San Diego Outdoor Climbing Guide

Document Sample
San Diego Outdoor Climbing Guide Powered By Docstoc
					   San Diego
Outdoor Climbing
Outdoor Climbing

Recommended Guide: San Diego County Climbing Guide by Dave Kennedy

San Diego Area Climbs
Corte Madera
Dixon Lake
McCain Valley
Mission Gorge
Mt. Woodson
Santee Bolders
The Descanso Wall
Valley of the Moon

Corte Madera
Description: great back country experience. The main wall holds both trad and
bolted multi-pitch climbs that are 3 to 4 pitchs in length. Surrounding satellite
rocks also yield some good quality sport climbing, mostly in the 5.10 to 5.11
range. There is 1 to 1 1/2 hour hike to the climbs. This south facing area can get
quite warm during the summer months. Most of the main wall is closed from Feb
1 to June 30 for bird nesting. Please respect this mandatory closure. The sport
climbs on the satellite rocks are still open to climbing during this period.
Directions: Take Interstate 8 east to the Buckman Springs exit. Turn right and
head south several miles to Corral Canyon Rd. Turn on to Corral Canyon Rd and
drive 4.9 miles to a small parking area where the trail starts. (Note: this parking
area is not at the end of the paved road. If you have 4 wheel drive you may
continue to the end of the paved road and follow a couple rugged dirt roads closer
to the crag. However, the driving takes almost as long as the nice hike so why
rattle your brains).
Approach: 1 to ½ hr hike or drive with a 4 wheel drive vehicle
Fees: none
Types of Climbing: Sport Lead (single and multi-pitch), Trad Lead (single and
multi-pitch), Toprope, some Bouldering
Number of Routes: 50 to 60 total, with 20 or so multi-pitch routes on main wall
Ratings: 5.6 to 5.12
Dixon Lake
Description: a small climbing area located next to the Lake Dixon reservoir in
Escondido. The granite boulders hold mostly boulder and top rope climbs, but
there are a few short leads. Gear may be required to set up some of the top rope
problems. Climbing at Dixon consists of cracks and steep faces. There may be a
small fee to enter this city park.
Directions: Take 163 North to I-15 North to Escondido. Exit El Norte Parkway
(not Camino Del Norte), take a right at bottom of ramp, and continue 4 miles to
Dixon Lake (there are a couple of signs - one at the bottom of the exit ramp, one at
the turn off for the lake). Continue past entry booth, and park at "Trout Cove".
This parking area comes up at a horseshoe turn, perhaps a quarter mile from the
booth, it has a sign. There are porta-potties at the parking area.
Approach: 5 minutes
Fees: $1.00 entry fee
Types of climbs: Bouldering, Toprope
Number of Routes : 40 or more boulder and toprope problems, not counting all
the personal variations.
Ratings : 5.6 to 5.12
Land Management contact info: (760) 839-4680 Ranger Station

McCain Valley
Description: a vast BLM recreation area in eastern San Diego County. Lots of
land, lots of camping (in designated areas), lots of boulders, and sometimes lots of
off-roaders in the Lark Canyon area. McCain Valley is mainly a bouldering area
but there are some bolted leads on the semi-famous Lowenbrau Pinnacle. Lots of
potential exists for putting up new boulder problems if you're the first ascent type.
Directions: take I-8 east until the 94/Campo exit. Turn right and go 1/2 mile to
Old Highway 80. Turn left and drive east just under 2 miles to McCain Valley Rd.
You should see a sign that says McCain Valley Recreation Area. Turn left (north)
onto McCain Valley Rd. After 1 mile the paved road becomes a good qualtiy dirt
road. Lark Canyon campground is about 4 miles up the road. Lowenbrau Pinnacle
is a few miles farther up the road.
Approach: varies
Fees: BLM offers campsites for $6
Types of Climbing : Bouldering, a few bolted leads, and a few mixed (gear and
bolt) leads
Number of Routes : many boulder problems, 20 or so bolt and gear leads at
Lowenbrau if you feel like the hike.
Ratings : 5.7 to 5.12+ Boulders, 5.8 to 5.11 leads
Land Management contact info: (760) 337-4400 BLM El Centro Field Office
Mission Gorge
Description: the oldest and one of the most popular climbing spots in the San
Diego area. It is characterized by fine grained metamorphosed granite that
can be quite slick on some routes. Climbs generally range from 30 to 70 ft. but
a few longer ones can be found. The approach takes about 10 minutes and
follows a well used but steep trail.

      Main Wall Area
      a complex arrangement of short walls and large ledges. Its total height is
      about 150 ft, but most climbs are 40-70 ft. This area also holds some of the
      slickest rock at the Gorge and can take some getting used to.

      Limbo Area
      the broad central region of Mission Gorge. It lies between the Main Wall to
      the north and Middle Earth to the south. Limbo holds several small isolated
      cliffs. Areas 4,5,6 and 7 are right on the horizontal trail. Area 8 is below the
      horizontal trail and can be reached by a short branch trail. Areas 2 and 3 are
      best reached by ascending a gully at area 4. There is no easy way to get to
      area 1, but Craig’s crack at the top is worth the effort.

      Middle Earth Area
      a complex arrangement of small cliffs and canyons at the southern most
      part of Mission Gorge. Though climbers have used the area since the
      1970’s, it had some how escaped entry into any published guides until the
      mid 1990’s. Much of its history before the mid 1990’s is uncertain.

Approach: ~10 minutes
Fees: none
Direction: Mission Gorge lies within Mission Trails Regional Park. It
can be accessed from Father Junipero Serra Trail. This one-way road must be
entered from the south-west, off Mission Gorge Rd, near Jackson Dr.
Types of Climbing: Trad Lead, Sport Lead, Toprope, Bouldering, Aid Practice
Number of Routes: ~185
Ratings: 5.1 to 5.12+
Land Management Contact Info: (619) 668-3281 Mission Trails Regional Park
Download a free guide at
Mt. Woodson
Description: could possibly be the best bouldering and toprope area in
Southern California. With hundreds of granite boulders dotting the hillside,
Woodson has it all. If you want to master cracks, from super thin to super
wide, go to Woodson. If you want to do mantles, friction climbing, edging,
low angle climbs, overhanging climbs; go to Woodson. Many climbs require
only a chalk bag and a pair of shoes. For aspiring big wall climbers, there are
dozens of aid problems ranging in difficulty from A1 to A4. Most of these
are not in a guide so you must either find someone who knows these routes
or wander aimlessly through the bushes.

      Mt. Everest is a part of the Woodson climbing area. It is the separate
      hillside southeast and across highway 67 from the main Woodson hill.
      It can be accessed at a pullout along highway 67 about one mile south
      of the normal Woodson parking area.

      Rexrodes is a rather obscure part of the Woodson area that is
      approached via the Rexrode Trail. This is a separate trail from the
      main road that winds up Woodson proper. It can be accessed at a
      pullout along highway 67 about one mile south of the normal
      Woodson parking area.

Directions : Mt. Woodson lies along highway 67 between Poway and
Ramona. Park about three miles north of the Hwy. 67 Poway Rd junction in
the vicinity of the state forestry fire station. A short dirt trail passes through
the trees until it hits a paved road which winds all the way to the top of Mt.
Approach: nearest bolders are a couple hundred yards away
Fees: none
Types of Climbing : Bouldering, Toprope, Trad Lead, Aid Practice
Number of Routes : Over 500 problems are listed in guide books. Many
more surely exist. Most are boulder and toprope problems. Many of the
cracks are leadable and a few face leads can be found too.
Ratings : 5.0 to 5.13
Santee Bolders
Description: Easy access makes Santee Boulders a popular after work hangout.
several rocks are tall enough so that toproping is recommended (bolts on top),
most of the climbing in this compact area requires only shoes and chalk bag.
Over 100 problems are crammed onto 30 or so granite boulders. Thin, crimpy
face climbing, and difficult mantles dominate the climbing at Santee, so bring a
good fitting pair of shoes if you want to master the many micro edge problems.
Approach: Easy access
Fees: none
Types of Climbing: Bouldering, Toprope
Number of Routes: 130 or more
Ratings: 5.1 to 5.12+
Location: City of Santee, San Diego County, California
Direction: From Hwy. 52, exit at Mast Blvd. just as you enter Santee,
head east on Mast Blvd. about 1/2 mi. and park in the West Hills Park parking
lot (across the street from the boulders). From Mission Gorge Road in Santee,
turn north on West Hills Parkway, after about 1 mi. turn east on Mast Blvd.
Types of Climbing : Bouldering, Toprope
Number of Routes : 130 or more not counting all the personal variations.
Ratings : 5.1 to 5.12+
Land Management: Private Property but the Access Fund has been able to work
with owners to keep it open to public

Description: The climbing is not bad, but may be a bit different than some are
used to. Most routes can be lead or toproped. Some bouldering can be found also.
There is generally no new development at this area, since the park allows climbing
but does not encourage its expansion.
Directions: Drive East on I-8 to 79 North, follow this to Cuyamaca Rancho State
Park Arrive at Paso Picacho Campsite/Parking area
Approach: 1 hr (2 ½ mile hike)
Fees: $5 to park in State Park
Types of Climbing: Trad Lead, Toprope, couple Bolt Leads, Bouldering
Number of Routes : 20 to 25
Ratings : 5.7 to 5.11, mostly moderate stuff
Land Management Contact Info: (760) 765-0755 Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
The Descanso Wall
Description: offers challenging face and crack climbing on good quality
granite. Most routes are 110 - 120 ft long, and are serious run out leads. A
60 meter rope or really long slings are recommended if you plan to toprope.
There are 5 or 6 sets of bolt anchors on top, and several rap anchors half way
up the face. The anchors on top are not rap stations, but the walk off is not
difficult. Satellite rocks, that surround the main wall, offer good bouldering
and toprope possibilities for those adventurous enough to brave the often
mandatory bushwacking. Just left and above the main wall is an overhanging
hand to offwidth crack called "King Swing" that should not be missed.
There has been some recent disagreement between the original developer of
this area and subsequent route bolters. Many of the original lines were bolted
over in an attempt to turn the wall into a sport climbing area. Most of these
new bolts were then chopped by the original route setter. Never the less, this
is a great place to check out. Many of the original lead bolts are small 1/4
with bad Leeper hangers. The newer bolts are fine. All anchor bolts are new
Directions : Drive east on I-8, well past Alpine, and exit on Hwy 79. Head
north on Hwy 79 about 3/4 mi. and turn left on Wildwood Glen Lane. Drive
another 1 mile or so until you see a faint trail heading up to the wall. A 15
minute hike gets you to the main wall. Descanso Wall is plainly visible from
I-8 just before you exit on hwy 79.
Types of Climbing : Serious, run out face climbing, several good "trad"
crack routes, Toprope with long rope or slings, Bouldering, couple Sport
Caution : Number of Routes : 20 or so lead climbs on the main wall, not
all in a guide book. Dozens of boulder and toprope problems, none of which
are in a guide book, and often require bushwacking.
Ratings : 5.7 to 5.12a
Valley of the Moon
Description: part of the Jacumba Wilderness, this area offers "Joshua Tree-
like" climbing right in our own back yard. The rock is identical, varying
from excellent to poor quality depending on the climb, and possessing the
same excellent friction and weathering patterns. Much of Valley of the
Moon is located within a federally designated wilderness area. While
climbing is allowed, new bolt installation is either prohibited or very
restricted. If contemplating placing new bolts or replacing old ones, be sure
to contact BLM personnel for the exact wilderness boundaries and the
regulations on bolting within the wilderness. This mildly remote section of
BLM land is extremely close to the Mexico border, and is a favorite entry
point for those smuggling illegal aliens so be aware of this. People have
reported this area illegally being used as a shooting range as well. Valley of
the Moon is a beautiful back country part of San Diego, but given the added
elements, some care should be taken when climbing there.
Directions : On Interstate 8, drive about an hour east of El Cajon to the In-
Ko-Pa Park Road. Exit here. Go right (south) for 100 ft or so to the Frontage
Road which is Old Highway 80. Turn right on this road and continue for just
under .25 mile to an unmarked dirt road on your left. There should be a
BLM bulletin board here that mentions climbing, or at least the rules of the
area. Almost immediately you encounter a fork in the dirt road. Head left
(southeast). Soon you will be going up hill. Follow this road for a couple
miles or so until you come to a prominent saddle (major dip in the road).
There, you turn left on another dirt road that heads down and may require 4
wheel drive, or at least very high clearance. Most people with 2 wheel drive
park here and walk 45 minutes or so in to the climbing. This rough road
opens onto a broad flat valley about 3.5 miles from the freeway. At this
point you still have a mile or more to the climbs and it can get a bit
confusing. We recommend going with someone who has been there before.
Fees: none
Types of Climbing : Sport Lead, some Trad Lead, Toprope (lead first),
Number of Routes : 40 or more known routes, both sport and trad.
Ratings : 5.7 to 5.12
Land Management Contact Info: (760) 337-4400 BLM El Centro Field