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Central Coast

Select Area...
Big Sur 
Camarillo Springs Boulder (Lonesome Cube) 
Carmel River State Beach (aka Stewart's Cove) 
Conejo Mountain 
Crab Town 
Hwy 166/Silly Rock 
Hwy 33/Ojai 
Panther Beach 
Pinnacles National Park 
Point Mugu 
San Luis Obispo 
Santa Barbara 
Tar Creek (the Swimming Hole) 
Wagon Caves 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

Oats Peak Trail
A climb to the highest ridge and peaks in Montana D'Oro SP. Near Los Osos, California
Hazard Peak Trail
A relatively tame trail up to wonderful views plus a fast descent off the backside. Near Los Osos, California
Quarry Short Loop
A combination of great trails in the Quarry area. Near Los Osos, California
Lower Crespi Trail
A great trail that takes you through some coastal oaks. Near Los Osos, California
Johnson Ranch Loop
A smooth loop trail popular with hikers and bikers alike. Near Avila Beach, California
Duna Vista Loop
A great trail that leads to awesome views! Near Nipomo, California
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Central Coast Rock Climbing 


Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 35.2725, -120.6676 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 438,785
Administrators: andy patterson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M.Morley on Feb 13, 2006
Forecast:
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [4 people like this page.]
Tidal Pool-Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.

Description 

Located between major urban centers Los Angeles to the south and the San Francisco Bay to the north, the quaint Central Coast of California spans a 300-mile stretch from the southern Santa Monica Mountains to the northern Monterey Peninsula. While known primarily for surfing, celebrities, exorbitant real estate prices, and wine-tasting (the movie "Sideways" was filmed locally), there is actually surprisingly good climbing to be found. The majority of rock around Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Ojai is medium-grade sandstone (i.e., a little friable), but there's also blue schist (Green Dome), andesite (SLO), and conglomerate (Silly Rock, Wheeler Gorge) out there. The climbing is by no means world class, but what it lacks in quality it makes up for in aesthetics. As a friend of mine would say, "maybe not 4-star climbing, but makes for a 4-star day!"

Areas like the Sespe Gorge (Black Wall) had established routes as early as the late 50s and 60s. Over the years, many well-known climbers have graced these small cliffsides, including the likes of Yvon Chouinard (Yosemite legend and founder/owner of Patagonia), Jonny Woodward (Black Diamond), Jim Donini and even Henry Barber!

Around Santa Barbara and Ventura, pioneers of the '80s and '90s included Kevin Brown, Kevin Steele, Steve Tucker, Menzo Baird, Bob Banks (author of "Ocean's Eleven") and Steve Edwards (guidebook author of "Rock Climbing Santa Barbara & Ventura"), who established many of the newer sport routes around Santa Barbara and Hwy 166/Silly Rock.

In San Luis Obispo county, pioneers include Rusty Garing, Dwight Kroll, Pete Gulyash, brothers Tim and Tobin Sorenson, Ed Sampson, Ken Klis, Tom Slater (guidebook author of "California Central Coast Climbs"), and Brandon Thau. Slater, Thau, and Klis are responsible for developing such crags as Cerro Romauldo, Cabrillo Peak and Big Rocks.

Former Access Fund director Reese Martin lived in the area for a time. Sadly, he was killed in a paragliding accident in July 2004 at the age of 49 (More...).

Guidebooks 


  • Climbing in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo (1994), by Steve Tucker & Kevin Steele (out of print)

Getting There 

Hwy 101 is the major artery between Ventura and San Luis Obispo (and beyond). 99% of the routes described here lie either off the 101, 154 (San Marcos Pass), 33 (Ojai), or 166 (east of Santa Maria). Refer to specific area for details and directions.

This map will help get you oriented.

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.9 miles from here

1,518 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',94],['3 Stars',565],['2 Stars',551],['1 Star',250],['Bomb',8]
['<=5.6',98],['5.7',89],['5.8',123],['5.9',116],['5.10',199],['5.11',120],['5.12',59],['5.13',20],['>=5.14',6],['',0],['<=V1',171],['V2-3',250],['V4-5',121],['V6-7',78],['V8-9',44],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',22],['>=V14',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Central Coast

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Central Coast:
Lord of the Flies   V0+ 4+     Boulder   The Lizard's Mouth : Meilee Area
Quiet Soul   V2 5+     Boulder, 15'   Pine Mountain : Enlightenment Ridge
Happy Hunting Grounds (a.k.a. Heaven on Top)   V3 6A     Boulder, 25'   Pine Mountain : Happy Hunting Grounds
To Die For   V4 6B     Boulder, 20'   Pine Mountain : Enlightenment Ridge
Yeti   V4 6B     Boulder, 15'   The Brickyard : Yeti Boulder
Force of Magic   V5 6C     Boulder   Hwy 33/Ojai Bouldering : The Hideout
Smooth Criminal   V6 7A     Boulder, 12'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
Gangster Hippie   V6-7 7A+     Boulder, 20'   The Lizard's Mouth : Top of the world/Entry way
She Made Me Do It   V8 7B     Boulder   Skofield Park : Cracked Boulder
Dancing Outlaw   V8 7B     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
No Pigs For Rent   V8+ 7B+     Boulder, 15'   * Santa Barbara Bouldering : Hat Creek Cattle Company
Purgatory   V9 7C     Boulder   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
The Michael Banks Proposal Ramp   5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a X     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Morro Bay Harbor : Morro Rock
Ending Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   Hwy 33/Ojai : Sespe Gorge (Black Wall)
Camel   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Bishop Peak : Cracked Wall
T-Crack   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Gibraltar Area : Gibraltar Rock
Split Infinity   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   East Side : The Yaks
Post Orgasmic Depression   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   East Side : Monolith
Mickey B Way   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a R     Trad, 70'   Bishop Peak : True Summit Block
Omega Glory   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Santa Barbara : Potter's Point
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Central Coast

Featured Route For Central Coast
Rock Climbing Photo: Jammin'

Live a Life of Love 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b  CA : Central Coast : ... : Good Times on Planet Earth
One of those routes that just leaves you smiling when you belay someone up to you. Make sure they don't grab your draw on bolt 1 :), it happened to me twice!A finger crack in a right leaning dihedral for about 25 feet, that takes perfect gear. The undisputed classic route to get on, better than almost anything around. Crux is right before bolt 1, so trust the feet!...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Central Coast Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Ken Klis on Edgeucation, Bishop Peak summit. photo...
Ken Klis on Edgeucation, Bishop Peak summit. photo...
Rock Climbing Photo: The Central Coast offers outstanding rest-day oppo...
The Central Coast offers outstanding rest-day oppo...
Rock Climbing Photo: Young Elephant Seal. Photo by Blitzo.
Young Elephant Seal. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: You can't beat the winter sunsets, driving home fr...
You can't beat the winter sunsets, driving home fr...
Rock Climbing Photo: Of all of the Central Coast's amazing native anima...
Of all of the Central Coast's amazing native anima...
Rock Climbing Photo: A Western Gull stands guard over a Central Coast c...
A Western Gull stands guard over a Central Coast c...
Rock Climbing Photo: California gulls-the State Bird of Utah. Photo by ...
California gulls-the State Bird of Utah. Photo by ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Beautiful scenery just a mile east of Gilroy.
Beautiful scenery just a mile east of Gilroy.
Rock Climbing Photo: California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Over-wintering Monarch butterfly, Central Coast of...
Over-wintering Monarch butterfly, Central Coast of...
Rock Climbing Photo: Emma Wood State Park. Just north of the Ventura ri...
Emma Wood State Park. Just north of the Ventura ri...
Rock Climbing Photo: Montana de Oro Beach, near Morro Bay. Photo by Bli...
Montana de Oro Beach, near Morro Bay. Photo by Bli...
Rock Climbing Photo: California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Still feeling nostalgic--here's one more shot of t...
Still feeling nostalgic--here's one more shot of t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Starfish. Photo by Blitzo.
Starfish. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: A little cliff along the beautiful highway 152.  T...
A little cliff along the beautiful highway 152. T...
Rock Climbing Photo: Burned leaves from a coast live oak--photographed ...
Burned leaves from a coast live oak--photographed ...
Rock Climbing Photo: I think the sea lion, the starfish and the butterf...
BETA PHOTO: I think the sea lion, the starfish and the butterf...
Rock Climbing Photo: The city of Ventura was once home to several nice ...
The city of Ventura was once home to several nice ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Highlining Pinnacles National Park
Highlining Pinnacles National Park
Rock Climbing Photo: Pt Mugu NAS from Mugu Peak. Mugu marks the souther...
Pt Mugu NAS from Mugu Peak. Mugu marks the souther...

Comments on Central Coast Add Comment
Show which comments
By EricT
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Feb 14, 2006
Nice work Mike, and a good description of the central coast as well.
By Slater
Oct 7, 2009
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