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Crystal Lake Crag

Routes Sorted
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Ace Dick 
Arete of Regret 
Conveniently Sexy 
Electric Dylan 
Fingerbang 
Flake of Eternal Peril 
Garbage Chute 
I'm Lichen This 
Jawa Sandcrawler 
Leaper Route, The 
Look Sir, Droids! 
One Armed Swordsman, The 
Rocktease 
Tourist Route, The 
Virgin Mary on a Schwinn 
Waste of Time 
Zatoichi At Large 

Crystal Lake Crag 


Photos: Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 5,500'
Lat, Long: 34.3181, -117.8491 Map Incorrect?
Page Views: 7,795
Administrators: jt512, M.Morley, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: TacoDelRio on Oct 3, 2011
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Gary Cifra following 'Black Face' 1970
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Description 

Crystal Lake Crag is a craggy outcropping of granite near the western shore of Crystal Lake up in the San Gabriel Mountains. The rock quality on the routes is mostly good, though as with any new area in the mountains some cleaning may be necessary. Expect loose rock everywhere, as this is the San Gabes.

Adam S.'s Crystal Lake Cafe and General Store is in the area and very easy to find. He makes EXCELLENT chili, and practically everything else is awesome. He's a very nice guy. The closest place to buy beer would be the liquor store at the corner of Azusa and Sierra Madre.

A forest adventure pass is required for parking in the area. Please note that Route 39 is closed from time to time for one reason or another.

This place is a part of my home and my heart, so please keep it clean.


Getting There 

Take the 210 and exit Azusa/Route 39. Head north on R39 (which becomes San Gabriel Canyon Road) and follow it up into the mountains to Crystal Lake. Make a right into the Crystal Lake area, and a left at the road to the lake. There are two parking lots for the lake. The second parking lot is preferable, as it is closer to the lake and has shade.

Go down to the lake and you will see the crag on the opposite bank. Looking at the crag, you'll notice a large scree slope partially hidden in the trees on the right side of the crag. That's the primary way to access the crag. You'll start up that slope in the trees, and then it will open up. Check the MS Paint topo I've drawn up for more info on accessing individual routes.


17 Total Routes


['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',0],['2 Stars',5],['1 Star',10],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',9],['5.7',2],['5.8',4],['5.9',2],['5.10',0],['5.11',0],['5.12',0],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',0],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Crystal Lake Crag:
Conveniently Sexy   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   
Electric Dylan   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Trad, 2 pitches, 120'   
Browse More Classics in Crystal Lake Crag

Featured Route For Crystal Lake Crag
Please note the top section is out of view atop the slab...

The One Armed Swordsman 5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b  CA : Los Angeles Basin : ... : Crystal Lake Crag
This route goes up a 5.7 crack with hand jams to a chickenwing, with an easy topout on a sloping ledge. The anchor I used was the small bush growing out of the wall on the right backed up by myself as a meat anchor. It might be wise to inspect the blocks on the left for safety, then possibly sling them for the anchor....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

News and Events For Crystal Lake Crag
Photos of Crystal Lake Crag Slideshow Add Photo
Finding the way to Crystal Lake and Crystal Lake Crag.
Finding the way to Crystal Lake and Crystal Lake C...
CLC Topo. Behold the awesome!
BETA PHOTO: CLC Topo. Behold the awesome!
Numerous graffitied boulders mark the path up the scree slope to Crystal Lake Crag.
Numerous graffitied boulders mark the path up the ...
Crystal Lake Crag
Crystal Lake Crag
Crystal Lake
Crystal Lake
Gary Cifra on 'One Armed Swordsman'? 5.7 1969
Gary Cifra on 'One Armed Swordsman'? 5.7 1969
The sign commemorating the naming of Crystal Lake (eg. Sycamore Lake), by Benjamin Eaton, on the east shore of Crystal Lake.
The sign commemorating the naming of Crystal Lake ...
Keith Leaman on winter ascent of 'Black Face' (left of 'Conveniently Sexy') 5.9 plus A1-one or two rurps/knifeblades, 1970.
Keith Leaman on winter ascent of 'Black Face' (lef...
Slogging up the scree slope to Crystal Lake Crag.
Slogging up the scree slope to Crystal Lake Crag.
Comments on Crystal Lake Crag Add Comment
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By agd
May 2, 2012

Any beta for the approach time from the car? Moving to Pasadena soon and looking for some new spots.

By Eric O'Rafferty
From: Altadena, CA
May 27, 2012

It will take your 15 to 20 minutes to drive from Pasadena to the 39 in Azusa. I've not been up there yet, but it will probably take at least that much longer to get to Crystal Lake. I've lived here for years and just found out about this area recently. Will check it out soon.

By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Aug 5, 2012

Indeed, the drive time is 15 - 20 minutes from Pasadena to Azusa, but with the winding mountain road and all the congestion at the turnouts for swimmers/picnickers the drive up San Gabriel Canyon Road to Crystal Lake will take at least another 45 minutes. So you're looking at 1 hr to Crystal Lake from Pasadena.

By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Aug 5, 2012

Agd......the approach time from the car (2nd/higher parking lot) is likely 20 - 30 minutes, provided one can locate the best access up the scree slope and you can navigate efficiently to the base of your desired route. There isn't a well defined trail up the scree slope beyond the lake.

By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Aug 5, 2012

Many many kudos and the upmost admiration for Keith Leaman, Gary Cifra, and Dale Leaman for their vision and for pioneering many of the routes at Crystal Lake Crag in the 1960s!!!

By Jeff Edge
Mar 13, 2013

Anyone ever tried to climb those discontinuous and probably chossy cracks running up the much higher (compared to Ace Dick area) walls on the walk down from Conveniently Sexy towards Ace Dick?
I realize this is a very non-specific question, and really I'm just trying to ask if anyone's tried climbing anything between the two routes before. Was out there this past weekend for the first time and didn't do much exploring due to it being very cold in the shade! (About 4in of snow on the ground still by the base of the walls) So I thought I'd ask about exploring here first instead.

By TacoDelRio
From: The Ditch and the hood
Mar 20, 2013

Jeff, not yet. Was thinking of it but haven't tried it yet.