Hot! Welcome to Queen Creek Canyon

October was our first month back at Oak Flats, the bouldering area in the Queen Creek Canyon. Just past Superior, Arizona, this area has hundreds of boulder and sports routes, plus it is only 45 minutes from Phoenix. It is also an active mine area and access to the land has been in a controversial give and take for years. Another winter season in QC is always something to look forward not only because it means summer is over, but because the mine could close the area to us at any time.

Because of this, Steve, Dale and Brian are always on the look out for new rock. One weekend, we drove to the edge of the mine boundaries and found a few nice rocks along the drive. Seeing more in the distance, we bushwacked in a giant circle into the valley, only to find choss. Disappointing. We bouldered the nearby rocks, our fingers still getting used to the infamously sharp QC granite, then decided to check out the other side of HWY 60.

A side road on the north side of the freeway followed the power lines to the main power station. Just before the road ended, we spotted a promising spire with a black rain-washed stripe. The sun was starting to set making the landscape dramatic, so we hurried down the wash and up the hill. Steve jumped on the spire before we could get the crash pads down, and gave the route a thumbs up. We were buzzed, not just by the boulder potential, but by the hum of electricity from the power poles.

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