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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 & Maps
Taquitz and Suicide Climbing Guide.
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.
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.
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.
Edited by (in order): OTL Staff
Last updated: 05/22/2009