Bell Canyon Rock Climbing
Band of cliffs up to 45 feet high located on property owned by St. Helena Hospital, now CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. West facing, thus shady in the morning and sunny in the afternoon. Because of the difficult approach (steep, loose and bushy in places, with copious blackberry and poison oak) and mediocre climbing, this crag isn't worth visiting unless you happen to live nearby or are eager to tick off new climbs in the area. A two-bolt anchor is present above the climbs on the left end of the formation. Climbs at the right end of the formation are best anchored from small trees at the top, with several unappealing options. Because the top of the cliff is more difficult to scramble to than the base, the climbs are usually led and then rappelled. Names of climbs are given as a convenience for the climbing community, but if anybody knows of earlier names (or objects to new names coined for old problems), I would happily rename (or delete) them.
CLOSED TO THE PUBLIC. From the junction of Silverado Trail and Deer Park Road in St. Helena, drive 4.1 miles north on Deer Park Road, which eventually becomes Howell Mountain Road, to White Cottage Road. Turn left on White Cottage Road and continue 1.6 miles to the junction of Liparita Avenue on the left and Brookside Avenue on the right. Turn left on Liparita Avenue and drive 0.3 mile until you see some parking spaces on the left just in front of a gate and beside a pump house. Walk back toward White Cottage Road for about 20 feet to the end of the fence on the right side of the road and pick up the trail behind the fence. Follow the trail through some manzanita past a pump house, then downhill on a wide, zig-zagging trail about 0.3 mile. Shortly after crossing a stream, look for a pipe that exits a steep bank on the right side of the trail. Exit the trail at this point, boulder-hop across the stream through blackberry vines, and follow a climber's trail 0.1 mile across chaparral and down a couple of steep boulders to the base of a cliff. Scramble 0.1 mile down, then up along the base of the cliff, cross a steep sandy slope (potentially unstable and dangerous after a heavy rain), and continue along the base of the cliff to the main face.
Weather station 0.3 miles from here
9 Total Climbing Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]
Featured Route For Bell Canyon
Lure of Lucre 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a CA
: San Francisco Bay Area
: ... : Bell Canyon
Relatively clean, long and sustained, this is the best climb at the crag. Surmount a short overhang just right of the overhanging "bell," mantel onto a small pillar, then climb thin face to a double-bolt anchor. The climb is hardest and most sustained if you climb straight up through the bolts, easier if you move left. Above the third bolt either: (1) climb straight up above the last bolt, which is a bit runout (final move is 5.10a); (2) place a small nut or cam in a groove to protect ...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
By Jason Stewart
From: Santa Rosa, California
May 26, 2015
Was there this weekend. The property has been sealed up and they put up about 40 no trespassing signs. We were bad stewards and we trespassed. When we came back up, the cops were there with a guy from St Helena Hospital, who owns it now. They're VERY serious about the No Trespassing. I guess there is a well here now that supplies all the water for the hospital.
By Floyd Hayes
Jun 1, 2015
Oh sheesh, I'm very sorry to hear that happened to you. I'm pretty sure the property has been owned by St. Helena Hospital for decades and water had been taken from the stream for decades, too, but the trails have always been popular for hiking and biking, and open to the public. The last few years the hospital invested a lot of money into upgrading the water pumps and pipes. I knew barriers had been set up but I thought they were temporary while construction was going on during weekdays. People were just going around the barriers, especially during weekends. I haven't been there in 6 months, but somebody mentioned to me the other day that the trail was now closed to the public, and now you have confirmed it. Too bad, because there is a great network of trails plus a beautiful waterfall and swimming hole (Devil's Punchbowl) a short distance downhill from the climbing site. Hopefully some day it will open up again to the public.