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Climbing

The Southern California area has some of the best climbing in the United States. Small crags dot the area, while famous locations such as Joshua Tree, Red Rocks, and Taquitz draw international climbers. The greatest asset to our local climbing is the fine weather. The lack of rain and warm temperatures make many crags worthy of climbing all year. Areas such as Taquitz, Suicide, and Williamson that get snow in the winter become excellent summer locations as the deserts heat up.

The descriptions in the following pages are by no means complete guides to any area. This guide only hopes to introduce some of the many areas in Southern California. The routes suggested are usually moderate lines, often good for groups. It is assumed that the 5.11 climber will know the locations and classic routes already. Needless to say, any trip should bring along the guidebook listed in the trip description.

 

Apple Valley

Highlights:

Sport climbing on Josh-like rock not too far from campus.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Rock and Ice #61 - May/June '94

Directions:

Take I-10 east to I-15 north. In Victorville take either Bear Valley Cutoff (more stoplights) or Hwy. 18 (D Street) East. Most of the climbing is right where Bear Valley Cutoff merges into Hwy. 18. To get to The Pecker in the Desert, continue on 18 east until Lucerne Valley. In Lucerne Valley take "Old Woman/ Hwy. 247" east until Camp Rock Road. Turn left (north) on Camp Rock Road. Camp Rock will become dirt. 8.6 miles after the junction of 247 and Camp Rock, turn right on a dirt road under the power lines. After 2.9 miles turn left - look for a rock cairn pointing left. Don't turn on the many spur roads before the 2.9 mile mark. Rough road will bring you to the Pecker.

Description:

Apple Valley has some excellent and relatively unknown climbing. The routes are quickly growing and no guidebook covers them yet. The best bet is to grab a copy of Rock and Ice #61. OTL should have several copies of the article. At the main area, called Deadman's Point, many routes can be done. Split Pillar has a classic 5.8 as well as 4 5.11's. The 5.8 is just to left of the split in the rock on the arete. Roof Rock has a fun 5.8 and some good 5.10's. The left 5.7 and 5.8 as described in Rock and Ice no longer have bolts and require tricky pro. Excellent bouldering can be found below Roof Rock by the dirt road. The Pecker in the Desert (called Hercules' Finger in R&I) offers some of the best but most isolated climbing in the area. Follow the directions out to the Pecker if you have a truck. The amazing Pecker fits its name and offers some great arete climbing up its sixty food pillar. The Pecker has 4 bolted routes. The 5.7 on the north side offers an easy way to the top. The south side has a great 11c and 12c which can be lead or top-roped after leading the 5.7. Deep Creek Hot Springs are not far from Apple Valley. To reach the springs take Bear Valley Cutoff west and turn south on Central Rd. Central brings you to Roundup Wy. between Kiowa and Bowen Ranch Rd. - see "Deep Creek Hot Springs" for directions from Roundup.

Safety Notes:

Apple Valley is very undeveloped, so plan on being self-sufficient. Don't stray onto private property, you can jeopardize the access of the crags and risk getting shot at.

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Big Rock

Highlights:

A close climbing location with lots of easy and moderate sport routes. A good place to learn to lead.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Sport Crags in Southern California, Climber's Guide to Southern California

Directions:

Take I-10 East to I-15 South. After a mile or two, take 60 East to Riverside. Stay on the 60 as I-215 joins from the North and 91 intersects. Take I-215 South when it branches off. Follow this for about 10 minutes to Romona Expressway. Turn left and follow Romona past the Lake Perris dam and around the back of a large hill. Behing the hill at the end of the straightaway is a left turn. Park on this road just before the gates if you want to avoid parking fees. Walk down the road and turn left when you pass the fee collection site. Follow this paved road along the shore of Lake Perris until you see Big Rock on your left. A picnic table and outhouse are at the base of the rock. It takes about 45 minutes to get to Big Rock. The walk to the climbs is only about ten minutes.

Description:

Big Rock has 34 routes - almost all of them bolted. Most routes are in the 5.6-5.9 range, but a few 5.10's and 5.11's exist. See the guidebooks mentioned above for route descriptions (Sport Crags is better). The rock is a giant slab so almost all the routes are face climbs, although one crack and 2 dihedrals can be climbed. Some of the routes up the middle are two pitch (considered different routes by the guidebooks). Most routes can be top-roped, but must be led to do so. Pro is needed above The Roof, Boogaloo, Boogaloo Direct, and Wednutt to set anchors. Big Rock can be very crowded on weekends. Go on weekdays or leave early unless you want to wait in lines. The rock overlooks Lake Perris and extensive bouldering opportunities exist. Camping is allowed at the less-than-pristine picnic area between the parking area and Big Rock. The sites are for groups only and must be reserved in advance. The trail above the climbing area is used by mountain bikers, but is very short.

Safety Notes:

Watch for poison oak (especially at the base of the right most climbs). Rattlesnakes are also very common at Big Rock. If you leave food out while you climb squirrels will be happy to help you finish it.

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Corona Del Mar

Highlights:

Bouldering on the beach. Sun, sand, surf, cliffs...

Relevant Guidebooks/Maps:

Climber's Guide to Southern California, Southern California Bouldering Guide, Hunk Guide to Orange County

Directions:

Take I-10 West to 57 South. When 57 ends at I-5 go South on I-5. After 4 miles take 55 West to 73 West/South. At the intersection of 73 (MacArthur) and PCH, turn left (South). After a short distance, turn right on Marguerite Ave. At the intersection with Ocean turn right. Then entrance to Corona Del Mar State Beach is after two blocks on the left.

Details:

The sandstone cove offers fine bouldering, although it can be a bit greasy. Good for beginners to advanced climbers who want to do a bit of climbing and relax on the beach. Bring a small piece of carpet to wipe sand off shoes. The beach can be quite crowded and trashy. A mellow trip when people don't want all-day-hardcore climbing; a good 1/2 or 3/4 day trip.

Safety Notes:

It is very important that people bouldering do not climb too high to safely jump off. Beginners are especially prone to climbing too high. Higher up the rock quality is poor, and holds can pull off. Climbing access at the beach is also a sensitive issue, so make sure not to "get in the way" of beach-goers' relaxation.

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Devil's Punchbowl

Highlights:

Sporty climbing with a mix of desert and mountain views on the infamous San Andreas Fault.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Guide to Sport Crags in Southern California, Climber's Guide to Southern California.

Directions:

Take I-10 East to I-15 North. Exit on 138 West at the top of the pass. Continue on 138 as it travels past the junction with 2. Don't follow the guidebooks' directions that have you turn on 2 (unless you want a beautiful detour). Follow 138 along the desert just North of the San Gabriels until you reach the outskirts of Pearblossom. Turn left on Longview Dr. (Look for the signs for Devil's Punchbowl). Take Longview South until it dead ends at Fort Tejon Rd.. Turn left and then, after about 100 yards, right back onto Longview. Follow Longview for a couple of miles until the left turn to Devil's Punchbowl. Park at the end of this road. Parking costs $3. Great pizza is at the junction of 2 and 138 - about half-way home. A cheap but filling breakfast place is on I-10 and Archibald. From I-10 East get off and turn left and left again to Homestyle Cafe. The drive takes about 1:15.

Description:

Devil's Punchbowl offers a wide variety of climbs, from overhanging pumpers to gentle slabs. For high degrees of difficulty follow the directions to the climbs in Guide to Sport Crags in Southern California. For easier slabs and some multi-pitch routes head to V.D. Wall (described in Climber's Guide to Southern California). Take the trail to the right from the parking lot. It will drop into the deep canyon. Near the bottom leave the trail and cross the stream to the wall. The left side of VD Wall has some great intermediate climbs. Try "Velcro" and "Rurp Rip-Off" (5.9's). These are right next to each other and between 2 5.8's and a 5.10. This is an ideal spot for intermediate trips. Around behind VD Wall's right side is another good slab called Wallbanger Wall. The bolted climb not in the guidebook to the left of the mentioned climbs is 5.10c (5.11b direct finish) and has been coined "Mantle the Beetle." For Hiking, several short, well marked trails tour the rocks and stream. Longer trails also head up into the San Gabriels.

Safety Notes:

Watch for loose rock - the backsides of many of the walls are crumbly. It can be snow covered and icy in winter and very hot in the summer - spring and fall are best.

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Joshua Tree

Highlights:

Joshua Tree is home to some of the best climbing in the United States with thousands of routes. Camping, hiking, backpacking, and cycling are all also superb among the incredible rock formations and rich desert ecosystems of Joshua Tree.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Joshua Tree Rock Climbing Guide

Directions:

From Claremont take I-10 east past Banning. Turn north on 62 to Yucca Valley. Follow 62 through Yucca Valley. In the small town of Joshua Tree turn right at the light on Park Boulevard. Follow this road to the right and into the park and to your destination. Just before the 62/Park Boulevard intersection is Arturo's - a classic OTL dining spot with great Mexican food. Yucca valley has grocery stores and fast food as well. The drive is about 1.75 hours without too much traffic. For Indian Cove keep driving past the town of Joshua Tree to the Indian Cove entrance. This does not connect with the rest of the park except by a long hike.

Description:

Joshua Tree is famous for its climbing. The possibilities are endless as thousands of climbs exist. The climbs are all short, mostly one pitch on sticky quartz monzonite. Some areas are feet from parking lots while others a long hikes into the backcountry. Below are some spots that OTL has gone before that are good for beginner and intermediate groups. Consult the guidebook for exact locations and route info.

Wonderland of Rocks: The Wonderland offers many great climbing localities that are generally not crowded. While the hike is usually longer and more strenuous than other places, the seclusion is worth it. For the most part the climbs on the west faces are easier than the east faces. The west faces tend to be flaky, however. To avoid dirty climbs make sure to stay on route. Sunshine is plentiful on the west sides. Lenticular Dome has two great climbs. "Mental Physics" 5.7+****, is a very classic crack on the right side. OTL leader Brian Cross calls it "the best 5.7 crack I've ever climbed!" Next to it is "Dazed and Confused", 5.9***, a thin face. Both climbs have fixed anchors. South of Lenticular Dome are the Astrodomes. Many possibilities are available on the west faces. On the southeast side of South Astrodome is "Hex Marks the Poot", (aka Lighting Bolt Crack) 5.7 ***, a another classic crack. The hike between the east and west sides of the Astrodomes is not as easy as the guidebook would make it seem, so don't plan on having part of the group on each side at the same time. To the east of the Astrodomes is Nomad Dome, another good spot for intermediate groups. To get to these locations (just the tip of the Wonderland iceberg), take the dirt road from Hidden Valley. At the "T" by Echo Rock turn right. For the west faces of the Astrodomes turn left to the Barker Dam parking lot and hike past Barker Dam up the wash. To get to the east faces of the Astrodomes, Nomad Dome, and Lenticular dome, continue a few hundred yards past the Barker Dam turnoff before turning left and parking at the end of the dirt road. Follow the trail from the lot past "Uncle Willie's Health Food Store" (an old ruined building) and to the left as it enters Wonderland Wash. Follow this wash through some narrow sections until it opens up into Wonderland Valley. At this point the Astrodomes will tower up on the left above Duan Juan Boulder, a huge cube turned on one corner. Nomad Dome will be behind some small domes to the right. Lenticular Dome is the large dome straight ahead in the distance. Do not leave Wonderland Wash early and try to "shortcut" over to climbs. You'll soon find that a straight line is not fastest at Josh - follow the wash!

Dairy Queen Wall: DQ Wall is a classic OTL spot. Located in Lost Horse, the wall is not too far from parking. Head towards the West Entrance from Hidden Valley and park either on the main road or a dirt road that heads south towards the ranger station. Follow the climber's guide to find the wall - its not far. The wall has multiple climbs from 5.6 to 5.9, including 2 *** 5.7's. It is possible to set up four climbs at once making it ideal for larger trips. The climbs are in the shade most of the day as well. The rock here is full of pockets so handholds are easy to find. The routes are almost vertical, which adds to the new climber's thrill. Not recommended in winter.

Headstone Rock: Headstone offers three short but high quality climbs with great photo opportunities. "SW Corner" - 5.7, "South-face Center" - 5.9, and "Cryptic" 5.8 - are all right next to each other. There is no walk-off here so routes must be led and climbers lowered off. It is possible to set up all three climbs at the same time, but it requires some "anchor creativity." This is a good spot for small and medium sized groups, but get there early because it is pretty popular. Headstone Rock is located above Ryan Campground, a few minutes past Hidden Valley.

Hall of Horrors: The Hall of Horrors is reached from Hidden Valley by driving past Ryan Campground. It is on the left before Sheep Pass by a turnout parking area. The climbs are fairly close to the car. The West face of the East Wall has a good 5.7R** ("Lickety Splits"), and a 5.8R ** ("Zardoz"). They are a little run out at the top, but aren't too bad. On the west face of the West Wall are two more good climbs. "Buckets to Burbank" 5.8* and "Ledges to Laundale" 5.10a* are fun bucket face climbs right next to each other. The 5.8 is on the right.

Echo Rock: Located on the dirt road behind Hidden Valley (park at the "T"), Echo Rock is a popular sport climbing area. Almost all the climbs are bolted and popular. Many excellent climbs are on the West Face of Echo Rock proper, a short walk from the "T" parking lot. On the left end "Double Dip" 5.6 ** is a good beginner route (2 5.8 TR's are just left of "Double Dip"). Further right is the classic "Stitcher Quits" 5.7*** and "Stick to What" 5.9***. All these climbs are bolted and have fixed anchors making Echo Rock ideal for leaders who don't want to set pro. Due to the popularity of Echo Rock, it is best not to sit on a particular climb for too long.

Indian Cove: Indian Cove is a good place for a day trip since it is a little closer than the central climbing area in Joshua Tree (see the directions to the Indian Cove entrance). It also tends to be a little warmer than around Hidden Valley. There are tons of climbs for beginners and intermediates and on many you can "belay from your bumper." Pixie Rock and Billboard Buttresses are particularly fun. They can be crowded so arrive early.

Safety Notes:

Weather in the desert is always a concern. Joshua Tree can be over 100 for much of the late spring, summer, and early fall. In the winter snow is common on the desert floor. Check the weather and plan accordingly. Stick to sunny routes in winter and shady routes other times. Water is especially important. None is found in the park so bring plenty. When camping in the backcountry don't sleep in the washes, especially when rain is forecast. Rattlesnakes and scorpions are common. If people want to explore make sure they go in groups and warm them about the increased difficulty of downclimbing. Monument headquarters - (619) 367-6376.

Also check out our JTree Destination Guide for more info.

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Point Dume

Highlights:

Climbing right off the beach in beautiful Malibu.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Climber's Guide to Southern California.

Directions:

From Claremont take I-10 West all the way to Santa Monica. I-10 turns into PCH (1) North (don't take 1 South exit). Drive through Malibu. After passing Pepperdine and leaving the city, turn left on Westward Beach Rd. This is just before Zuma State Beach and after Kanan-Dume Rd. Follow Westward Beach Rd. as it turns South. Park at the end of the road. The climbs are on the obvious North-facing cliff at the end of the beach. Point Dume can also be reached by taking 210W to 101W and heading down to PCH via Topanga Canyon.

Description:

The perfect class-skipping location. There are 4 climbs at Point Dume. The face has several climbs, all about 5.8. The arete (Southwest corner) is a fun 5.6. These climbs are bolted, and several lines are possible, but the anchors should be backed up off the large boulder because the salty air corrodes the bolts. Around the corner is a fun toprope (5.10b) on the West face. Anchor off the two boulders and throw the rope down the slot behind the higher boulder. The climb begins in ugly, weather rock, but moves up to a fun, slightly inverted face with funky holds. Follow the chalk up under the prominent roof and then undercling while traversing to the right. Belay off to the side because this climb can be loose, especially if the climber is off route. The top can be reached by hiking up the trail to the left of the main face or up a loose trough on the opposite (South) side. It is rumored that a nude beach is on the South side of the cliffs. This area is popular and it can be difficult to get climbs at on the weekend. Bring a small carpet or extra towel for the ropes and to wipe shoes off before starting the climb. A camera is a must as well - the photos of climbing above the Pacific are unreal. Leaving before sunset is also a crime. Considering the traffic coming home at rush hour, it is best to relax until dark and then grab dinner in Malibu before fighting traffic.

Safety Notes:

The climbing can be slippery with the ocean mist nearby. The bolts are also said to be unsafe due to corrosion. Bring long webbing to back up anchors off the large boulder. There may also be a rip tide so swimming out is not advised. Loose rock is an issue on the West Face.

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Red Rocks

Highlights:

Red Rocks offers some of the only long climbing in the area. It has awesome, sustained multi-pitch routes with lots of exposure.

Relative Guidebooks:

Red Rocks Select

Directions:

Take I-15 North to Las Vegas. Just before you get to The Strip take 160 West. Drive on 160 for 12 miles to the junction with 159 North. About 4 hours.

To get to Black Velvet Canyon (climbing and camping spots): continue on 160 West for 4.65 miles. Turn right on a dirt road and go 1.95 miles. Turn left and go .3 miles to a "T". Turn right and go .5 miles to the end of the road. You can camp in any spot here without fires.

To get to Oak Creek Canyon Camping: Take 159 North for a few minutes until you the road is heading due North and the rocks are on your left. Before you get to the Scenic Loop exit take the dirt road to the left. Camp 100 yards down this road in the designated spots. Fires are allowed here.

To get to most of the climbs: Take 159 North to the entrance to the Scenic Loop. The loop is a 14 mile, one-way loop that has parking areas for the different climbing areas. There is also a visitor center at the entrance. The loop closes at night so check the time and be out by then or face a fine.

Description:

Red Rocks has some of the warmest weather and longest climbs in all of the Southland. The routes are very sustained and exposed. Many routes exist and Red Rocks Select gives a good overview of them. Shorter sport routes are available as well, but they aren't worth the drive. Approach hikes can be fairly long (things look closer than they are out in the desert) so leave plenty of time to get out of the scenic loop. In the winter the best climbs are the ones in the sun all day. When it's hot try the Dark Shadows area or Black Velvet Wall for some classics. Black Velvet Canyon has the easiest approach hike and some of the most classic routes in Red Rock, including "Frogland," 5.8-. "Crimson Chrysalis" in Juniper Canyon is a great sustained and exposed 5.9. "Olive Oil" across from "Crimson" offers a fun 5.7, 7 pitch route that gets a lot of sun. Camp in one of the spots described above, or stay in Las Vegas 20 minutes away. Cheap food is also available in the casinos.

Besides climbing Red Rocks offers opportunities for hiking and biking. Although some marked trails exist, most of the canyons have climber's trails that are fun to explore. A quick jaunt into one of the canyons can easily turn into an all-day exploration. Road biking is popular, especially on the 14-mile scenic loop. For mountain bikes, dirt roads are abundant, but their length and legality is not clear.

Safety Notes:

Temperatures can be extreme at Red Rocks. Winter nights are well below freezing and warm days can be over 100. Check the Vegas weather and bring lots of water. No water is available at Red Rocks. When wet, the sandstone becomes brittle and is unsafe. Several climbing and camping stores are in Vegas.

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Stoney Point

Highlights:

Bouldering and climbing in a "beautiful" urban setting.

Directions:

From Claremont take I-210 West past Pasadena. Take the 118 West exit.. Exit 118 at Topanga Canyon Blvd and head south about 1/2 mile. Stoney Point is the obvious crags on the left.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Climber's Guide to Southern California .

Description:

These sandstone crags offer quality climbing but unfortunately have a number of unattractive features. Situated in the northern most stretch of LA proper, Stoney Point is a group of slick sandstone rocks that are assaulted by daily smog, graffiti, and trash. They are located right next to a freeway intersection and are anything but a peaceful nature experience. The crags are 20-70 ft high and offer good toproping, although anchors are hard to find in a few places. Stoney Point does have some of the best bouldering in Southern California, however. The hardman boulder has a few days worth of moves. This is one of the places where 5.10 was first graded, so that means that 5.10 is anything harder than 5.9 all the way up the scale, practically! Its a popular place so expect crowds and many LA sport climbers. The sandstone is also pretty greasy in many places.

Safety notes:

Rock fall and urban violence are the main concerns. Also inattentive scrambling could lead to twisted ankles.

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Suicide Rock

Highlights:

Suicide has perhaps the best rock in Southern California. The routes are great and generally get more sun than Suicides' bigger neighbor, Taquitz.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Tahquitz and Suicide Climbing Guide, Southern California Climber's Guide

Directions:

Take I-10 East to Banning. In Banning take 243 South to Idyllwild. From Idyllwild drive up Fern Valley Rd on the left. Park 1/4 mile before Humbert Park by the water tanks. The drive is about 1.5 hours. The trail starts at a sign that says "climber's trail." Follow this across the stream and turn right on the paved road. Follow this until the trail heads northwest up a steep hill. 20-30 minutes hiking brings you to the base of weeping wall. A classic OTL place for dinner on the way back is Paradise Pizza in Banning.

Description:

Suicide is a very good intro/med/experienced rock trip location. Hundreds of routes exist - many of them are bolted and some are multi-pitch. The rock is near beautiful San Jacinto Pk, at 8,000 feet in a rare Southern California alpine setting. Weeping wall has some of the most classic routes. OTL has climbed on the first pitch of Serpentine and Revelation. The North side has many beginner climbs and is a good location for larger groups. Trips are best in fall and spring as snow covers Suicide in the winter. It is usually crowded - especially on top-rope sites - so get there early. Camping is available near Idyllwild. Black Mt.. Campground 14 miles before Idyllwild is decent. There are several campsites on a road between Black Mt. Campground and Idyllwild. There is an obvious sign that lists all the campsites at the turnoff. When these campsites are closed (before they open for summer), you can drive out the road and camp on some turnouts with firepits. Hiking from Suicide is excellent. From the top of Suicide Rock marked trails head off in several directions. For more hiking see the Tahquitz Peak Hiking Guide.

Safety Notes:

There is a ranger station and services in Idyllwild, including Nomad Adventures which sells climbing gear. Rock fall is a major issue, especially in the spring. Wear helmets and keep watchers back from the cliff. No water is available at Suicide so bring lots. Temperatures can get cold very quickly at 8,000 feet.

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Tahquitz Climbing

Highlights:

Taquitz (Lily Rock) is unparalleled in Southern California. Routes up to eight pitches exist on very high quality granite in a beautiful alpine setting.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Taquitz and Suicide Climbing Guide.

Directions:

Take I-10 East to Banning. In Banning take 243 South to Idyllwild. From Idyllwild drive up Fern Valley Rd. Park at Humbert Park (the end of the road). The drive is about 1.5 hours. From the car two approaches are possible. An easier but longer route leaves from the last switchback in the road before the circle. Follow the prominent trail across the stream and right. After a short distance a climber's trail heads up the steep hill to your left. This will bring you to Lunch Rock on Tahquitz's west side. A quicker route is reached by hiking uphill from the Humbert Park circle. After the fence is passed, cross the stream and head directly uphill. After a short distance the dirt will give way to scree. Follow the scree all the way to Tahquitz's north face. The hike takes about an hour and is very steep.

Description:

History was made at Tahquitz as many revolutionary climbers started here (Royal Robins to name one). The current 5-point rating system was invented at Tahquitz. Tahquitz is by far the best Southern California has to offer, but it also requires a great deal of commitment and experience. It is therefore not a place for large groups or beginners. All the routes are multi-pitch and require technical leading. Routes on the north face are the longest. As you move along the rock to the south the routes get progressively shorter. Several classics are a must. For a long and exciting climb try "Whodunit", a seven pitch 5.9. Called "the finest climb in Southern California," "The Vampire" is famous throughout the land (5.11). At little less intimidating is "The Trough" at 5.0 (the first climb done at Tahquitz). "Fingertrip" is another moderate classic at 5.7. Route finding can be difficult, especially near the top, so be sure to bring the guidebook. The best decent is down the "Friction Route". From the top head down the south face on a series of traversing ledges. See the guidebook for details on descending. Ratings at Tahquitz are serious and climbs usually take much longer than expected. It is common to arrive back at Humbert Park in the dark, so be sure to bring a headlamp. Hiking is possible around Tahquitz. A hike from Humbert Park to the summit of Tahquitz up the climber's trail makes a scenic but strenuous half day hike. See "Suicide Rock" for camping options. Climbers have been known to bivey in the parking lot, although it is technically illegal. Some also camp at the base of Tahquitz.

Safety Notes:

Rockfall is a very big issue at Tahquitz. There have been many deaths due to falling rocks. Always wear a helmet. It is especially bad right after the snow melts. Carry lots of water. Snow is present until around April and temperatures can be quite cold. Always bring extra layers on Tahquitz climbs. Make sure you have a light, preferably a head-lamp for night descents. Novice climbers have been known to spend a long night on Tahquitz due to late starts or route finding problems. There is a litter at the top of the "Friction Route" descent and at lunch rock.

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The Falls

Highlights:

A small climbing spot next to a gorgeous waterfall.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Climber's Guide to Southern California

Directions:

Take I-15 South to Lake Elsinore. Exit on 74 West towards San Juan Capistrano. Follow 74 through town and up the very steep hill. At the top of the hill the road levels out and goes through a village. The road will come out to broad views of valleys on either side of the road's small ridge. When you see large dirt turnouts on both sides of the road pull off to the right. If you look upstream you should barely see the waterfall (or where it is if its dry). Follow one of the several dirt paths to the falls (5 minute walk). The drive takes about 1:15. On I-10 East at Archibald is a great breakfast spot. Take the Archibald exit and turn left and then left again immediately. Follow this driveway through the winery to the Homestyle Cafe. Breakfast is also found at the I-15/74 Junction. Go left under the freeway from the I-15 off ramp and look in the shopping center on the right.

Description:

The Falls is a good spot for small groups to climb, swim, and catch some rays. It is particularly noteworthy in winter and early spring when the waterfall is flowing. When water is present, hike around above the falls, cross the stream, and set up top-ropes around the large boulders at the top. A good belay spot is on the ledge 15 feet below the anchor. Lower climbers down just above the water and let them climb up. There are 3 or 4 prominent routes. Climbs move from 5.7 to 5.9+ as you move to the right (facing the wall). Plan to get wet after you climb as the pool at the bottom provides refreshing relief after a day of climbing. When the pool is dry the routes may be led. The sandy area at the base becomes a nice spot to relax when not climbing. Get there early on weekends because of the lack of routes. Hiking is possible up and down the stream, although there is no trail. For a challenging road-bike trip, bike up the hill on 74 after Lake Elsinore. This trip could possibly be combined with an afternoon at the beach in San Juan Capistrano.

Safety Notes:

When lowering climbers to the bottom it is hard to see and hear them. Be sure not to lower the climber into the water (unless they want to get wet). Watch for broken glass - the Falls is a popular "hang-out" spot as well.

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Mt. Williamson

Highlights:

A plethora of sport climbs up high in the San Gabriels.

Relevant Guidebooks:

Sport Crags in Southern California, Climber's Guide to Southern California, Rock and Ice March/April 1994

Directions:

Take 210 West to Pasadena. From Pasadena take 2 into the mountains. Follow 2 for 38 miles to the parking lot on the left. The drive takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes.

Description:

Williamson is the LA Sport climbing area. Troy Mahr and an assorted group of locals have established a couple hundred routes with ungodly sized bolts and little to no runout - complete sport climber style. The rock is this meta-fractured granite that makes for many sustained 5.11's and 5.12's. There are a handful of 9's and 10's and some easier routes, but not many. The area is at altitude, so it makes for a perfect place to go in the warm months from late April until even December sometimes. The best wall is the London Wall that contains many classic 11's and 12's. The time to go and wait in line for all these climbs is Sunday afternoon. The setting is beautiful and driving there on Sundays is like a video game with all the streetbikers on the LA crest hwy.

Safety Notes:

Watch for rockfall and as always bring plenty of water. Snow covers Williamson all winter.

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Destinations
Introduction
Anza Borrego Desert
Chocolate Mountains/Colorado River
Death Valley
East Side Sierras
Joshua Tree National Park
Mountain Home State Park
Mt. Whitney
Sequoia & Kings Canyon
Sespe Wilderness/Hot Springs
Yosemite National Park
Zion National Park

Hiking
Introduction
Bear Creek
Cajon Pass
Cucamonga Canyon
Deep Creek Hot Springs
Grass Mountain
Ice House Canyon
Iron Mountain via Hwy. 39
Iron Mountain via Mt. Baldy
Mt. Baldy via Bear Flats
Mt. Baldy via Devil's Backbone
Mt. Baldy via Sierra Club Cabin
Ontario & Bighorn Peaks
San Gorgonio
Sunset Peak
Tahquitz Peak

Backpacking
Introduction
Bridge to Nowhere
Devil's Punchbowl Loop
Icehouse Canyon
Fishbowls Swimming Holes
Mt. Lowe Front Country Loop
Mt.San Gorgonio Dry Lake and Dollar Lake Loop
Bridge to Nowhere

Climbing
Introduction
Apple Valley
Big Rock
Corona Del Mar
Devil's Punchbowl
Joshua Tree
Point Dume
Red Rocks
Stoney Point
Suicide Rock
Tahquitz Climbing
The Falls
Williamson

Skiing
Introduction
Mount Baldy
Mountain High
Big Bear / Snow Summit
Snow Valley
Mammoth
June Mountain
Tahoe

Biking
Introduction
Cleveland National Forest
Sunset Peak
San Gabriel Foothills

Maps

Equipment