Phoenix Arizona is such a unique city. Of course, it calls to the snowbirds in the winter because of the mild climate. During the summer months however…Phoenix is HOT. I mean it is hot! Like hot. Satan’s taint level hot. ‘But it’s a dry heat’ STFU! The average high in July is 106 degrees. In Phoenix during the summertime the goal is to stay in the AC or at least in the shade as much as possible. But we’re not here to talk about Phoenix in the summertime, we’re here to talk about Phoenix throughout the rest of the year, especially the winter.
The city is a gem, it’s this modern marvel of a metropolitan area built in and surrounded by the desert. Flying in and out of Phoenix offers the most amazing perspective of this skyline sprinkled with saguaro cacti, then beyond the outskirts is just nothing. It’s remarkable! The people in Phoenix have never been anything but lovely, the nightlife is lively, and the museums top notch. They have great restaurants, and theaters, as well as amusement parks. Aaaand, pretty much right in the middle of this unique urban desert is Camelback Mountain.
Camelback is a fantastic place for hiking, trail running, photography, and of course, rock climbing. The mountain does resemble a camel’s hump and head, so the name is apropos. There are nearly 100 routes with a good mix of trad, sport, and bouldering throughout this sedimentary rock and granite destination.
The views are spectacular, and for any out-of-towner, the wildlife and flora make for stimulating side quests. The elevation is 2,704 feet, and as you know the air is dry. Which means that you should pack lots of extra water and lozenges (I am all about Luden’s wild cherry cough drops if anyone is looking for lozenge recommendations).
There are some highly rated routes including The Flaming Testicle, Upshift, and Monk’s Chin. The grades go from easy to difficult, and so no matter what level of climber you are, you’ll be able to find something good at Camelback Mountain.
Now…after the climb, when your body is aching, and your tummy is grumbling there is one place for snackies that surpasses all other options! Joe’s Farm Grill is less than 40 minutes away and although it isn’t within walking distance, every cell in your body, and every piece of bacteria in your gut will shower you with gratitude for the feast you will obtain from Joe’s.
Joe’s mantra is “Common food done uncommonly well”. You need only take a glance at this menu to know how true that is. Joe’s Farm Grill is an old farmhouse converted into a restaurant surrounded by 12 acres of urban organic farming also known as Agrtopia. Farm to table means something when you are surrounded by the farm that most of the ingredients come from. ‘Fresh’ carries deeper connotation when you can see the plants where your meal originated.
Joe’s Farm Grill was featured on an episode of The Food Networks Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. Host Guy Fieri seems to have been equally as impressed as anyone who has ever had the opportunity to dine at Joe’s. The apps, salads, specialty fries, burgers, pizzas, milkshakes and cheesecakes, is all the fuel a climber could dream of after a day of sending on Camelback Mountain.
So, the next time you’re in Phoenix with a full rack and an empty tummy, you’ll know where to go. Camelback Mountain and Joe’s Farm Grill, a match made in heaven! Unless it’s summer, then just skip the rocks, and stick to the food!
Location: Phoenix Arizona
Crag: Camelback Mountain
Restaurant: Joe’s Farm Grill
Distance: 39 Miles Away