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Bolt Ladder Area

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Bolt Ladder TR 
California Flake T 
Finger Cracks T,TR 

Bolt Ladder Area Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.4768, -119.6796 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 2,007
Administrators: andy patterson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Matthew Fienup on Nov 17, 2007
Memorial Day

65° | 57°

70° | 57°

70° | 57°

75° | 58°

75° | 58°

72° | 57°
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I pulled this 100+ pound rock out of the wall whil...


This popular formation is immediately adjacent to Gibraltar Road just downhill from the Main Gibraltar formation. The lower part of the cliff is actually a road-cut left behind in the building of Gibraltar Road while the top of the cliff is native rock.

The centerpiece of this wall is the namesake bolt ladder which runs approximately up the middle of the wall. It was established by then Sierra Club trip leader Tim McMahon in 1969. Today, the bolt ladder can be climbed free or by direct aid, although the aging lead bolts do not inspire confidence--most of these bolts are old-school Star Dryvin nail & sleeve bolts.

In addition to the Bolt Ladder itself, this cliff is home to a few other fun climbs. Most notable are California Flake, a moderate crack and face climb up the plumb-line of the wall, and the 5.10 Finger Cracks on the far right-hand side.

Access to the top of the cliff can be achieved using the class-3 slabs and bush-covered ledges uphill and around the corner from the wall. Bring long slings to top-rope routes. An anchor can be made using a large manzanita and 1/2"-3/4" pro. There are also 2 half-inch expansion bolts located off to one side. Descend by rappelling from slings around the manzanita or reverse the approach.

Getting There 

From the parking pull-outs next to the main Gibraltar formation, walk down the road for about 100 yards. The cliff will appear on your left after the road makes a sharp left-hand bend.

Climbing Season

For the Gibraltar Area area.

Weather station 3.0 miles from here

3 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Bolt Ladder Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Bolt Ladder Area:
California Flake   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 80'   
Bolt Ladder   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A1     TR, Aid, 80'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Bolt Ladder Area

Featured Route For Bolt Ladder Area
Rock Climbing Photo: Started Bolt Ladder Line to place (or left it) cha...

Bolt Ladder 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c A1  CA : Central Coast : ... : Bolt Ladder Area
A1 aid climbing or 5.10-5.11 free climbing.Following the bolts as closely as possible yields a line in the 5.11+ range that is fantastic. Wandering left of the bolts down low and right of the bolts up high (sometimes 6-8 feet right) yields a line in the 5.10- range.[Contributor's Note: I haven't actually led this route free to the top of the wall as the top 7 bolts scare the hell out of me. What I have done is lead the bottom half of the route and finished by placing gear in the thin cracks ou...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Bolt Ladder Area Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: David Abzug climbs one of many different variation...
David Abzug climbs one of many different variation...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Bolt Ladder Area, near Gibraltar Rock
BETA PHOTO: The Bolt Ladder Area, near Gibraltar Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: David Abzug lowers off the Bolt Ladder, at Gibralt...
David Abzug lowers off the Bolt Ladder, at Gibralt...
Rock Climbing Photo: Nicole climbs the Finger Cracks (5.10b) on the Bol...
Nicole climbs the Finger Cracks (5.10b) on the Bol...

Comments on Bolt Ladder Area Add Comment
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By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Apr 18, 2009
There are two significant changes to this area in recent days. First, a large block fell out of the wall on California Flake rendering the start of that route more difficult. A recent repaving also widened Gibraltar Road and made the dirt shoulder beneath the Bolt Ladder much smaller. Busy days when there is a lot of automobile traffic now feel much more exposed for the belayer.
By Tom Shank
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Apr 3, 2013
Is it possible to actually go up the left face directly, without following the ledge just slightly more left and up it to the nice finger crack line? There have been some fairly new bolts placed at the beginning, but the last 7 bolts are rusty monsters, they scared my trust away.

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