I actually remembered this area from an exploratory hike I did when passing through Tucson 14 years ago and never forgot the giant water-polished boulders. For this trip I asked some locals about the place and I was told it wasn't very good, they had never been and/or the other areas where much better. I started thinking my memories from all those years ago was wrong but fortunately I ignored the naysayers and went back to do some ground truthing only to discover that my memory had indeed served me well.
Redington Pass turned out to be my favorite of the lower elevation areas around Tucson as the climbing, rock and setting are all exceptional and the access is casual. Several of the best problems I did around Tucson were here and to my surprise the best of them where first ascents. It boggled my mind that such good problems had been overlooked for so long but hopefully that will change. I'd venture to say that Tanque Verde is not to be missed for the visiting boulder and is considerably better than the heavily trafficked Hairpin at the base of Mt Lemmon.
If you do go to Tanque Verde be aware that this is a nudist spot so you can let it all hang out or at the very least not be bothered if others do. Perhaps the reason the place is under the radar is because folks are scared off by birthday suits.........
Here are some photos
Climbing rocks and building sand castles. Redington actually ended up being an optimal place for the family as this spot is next to the main cluster of boulders. Not a bad way to spend a winter's day.
The waterfall just downstream from the bouldering. When we first visited this area we hiked up the canyon be we later realized there is a well established trail that drops you above this waterfall and right at the boulders. The canyon was a nice hike but the trail make the approach easier.
Prairie on a rad steep line out the belly of a massive boulder. This problem was just big moves on jugs from the stand and I added an obvious sit-start that is considerably harder. It is once again surprising that this is a first ascent but unless I hear otherwise I'm calling it Pants Off Dance Off. There are a couple impressive projects to the right that could be proper hard and definitely worthy.
The Pictured Boulder is a little further up canyon and had a couple impressive lines on it with the two best being listed as projects. Three of us spent the better part of 3 hours trying to figure out beta on the best one and in the end managed to crack the improbable sequence and establish Don't Get Chicked.
Jesse discovered that if you lay your leg on the starting self you can reach/use the horrible holds higher up and Prairie cracked the best beta for the final crux move. I thought Prairie was going to do this thing before me (thus the name) but she had to return two days later for her ascent.
Another line just to the right of Don't Get Chicked brought be back to the Pictured Boulder and ended up being just as good as its neighbor but very different climbing. There wasn't as much subtleties on this one as it just took some big pulls on decent holds. I also sit-started this one under the big rail and realized Chicked could be started here as well. I called the problem Don't Get Dicked.
Of the established problems at Redington Pass my favorite might be Red Arete for its unassuming nature and fantastic climbing. It packs quite a lot of climbing in a small space and offered some pleasing movement.
Prairie on the steep beginning of Red Arete and then navigating the polished pinches that make the crux.
Tall Smooth White One was the name appropriately given to this massive boulder. Apparently the lines hadn't been done on this block which seems hard to believe as 3 of the 4 problems I did were in the lower grades. Maybe the height has scared people off but it still seems presumptuous to claim the first ascents without a more thorough survey of the locals.
These are the two best problems we did on the Tall Smooth White One and they are sweet. The one on the left had just enough hold on perfect rock and is by far the hardest of the 4 problems we did (I'm calling it Clothing Optional if it hasn't been done before). The photo on the right shows Prairie using some of the amazing water polished features of the other problem we dubbed Smoothie.
A parting shot overlooking Tanque Verde. Will be psyched to get back to this awesome spot.