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Castle Crags

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Beck's Tower 
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Mansion, The 
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Castle Crags Rock Climbing 

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Location: 41.15954, -122.3059 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 76,632
Administrators: Aron Quiter, Rick Shull, Muscrat, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Oct 30, 2007
Thanksgiving Day

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Castle Crags. Photo by Blitzo.


Located far into northern California, Castle Crags is a unique and enormous area that consists of fair to excellent quality granite spires, domes and walls, most with views of Mount Shasta. Climbs range in height from 20 feet to over 900 feet.

The majority of the climbing is trad, but there is a small sportier area known as the Pin Cushion Wall. Pretty cool white/light grey rock that's overwhelming in quantity. Most the cracks are pretty easy to protect. Venturing out onto the dikes, where more solid rock can be found can require more creative placement than the mindless cam-to-crack-ing that can occur on your way up your average crack.

You can camp year-round in Castle Crags State Park either in the designated camp-sites ($14/site with running water and showers) or near the rock (where you have to pack in water) a 1.5 hour hike uphill from the camp. Fires are usually not permitted in the back country during the summer months, so consider that in your planning.

Also, the nearby town is supposed to be cute - but I didn't visit it. However, my friends did and it seems Dunsmuir has most camping necessities available.

Other than being a really long ways from the Bay Area (3-5 hours, depending where you live), the only other negative to this excellent climbing area is the minimum 1 hour (and sometimes 2 1/2) hour steadily uphill 1500 - 3000 vertical feet gain approach. If you're not warmed up by the time you're at your route, you're insane.

Getting There 

From the Bay Area (or almost anywhere in California) get on 5 northbound. About 45 miles north of Redding you'll get one warning sign 'Castle Crags State Park - Next Exit.' About 3/4 of a mile further, exit and hang a left. Follow the signs to the Park, then depending on your agenda park either near the campsites or up at Vista Point (also known as Viewpoint in Davis' Classic Rock Climbs). If you're staying backcountry overnight you must park at the State Park Scenic Overlook (near the campsites). Day parking permits are $4/day, or if you're paying to camp, you park for free.

Check out that Map! Pretty bleak, huh?

Climbing Season

For the Northeast California area.

Weather station 3.5 miles from here

57 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',2],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',31],['Bomb',3]

Classic Climbing Routes in Castle Crags

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Castle Crags:
Castle Dome - 4th class route   X     Trad, 5 pitches, 840'   Castle Dome
Cosmic Wall   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, 6 pitches, 950'   The Ogre aka Mt. Hubris
Six Toe Crack   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 190'   Six Toe Rock
NW Ridge   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, 6 pitches, 1000'   Castle Dome
The Dike Route (aka East Face)   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 8 pitches, 1100'   Castle Dome
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Castle Crags

Featured Route For Castle Crags
Rock Climbing Photo: cosmic wall

Cosmic Wall 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b CA : Northeast California : ... : The Ogre aka Mt. Hubris
Excellent route up the East face of Mt. Hubris. The climbing stays pretty easy but is run out.Pitch 1: 190' 5.5Start at a low point along the East face at a large pine tree below a huge right facing corner. Start out on easy ground up the corner, pass a tree continuue up the face above and belay on a good ledge with a tree.Pitch 2: 110' 5.6Move up and right following broken rock in a dyke system. When the face nears vertical step right to a bolt anchor on a comfortable ledge.Pitch 3: 150' 5.6 Ma...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Castle Crags Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: 12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
Rock Climbing Photo: 12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
Rock Climbing Photo: google dome rock
google dome rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Crags from view point, 3/07
Castle Crags from view point, 3/07
Rock Climbing Photo: Beck's Tower
BETA PHOTO: Beck's Tower
Rock Climbing Photo: The crags from the West.
BETA PHOTO: The crags from the West.
Rock Climbing Photo: Mt. Shasta as seen from top of The Ogre.
Mt. Shasta as seen from top of The Ogre.
Rock Climbing Photo: 12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
12-29-10 Shot from a moving car on the 5 headed to...
Rock Climbing Photo: Castle Crags. Photo by Blitzo.
Castle Crags. Photo by Blitzo.

Comments on Castle Crags Add Comment
Show which comments
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 16, 2004
This area is fun to explore and wasn't very popular when I was last there (over 15 years ago). The rock is limestone which varies in quality, some of it is amazingly sharp, like limestone can get.
By Bryson Slothower
Jun 21, 2004
The Castle Crags I went to was all granite.
By George Bell
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 23, 2004
Granite!! Really? Yikes, I guess my neurons are getting so old, every climb today is an onsight. I remember where that sharp limestone was?
By Adam Hicks`
Aug 28, 2004
_castle Crags is a granite pluton that has been exposed by years of erosion as well as uplifted a wee bit. The area is different than Yosemite in that it has not been polished by glaciers and in that it is an exfoliating pluton, meaning much of what you touch will soon fall.

Dunsmuir is cute, and is getting cuter by the day, but the best camping is either at the state park proper or up the road at Lake Siskiyou. There's more camping even higher by Castle Lake, which is also a prime point to begin a long and very arduous backside (and thus free) approach into Castle Crags.

I don't mean to plug shamelessly, but Shasta Mountain Guides has an infinite wealth of knowledge on the Crags and are worth contacting for information. They do, of course, also guide there.

-Adam Hicks
By Patrick Sawyer
From: Californian Living in Ireland
Aug 4, 2005
I first climbed in Castle Crags in 1974 and a bit in 1975. I haven't been back since but I am surprised the area isn't a bit more developed, though I do remember that the granite wasn't the best in places. That said, there must be enough solid rock there. I have googled for a site dedicated to the Crags but nada. and had the best information.

I just registered so my name won't appear, so I guess I'm in at anonymous coward (not too far off from the truth). Patrick Sawyer, Walnut Creek/Lafayette and now Dublin, Ireland
By C Miller
Jul 5, 2007 is a great website with lots of local news and new route info.
By fendbend99
Jan 23, 2015
Anybody know what happened to the info on
By Nick Black
Feb 21, 2015
Anyone been out to the cosmic wall this winter? was thinking of coming out there soon and was curious about the snow/ice condition of some of the longer routes due to the dry winter.

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