Finger Rock (a.k.a. Bill Williams Memorial)

 

This freestanding rhyolite pinnacle is located on the western slope of Bill Williams Mountain, near Williams, Arizona. The pinnacle is about 80 feet high and is visible from Interstate 40 to the west of Williams near the Devil Dog Road exit. Climbing on Bill Williams Mountain (elevation 9255 feet) is best in the late spring, summer and fall.

 

Approach

To approach the pinnacle, drive about five miles south from the center of Williams past the ski area to the road leading up to the fire lookout atop Bill Williams Mountain. Turn right (west) onto the well-graded dirt road that leads up to the summit of Bill Williams Mountain. As you drive up the mountain, you will encounter a small pullout on the left (west) side of the road at 5.3 miles. A sign “Finger Rock” designates this parking area. A short trail leads out to an overlook with a view of the pinnacle. To approach the pinnacle, continue 1/10 mile further up the road toward the fire tower and park in the next pullout on the left (west) side of the road.

 

From the upper pullout, angle slightly down and right (north) from the west (left) side of the road. You will encounter numerous small cliff bands that can easily be avoided, and you will have glimpses of the pinnacle through the trees. The approach takes about 20 minutes.

 

Routes

Original Route (north face) 5.9 FA: Mark Powell, Don Wilson, Bill “Dolt” Feuerer 1957

This route was supposedly done on the way to climb the first ascent of the Totem Pole in Monument Valley. Bring one 60 meter rope, RPs, wires and cams up to #3. Scramble up to the saddle on the north side of the pinnacle. Go 30 feet downhill (northwest) from the saddle to a small talus field.

Pitch 1: Climb an obvious crack up a broken corner for 20 feet. Angle left up a bushy ramp for 30 feet until you are below an obvious vertical crack. Face climb up along the thin vertical crack past fixed knifeblades (crux) to a ledge below the summit blocks. Work up and right through the blocks to the summit and a rappel anchor. Descent: Rappel with one rope. You may want to bring a 20-foot length of sling/rope to reinforce the anchor.

 

South Face   5.9 FA: Scott Baxter, Lee Dexter 1967

Bring one 60 meter rope, cams to #3 (extra #1&2) and some slings. Start near a fir tree at the southeast corner of the tower.

Pitch 1: Climb up an obvious, moderate dihedral to its top (5.7). Go up and left under a block to a nice ledge (possible belay here). Climb the steep thin hands crack above the ledge (crux) to the summit blocks. Worm up and left through the blocks to the summit and a rappel anchor. Descent: Rappel with one rope down the north face. You may want to bring a 20-foot length of sling/rope to reinforce the anchor.

Above: Looking northwest toward Finger Rock from just downhill of the parking area on the road to the summit of Bill Williams Mountain.