what if you do not sync the catalog to the cloud? Is there anyway to sync the photos from the phone directly lightroom classic (desktop)?
Only collections that you make in your Lightroom desktop are synced to the cloud and can be accessed on the mobile device, same goes for syncing from the mobile device, you can make collections and those collections will be synced to lightroom.adobe.com and can be accessed in the desktop version of Lightroom Classic CC through the catalog.
It is not possible to sync and access images without a catalog.
Connect your phone to your computer with its charging cable. Start Lightroom Classic and press the import button. The iPhone should now be visible in the import dialog just like any other camera.