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Hiking Tour of Sven Towers and Hog Heaven

  • Dec 9, 2012 · 8:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members


This will be a hiking tour and introduction to the super rock climbing available at Sven Towers I, II, and III, as well as Hog Heaven. We will meet at the new Tom's Thumb Trail Head building. I'll put a note below on how to get there. Allow more time than you may think for the drive out there.

I will show you the couple dozen of routes and top rope set up locations. This information is not particularly available any where else and with climbing season upon us, I wanted to share part of what I have been working on for the past decade. Please be there promptly because I will be leaving the Trail Head on time.

While it will be primarily hiking, it would be a good idea to bring a harness with a rappel device and a helmet. There could be one or two places where it will be good to secure the party with a rope on the approaches.

We will hike to Sven Towers I, II and III in order, and then hike up to Hog Heaven, returning over the top by Goat Hill on East End. I anticipate that it may take a group 4 to 5 hours for the full loop.

Please be realistic about your fitness. Hiking Camelback should be pretty easy for you. These are not "belay off the car bumper" types of crags.

Bring at least 2 liters of hydration, snacks/lunch and appropriate layers of clothing. The "trail" is not a trail in the traditional sense but primitive so secure hiking footwear is required.

If everyone is feeling strong I'll add a loop going on past Tom's Thumb and down by Lost Wall, Half and Half, and Fort McDowell.

You'll come away with information that should allow you to access these great climbing areas and if you have the skills to top rope set up your own climbs in the future. Of course, lead climbers will have a whole new set of super climbs to tick off in your hands.

I sincerely hope lots of folks can make it. Contact me directly via the PM system if you have any questions.


AMC Land Advocacy Chair

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  • Erik F.

    Thanks, John and Cheryl. It was a good time. I'm always reminded how precious this Preserve is for us as a resource. We must continue to act in ways consistent with a Preserve ethic, which entails both treating the land sensitively, but also because of climbers being able to go into areas that others should not, we need to keep all of the Climber Access Routes very primitive and in no way encourage members of the general public to travel there. Besides safety concerns for humans, our hike reinforced the extreme imperative that we protect the habitat for the wildlife who share those spaces with us.
    It seems to me one standard of primitive is that if a horse can travel on a Climber Access Route, it is not primitive and has become a trail. We should not want that either for ourselves or for the land.

    December 11, 2012

  • cheryl b.

    Very thorough and informative. I'm glad we were able to extend the loop to include the climbing areas on the west side also. Thanks Erik!

    December 11, 2012

  • John V F.

    While a museum tour with a docent is educational, the same tour with the curator is inspirational. This tour was led by the cruator. Erik's knowledge of the climbing sites in the McDowell's reflects his decade long dedication to the identification, use, preservation, and ongoing accessablity of these awesome climbing sites. Thanks for a great experience!

    December 10, 2012

  • Erik F.

    We toured Sven Towers I, II and III, both the tops and bottoms. We also toured the Main Wall at Hog Heaven and the Upper Wall. Great stuff. Came over East End and down to the Tom's Thumb Trail, where some headed back to the car. I took the rest past Tom's Thumb to The Rist, Lost Wall, Half and Half Wall and Fort McDowell for a 6.5 hour tour. Total distance was about 6 miles.

    December 9, 2012

  • Erik F.

    Super day of hiking to climbing crags, identifying routes and anchors. AMC outings are a coming!

    December 9, 2012

  • Lisa Michelle R.

    Im sorry, I got my times mixed up! I thought we were going at noon haha

    December 9, 2012

  • Erik F.

    Paul and Deneshia,
    Sorry you can't make it. We'll have to schedule it again some time. And, Paul, I think I met your son at the AMC birthday party last year. Great kid.
    Enjoy the holidays.

    December 8, 2012

  • Erik F.

    Thank you, Cybele. Glad you could enjoy the fine granite on Beat Feet, but from the couple of times I've done it the Beat Feet name is quite appropriate! Hurting toes from toe jamming! I'm sure you will be able to join us some time in the future. Stay in touch.

    ...and folks here is an email I sent to the attendees yesterday but in case someone didn't get it...

    Hi folks,

    just a couple of last minute things. We may be joined by a few non-climbing types and I've configured the hiking/scramble route to take that into account. you don't need to bring harness, helmet, etc.

    light pack would be best.

    and maybe think 3 liters of water. it's still pretty warm out!

    one final thing... if you would like to receive electronic maps and route descriptions to the mcdowells that aren't really available anywhere else, please email me in reply to this email and ask that I put you on my distribution list.

    see you Sunday.


    December 8, 2012

  • A former member
    A former member

    Erik I have to say you are thoughtful and excellent organizer. Thank you for your hard work in the past year(s). My friend and I finally did Beat Feet and I was overwhelmed by the changes out there. Holy shmoley. Anyway.. I would come but I have to work Sunday.

    December 7, 2012

  • Erik F.

    Driving directions - take Pima to Happy Valley. Head east on Happy Valley and go through stop sign at Alma School. Continue to follow Happy Valley east. About at the 118th Street alignment it curves north. Continue north until you reach Ranch Gate Road. Turn right on Ranch Gate and follow it east to 128th Street. Turn right/south on 128th Street and follow it to the Tom's Thumb Trail Head.

    I've noticed that a fair number of folks don't realize how long it takes to drive there, so allow about half an hour from the intersection of the 101 and Pima Road in Scottsdale.

    December 3, 2012

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