweet Rock

Mt Lemmon: Windy Point

Lawton Cliffs




Dragoons – Sweet Rock

Located just north of Tombstone, AZ.  This site offers the ability to camp near the site, but also offers an easy day trip.  Being a low elevation (4500 ft), it is best used mid-Fall through mid-Spring.

The site offers both climbing and rappelling for levels from beginner to advanced. The beginner rappel is on an rock outcropping to the east of Sweet Rock (the large,prominent rock face).


The beginner rappel route is bolted and has an easy rolling take-off and is approximately 60 feet to the bottom.  This route provides climbs as well, however, it should be noted that the first 6 feet of the climb is very difficult for beginners as the hand and foot holds are few and far between.   A boost, or use of a small ladder will help new climbers to negotiate to better hold locations.

On the opposite side of the rock outcropping there is a more advanced 75 foot rappel that has a small negative for the last 20 feet.  The anchor point is also bolted.

Sweet Rock offers climbs that are bolted, but have not been Climbing Committee approved.  Also on top of Sweet Rock there are several bolts that can led to rappels of 150 to 160 feet.  These routes have not been Climbing Committee approved.


Directions from Tucson:

  1. Head east on I-10
  2. Take exit 303 into Benson, then take HWY 80 south towards Tombstone.
  3. Just after the Border Patrol Checkpoint/ HWY 82 junction you will see a sign for Middlemarch Rd. Turn east on Middlemarch Rd.
  4. Continue on Middlemarch Rd for 10 miles.  You will cross a cattle-guard and fence line that marks the Coronado National Forest boundary.
  5. Just a few feet after entering Coronado National Forest you will see FR 687 on the left (north) turn onto FR 687 and travel 2.5 miles.
  6. After 2.5 miles on FR 687, you will see a fence line with a cattle guard.  To the right should be Forest Road 4827.  Passenger cars can easily travel to this point.  High clearance vechiles are recommended on FR 4827.   Take FR 4827 to the site.

Directions map.

Mt Lemmon – Windy Point

Located at the Windy Point Vista on Catalina Hwy. The site has designated parking. No camping in the immediate area.  Perfect location for a day trip. The climb/rappel site is bolted and is good for beginners.  This rock face is locally known as the “Practice Wall”.    While the rappel is simple, the take-off relatively easy, many beginners can be intimidated due to the fact that to the left of the rappel is a scenic view of the valley, 1000 feet below.  This location is considered high altitude, between 6000 and 7000 feet in elevation, and is better used in the warmer months.

The height of climb/rappel is 70 feet.

Directions map.

Mt Lemmon – Lawton Cliffs

The Lawton Cliffs are located south of Camp Lawton. They are accessed one of two ways: 1. A trail out of Camp Lawton that starts just south of the Chapel and passes just north of the shooting range. This trail is well defined until leaving Camp Lawton, then it becomes much more obscure, by design to prevent regular access by Scouts. 2. There is a trail that leads to the cliffs from Camp Zion, departing from the archery range.

The cliffs are bolted for top rope climbing as well as rappelling. These bolts are regularly inspected by the climbing committee.

There are varying levels of difficulty in both the climbs and rappels. The middle routes have been measured at 65 feet. All of the rappel take offs are simple and suitable for Scouts. It is recommended that a handline be used for the climb out from the base of the cliffs back to the top.

This location is considered high altitude, between 7000 and 8000 feet in elevation, and is better used in the warmer months. It should be noted that the base of the cliffs border designated wilderness and should be treated appropriately.