Just past Milepost 9.9 and the Seven Cataracts Overlook, the road cut along the Catalina Highway (General Hitchcock Highway) forms two vertical cliffs on either side of the road. The climbing cliffs just uphill from this pullout are called The Green Slabs. There are a variety of traditional (‘trad’) routes on the south face and sport climbing on the north face. Here are a few photographs from the area.
Focus on the Rock, Coronado National Forest, AZ (12″x18″)
Green Slabs Cliffs and Highway, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x49″)
The southwest-facing cliff at The Ruins crag provides a great location for a pleasant day of winter climbing in southern Arizona. I wanted to capture the full size of the rock face, a little foreground at the base, and the mountains fading into the distance off to the south (right), so I ended up stitching together a series of stacked photographs for this double-tall panorama.
The Ruins Cliff, Coronado National Forest, AZ (20″x40″)
While climbing in January near the base of Mt Lemmon, I stopped at the mouth of a small canyon to take this vertical panorama of the rock, vegetation, and clouds.
Bush and Winter Clouds, Coronado National Forest, AZ (16″x38″)
Winter storms pound the southeast and northeast with snow, and here in Tucson we get a nice upper atmospheric ridge that suppresses all our moisture. I know, sunny and 85F in February sounds great, but we depend on our winter rains; so far I think I can count one or two small rain storms. While walking around Catalina State Park on one of those rare rainy days last month, I took this vertical panorama of one of my favorite old saguaros. It’s pockmarked and scarred, but somehow majestic as it towers over the trail. I also included a long-exposure photograph I took last winter of the top of the same saguaro as the clouds streamed by in the background.
After spending the morning climbing at Hairpin Turn at the base of Mount Lemmon, I decided to climb up a scree field to try to re-take a panorama I took last year around this time of year. This time, I chose to make the photo black and white and to use a yellow filter to make the wispy cirrus clouds pop out in the sky and to emphasize the texture of the rocks and cacti. This is another double-tall panorama, so a full-sized print would measure about 24″x48″.
Almost one year ago to the day, I went hiking on a rainy weekend up to the Romero Pools in Catalina State Park. The clouds were phenomenal for long-exposure photography at the Pools, but the sunset was also spectacular on the walk back down the mountain. The rain clouds reflected the golden light back at the ground, causing the entire mountainside to glow.