Climbing
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Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade V
Elevation Gain
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Distance
4.00 mi (6.44 km)
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Sedona is famous as a Southwest sandstone paradise, and the Queen Victoria is one of its crown jewels. This prominent spire is among the most popular in the area because of its iconic summit, moderate difficulty, and relatively easy access.

In fact, the "Queen Vic" is a popular first foray into the wild world of Sedona climbing. Sedona is renowned among climbers for its high concentration of quality towers and picturesque red rock walls, scaled via sandy slab and cracks of all widths (love them or hate them). It is also known for adventure climbing--long, hot approaches through prickly desert scrub, route finding, and questionable rock quality. The Queen Victoria, however, maximizes all the positives about Sedona while minimizing the negatives. Of course, if the negatives don't sound like negatives to you, then the rest of Sedona will be your perfect playground.

The Queen Vic is only three short pitches, and there is a 5.7 crux at pitch three where you have to stem/pull up into a corner with a wide crack, then mantle over the top. The rest of the climb is fun 5.6 to 5.7 chimney climbing through Sedona's finest red rock. Anchors are bolted, as is a separate rappel route. The summit situates you on top of Schnebly Hill, the first toothly ridgeline visible when exiting Oak Creek Canyon between Flagstaff and Sedona, and it gives commanding views of the canyon to the north as well as Sedona to the south.

Route Description

The climb begins on a rock shoulder that forms the east flank of the tower. The first pitch is a nice low-angle chimney for about 80 feet to a two-bolt anchor. The second pitch traverses around and up the south face through some easy ledges, then up into a corner in the limestone band. This is the crux. Protect it with a 4-inch cam and add a 5-inch cam a bit higher for extra comfort. After pulling over the top, continue walking up and left across a brushy ledge to a one-bolt anchor that can be backed up with gear. The third pitch follows the obvious blocky chimney directly above then tops out a few slabby boulders to gain the summit. Stretch out under the sun and enjoy the views! From the two-bolt anchor on the summit, rappel to the climber's right of the climbing route. With a single 60-meter rope, descend to a separate two-bolt anchor in the limestone band, then reset another rappel to get to the ground. Two 60-meter ropes will reach the ground from the summit if you toss your line a bit further to climber's right. Watch out for loose rocks on rappel and especially when pulling your ropes.

Gear

This is a technical rock route with only natural protection. You will need at least one 60-meter rope, harnesses, belay/rappel devices, and a standard rack of trad gear to 4 inches, but 5-inch gear won't go to waste if you want to zip up the crux. And don't forget helmets for everyone in your party. Although the climbing follows mostly solid terrain, this is still Sedona, so be always prepared for loose rocks.

Approach

From Hwy 179 in Sedona, take Schnebly Hill Road for about 1.5 miles until it turns to dirt. There is a large parking lot with pit toilets on the left. To continue driving from here, four-wheel drive and high clearance is recommended. Continue along the road for another mile until you reach a sloped pull off on the left next to a creek. An obvious roof feature is visible in the rock across the creek from this pull off. From here, follow the trail up to the right for about 50 feet, then traverse up and over to gain the wash above the roof. Follow this wash upstream until it intersects the regular trail (Cowpies Trail), then turn left on this trail and follow it for about 15 minutes. It will eventually turn and head northwest toward the Queen Vic visible above you. Keep an eye out for a fainter trail that heads uphill to the right as you get closer to the tower. If you descend into a bouldery part of the trail that points you back to the west, you have gone a bit too far. Follow the faint trail up a steep slope with some fourth-class scrambling until you gain the ridge and the base of the Queen Victoria. Total time should be 30 to 45 minutes.

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

Moderate

Parking Pass

General Day Use Fee

Pros

Classic climb. Famous Sedona views.

Cons

Crowds. Heat. Cactus.

Pets allowed

Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

4,580.00 ft (1,395.98 m)

Net Elevation Gain

650.00 ft (198.12 m)

Features

Rock climbing
Big vistas
Wildflowers

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest
Red Rock District, Coconino National Forest

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