Arizona fire closures affect summer climbing access

Due to current increased fire danger, local land managers have instituted general closures of high risk areas, including some popular climbing areas.

Closed areas in Coconino National Forest include:

  • San Francisco Peaks
  • Mt. Elden
  • Kelly Canyon
  • Pumphouse Wash
  • The Pit
  • Bouldering above Lower Lake Mary

Closed areas in Kaibab National Forest include:

  • Bill Williams Mountain

Closed areas in Navajo and Apache counties include:

  • All state owned and managed lands, including Winslow Wall

Areas that remain open under Stage 2 Fire Restrictions:

  • Sedona
  • Oak Creek Canyon (except Pumphouse Wash)
  • The Overlook
  • Paradise Forks
  • Volunteer Canyon
  • Areas off of Woody Mountain Road
  • Priest Draw
  • Buffalo Park

Find more information at dffm.az.gov/fire-restrictions.

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NAZCC announces Priest Draw Adopt A Crag event

The Northern Arizona Climbers Coalition (NAZCC) will hold an Adopt A Crag event to help preserve Priest Draw on Saturday, June 9 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Projects will involve closing off the unsanctioned road leading south from the camping area (which will not affect climbing access) and finishing the base-stabilizing retaining wall at the Bat Roof.

Volunteers will meet at the trailhead at 10 a.m. wearing sturdy shoes or boots (no sandals), pants, and work gloves, if possible. Bagels and coffee will be provided.

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Find more information on the Facebook event page or at www.nazcc.org.

Flash Foxy announces dates for women’s climbing festival in Chattanooga, TN

Flash Foxy has announced it will hold its second annual Chattanooga women’s climbing festival October 12-14. Tickets go on sale July 1. Pricing and other details have not yet been announced.

Tickets are highly sought-after and sell out quickly. To prevent ticket scalping, Flash Foxy only allows the purchase of one ticket per person. If you plan on attending the Chattanooga festival, plan to purchase your ticket the minute they go on sale.

Arizona implements fire restrictions for wildfire season

To help prevent wildfires, the Arizona Department of Forestry and Fire Management has placed Stage II Fire Restrictions across Southern Arizona. As of Friday, May 4, Coconino County, home to popular climbing area Priest Draw, will move from Stage I Fire Restrictions to Stage II Fire Restrictions. In the past, failure to comply with Fire Restrictions has resulted in temporary closures of recreational areas.

According the the Coconino National Forest website, Stage II Fire Restrictions prohibits:

  • Fires, campfires, charcoal, coal, and wood stoves (except using a device that is solely fueled by liquid petroleum or LPG fuels that can be turned on and off in areas that are barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the device)
  • Smoking (except within an enclosed vehicle or building)
  • Using an explosives
  • Possessing, discharging, or using any type of firework by pyrotechnic device. Fireworks are always prohibited.
  • Operating a chainsaw or any other equipment powered by an internal combustion engine from the hours of 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. (except generators with an approved spark arresting device within an enclosed vehicle or building or in an area that is barren or cleared of all overhead and surrounding flammable materials within three feet of the generator).
  • Welding or operating an acetylene or other torch with open flame.
  • Operating or using any internal or external combustion engine without a spark arresting device properly installed, maintained, and in effective working order (this does not include motor vehicles. This is aimed at things such as landscaping tools).
  • Discharging firearms, air rifles, or gas guns (except while engaged in a lawful hunt pursuant to state, federal or tribal laws and regulations).
  • Possessing or using a motor vehicle off National Forest System roads. Vehicles must follow Travel Management Rule regulations and cannot drive/park over any vegetation at any time.

Find more information about Stage I and Stage II Fire Restrictions here.

Find news on where Fire Restrictions are being implemented here.

Thrash & Dangle Fest returns at Phoenix Rock Gym

Thrash & Dangle Fest has returned after a two-year hiatus and will be held at Phoenix Rock Gym on Saturday, April 21. Check-in starts at 3 p.m. and the competition will be held from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.. The competition is limited to 80 competitors. Registration currently costs $70. The price increases to $80 after Tuesday, April 10.

Open category competitors will be eligible for cash prizes. Other climbers will be categorized by age and will compete for other prizes. Score will be based on four bouldering problems and one top rope route.

For more information or to register, visit phoenixrockgym.com/comp/tdfest18.htm.

Sixth annual Beta Boulder Blast approaches

Beta Bouldering Gym will host their house bouldering competition Beta Boulder Blast 6 on Saturday, April 28. There will be giveaways, food, drinks, a raffle, and a $2,500 in cash prizes for podium winners in the open category. This competition will be the first to include Beta’s recent roof expansion.

Registration currently costs $40 for Beta members and $50 for non-members. The registration fee increases $10 on Sunday, April 8. Registration covers competition entry and a competition tee shirt. A food ticket for one entree, one side, and one drink from Wil’s Grill can be purchased for an additional $10. All proceeds go to Beta’s youth climbing team.

The competition schedule is as follows:

10 a.m. – Check-in/Registration Opens
11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Youth Comp (12 and Under)
1:30 p.m. – Youth Comp Awards
2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. – Adult Competition
5 p.m. – Food and Beverages
6 p.m. – Finals Competition
The Award Ceremony will follow Finals

For more information or to register, visit http://www.betaboulderinggym.com/beta-boulder-blast.

Oak Flat prayer site vandalized

Photo by Mike Schennum

A San Carlos Apache prayer site at Oak Flat Campground was vandalized when two crosses were removed, two others damaged with an axe, and ceremonial eagle feathers were left on the ground. Arizona’s Tonto National Forest is investigating the vandalism, which Apache Stronghold believes is linked to its protest of Resolution Copper’s plans to mine the copper ore beneath Oak Flat.

Find more information at azcentral.com.