Hopefully be there for work a week in April. Might have a spare day. Never been to that state (or any other of the States as it happens) and while I know there's lots of photogenic rock is there anything really good for climbing? Or is it all crumbly crap? What I've got in my imagination is a big classic trad route on a desert tower or in a canyon, say between 5.8 and low 5.10 Preferably near-ish to Phoenix, or at least between there and the Grand Canyon. Am I barking up the wrong tree, or can such a thing be found? Thanks.
Dan, if you lived in the States the above answer would've been funny...seeing as you're coming from far away, let me give you something more constructive. AZ is probably the 4th or so state in the lower 48 as far as quality of rock climbing goes...what tickles your fancy Dan? You like granite domes or sandstone towers?
Two places we like going to are Sedona (~1.5hrs north of Phoenix) and Cochise near Benson, AZ (about 3 hrs SE of Phoenix). Others will offer many additional ideas (Paradise Forks = basalt single pitch crack climbing for ex):
Oh and you should get those visions of Dirty Harry scaling the Totem Pole out of your head - the Navajo will throw you in jail for climbing their shit.
There's a shitton of other climbing, much of it right in the Phoenix suburbia...but if you want quality multipitch, put in a bit of driving.
An OK guidebook to the whole state is Rock Climbing Arizona by Stewart Green ....marginal in quality but the best for the state as a whole. If going for Cochise, check mountainproject.com and you can just download the best topos out there for free.
if you only have a day in Sedona, you should do the original route on the Mace tower (check the summitpost page). It's popular for a reason! Most (like me) need big cams on it though (off width crux); short approach. 2nd favorite tower is the Oak Creek Spire. Also a 5.9+ (longer approach; used to be a good map/sketch of it on MP.com) but it has this wild jump across move on the last pitch (very unique!). there's beta for both on summitpost & mountainproject. pm me if you need any more specifics.
No problem & cheers! When we're trying for the Old Man Of Hoy, I'll bombard you with questions!
In mid-April, most things will be opening up in the high country (Sedona is a lower altitude but still doable).
Sedona has some decent rock and some crap. You have to really choose.
Oak Creek Canyon (between Sedona and Flagstaff) has a mixture of sandstone and columner basalt. There are some longer stuff on sandstone, and one of the best cragging cliffs that no one has heard about (unless you are from Arizona) is the Oak Creek Waterfall, though most of the routes are on the harder side (the routes are between 5.10 and 5.13 with the vast majority of the routes between 5.11 and 5.12).,
In the north country by Flagstaff is a really good place to hang out (especially by then) called Paradise Forks http://www.summitpost.org/mountain/rock ... Forks.html . The climbing is very high quality climbing (some of the locals who lead trad deep into the 5.13's prefer Paradise Forks to Indian Creek if you can believe that) with very high quality climbs in the 5.9 and 5.10's (especially on the Pillow Wall (though shorter), and the Prow and some stuff scattered between the Davidsons Wall (although some of the best climbs are located here and on the Prow) and Gold Wall. The area is also heavy in 5.10's and 5.11's (and quality 5.12's but that is outside the posting question)
A note for those reading this in mid March: as of last week the road was pretty difficult to do with high clearance 4WD. I'll be checking the access with a Subaru before the weekend (3/20) unless i'm in Indian Creek. By next week the access should be acceptable. Otherwise as of a week ago you could get within 2 miles and then ski in.
Prescott has some good climbing (ie: Granite Mtn) but the areas will be closed then due to raptor nesting, expect toopen mid-July to mid-August.
Offwidth crux eh? Hmm, we Brits are renowned for our abilities on such things. And jamming too, we're great at that. Think I might be in for an interesting time. But it looks like exactly the sort of thing I had in mind.
r.e. Old Man of Hoy; any time, just ask. I can only tell you about the easy route though...