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El Cajon Mountain

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Blue Sky Wall 
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Toe, The 

El Cajon Mountain 


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Lat, Long: 32.9041, -116.818 Map Incorrect?
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Administrators: Adam Stackhouse, Marc Kajut, M.Morley, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Marc Kajut on Feb 2, 2006
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The hike!!!!
Current San Diego County Advisories MORE INFO >>>

Description 

El Cajon Wall is located in East San Diego County. It has been the subject of much joy and pain for many local climbers. Nevertheless, recent development of the area has produced a number of phenomenal routes. The area is primarily a sport climbing destination, but hiking out with a few cams won't disappoint the discerning trad climber.


Getting There 

From highway 67 - take Mapleview Street, to El Monte Road. Continue on El Monte Road approximately 5.5 miles passing the El Monte County Park along the way. Park along the river side of the road near the gate to the El Capitan Reservoir. Follow the trail from the North side of the river basin to the Wall's base.


48 Total Routes


['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',14],['1 Star',6],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',5],['5.7',2],['5.8',8],['5.9',3],['5.10',18],['5.11',7],['5.12',2],['5.13',1],['>=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 El Cajon Mountain:
Bat Hooks Gone Wild   C2+     Aid, 1 pitch, 100'   El Cajon Mountain Quarry
Bright Eyes   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, Sport, 2 pitches, 220'   Blue Sky Wall
Buffalo Brothers   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 2 pitches, 180'   Blue Sky Wall
Meteor   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 4 pitches, 400'   Left Wall
Leonids   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 3 pitches, 350'   Left Wall
The Swiftness   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Center/Headwall
Parallel Universe   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 140'   Left Wall
Center Direct   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b PG13     Trad, 4 pitches, 450'   Center/Headwall
Manana   5.10 6b 20 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 2 pitches, 365'   Left Wall
No Place To Hide   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 3 pitches, 340'   Right Wall
Spitfire   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 150'   Center/Headwall
Cause for Pause   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 5 pitches, 450'   Left Wall
Crackamite   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 100'   Right Wall
Black Castle   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Center/Headwall
Line of Fire   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Right Wall
Triton Tower   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 3 pitches, 360'   Left Wall
Swiftness Direct   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   Center/Headwall
Halcyon   5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch   Center/Headwall
Diamond of San Diego   5.11d 7a 24 VIII E5 6a     Sport, 5 pitches, 450'   Center/Headwall
The Commander   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 5 pitches, 450'   Center/Headwall
Browse More Classics in El Cajon Mountain

Featured Route For El Cajon Mountain
ECM Left Wall, climbers on Leonids (5.9)

Leonids 5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a  CA : San Diego County : ... : Left Wall
This climb is pretty straight forward. The route starts left of a 20 ft tower of blocks. P1: (5.9) Clip the first bolt from atop the blocks and follow the bolt line up and right for approximately 170 ft to a hanging belay. A slightly steeper section right before the anchor may be considered the crux of the climb.P2: (5.9) Continue climbing up and right past another dozen of so bolts, clipping an anchor bolt along the way, to a comfortable belay ledge. The anchor is positioned about 10 ft left of...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

News and Events For El Cajon Mountain
Photos of El Cajon Mountain Slideshow Add Photo
ECM Wall.
ECM Wall.
Jess Downer sending in style!
Jess Downer sending in style!
Mountaineers Wall!!!
Mountaineers Wall!!!
Who knew this was in San Diego.
Who knew this was in San Diego.
Center Block!!!
Center Block!!!
El cajon.
El cajon.
Another Looming shot of ECM
Another Looming shot of ECM
Morning light on Mountaineers Wall with lifting clouds!
Morning light on Mountaineers Wall with lifting cl...
Beautiful spring day comes to a close
Beautiful spring day comes to a close
View from the road. El Cajon is the peak in the background.
View from the road. El Cajon is the peak in the ba...
Rappelling; Triton tower below
Rappelling; Triton tower below
John on Triton tower ArÍte!
John on Triton tower ArÍte!
beautiful and exposed cruising on diamonds of san diego, 5.11d
beautiful and exposed cruising on diamonds of san ...
At the belay station atop the Meteor traverse. Setting up lead for Tower Edge.
At the belay station atop the Meteor traverse. Set...
El Capitan reservoir from the top of ECM
El Capitan reservoir from the top of ECM
Jonathan on The Fat Lip!!!
Jonathan on The Fat Lip!!!
ECM  The Wedge
ECM The Wedge
Pano of Fly Dog, The Wedge and El Cap Reservoir!
Pano of Fly Dog, The Wedge and El Cap Reservoir!
Comments on El Cajon Mountain Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 6, 2014
By 4fun
Dec 6, 2006

Just a warning, some one "don't want to mention any names" has been chopping bolts and anchors all over the place at El Cajone Mountain. Be aware of this and inspect a route before you start to climb. If the bolts looks disfigured, it is a good bet that the bolt has been smashed and rendered useless.

I have heard of one report (not confirmed) of someone starting up a route only to find the second half of the route was chopped. This person was forced to run it out in order to get to another set of anchors.

This is extremely disappointing to see one of San Diego Counties best climbing areas being destroyed but it is so be careful.

By Andrew May
From: Sandy, UT
Dec 8, 2006

Thats too bad. I'm heading out to visit in a couple weeks and really wanted to climb at El Cajon. I read about it in Rock and Ice and few months ago and it looks great. Anyone know how many routes are affected by the bolt chopping?

By Isaac T.
From: Rockville, MD
Jan 12, 2007

Why are they chopping bolts do they want to keep it traditional? Can you place trad gear in place of the bolts? Or is someone doing this to prevent climbers from climbing here?

By Ryan Huetter
From: Mammoth Lakes, CA
Jan 17, 2007

I have been searching for a while now for current route conditions.

If you want the full on bolt chopping history, go to climbingsandiego.com. Read the first posted link, it lays it out there pretty well in a couple of letters from involved parties. Be prepared. This dude is psychotic.

If anyone has any current info on mutilated routes, it would be appreciated. We have been hearing stories of routes chopped after the 5th or 6th bolts, so it may not always be clear from the ground whether or not your route has been defiled. Very scary stuff indeed.

By Romain Wacziarg
Jan 22, 2007

The latest issue of Rock and Ice has an article on the bolt chopper. This is a very worrisome and very dangerous development. Aside from that, I'm sure this person could be held legally liable if someone gets hurt - there is a such a thing as tort law in this country. The dispute apparently also involves the theft of a drill and of bolting equipment, the trashing of other peoples' bolting equipment and of a trail, as well as the destruction of some holds. Some of these involve eyewitnesses. Theft and vandalism are illegal and could serve as the basis for legal action.

By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Mar 6, 2008

Another guide exists. Check out CH's site at www.climbingtoposofsandiego.com/ for topos around San Diego. His ECM guide tends to be more accurate for the center routes than the other PDF guide.

By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Nov 3, 2009

Now a new guide option is available. The Allied Climbers of San Diego have created a guide for El Cajon Mtn, Eagle Peak, and Corte Madera. It's quite good. I recommend you check it out at a local REI or better yet come to a member meeting. www.alliedclimbers.org .

By Hubbard
Jun 17, 2010

Hey CD the trail head is 100 yards east of the mile 5.5 parking. There is no P.O. on the trail. It seems you missed the trail. The rest of the riverbed is full of poison oak. Once you cross the river there isn't any and none at the crags.

By Chris DeWitt
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Aug 23, 2010

Oh dang! Thanks Hubbard. Next time I'm down in the area I'll have to check it out.

By Kellen Holt
Mar 4, 2012

Made it out to this crag for the first time in 6 years after climbing here a handful of times back in 2005/2006.

A few notes I wanted to add:

- This wall is almost directly south facing, and on warm days it gets flat out HOT up there. There is also little to no options for shade at the base or on the wall. Bring cool clothing (even if it's cold at the parking area, you're probably going to want to be in t-shirt and shorts), and LOTS of water. We got stuck here on an exceptionally warm day (for march) and ended up bailing after only 1 pitch of climbing as the sun was unrelenting.

- The approach is an hour for fit parties that don't take any breaks, more like 1.5 hours if you stop at the few shady spots on the way up. The trail also goes pretty much straight up (i.e little to no switchbacks, other than the final apron to the wall) so it's a workout both going up and down.

Great crag, but very weather dependent due to the aspect.

By Mary Moser
Dec 10, 2012

Does anyone know the latest about the condition of bolts at El Cajon Mtn? Has the hideous chopping fiasco come to an end?

By Mike Taylor
Jan 1, 2013

I have been climbing at ECM for quite a while now. Recently it seems the squirrels at the base have figured out that packs left at the base while we climb often contain tasty snacks. This has lead to two of my packs being chewed completely through by the bastards. On one occasion I watched from two pitches up as one gnawed through my new climbing pack, and could do nothing about it at the time. To remedy this I packed in a large, green Rubbermaid storage tote. I brought this up so that other climbers like myself can climb without worry of losing our snack, and packs. I left the tote near the base of Leonids. Please use it with respect (i.e., don't leave garbage or food to spoil in it) and also...don't feed the squirrels. Climb on!

-Mike T.

By lifeblack
Jan 7, 2013

Mike, I admire your being proactive about _doing_ something about the squirrel problem at ECM.. The last time I went up leonids last year, there was this fat squirrel that just was certain I had food in my bag, and I couldn't chase it off... it would scamper away by about 10 feet and then wait until I gave up. Unless I was willing to do something permanent to it, I knew it was going to get into my bag, and sure enough, my bag had a hole, my apple had a bite out of it, and my buddy's bag was torn up (maybe it was tastier?). After my experience with this squirrel (among others), I asked around and was pointed to a company that makes a product called an ursack that's advertised as being bearproof (though I don't believe it's approved for yosemite). I carry all of my food in it now when I'm out climbing and car camping, and nothing's gotten into it yet.

Also, if we can keep the squirrels away from the base of the cliff, hopefully this will also imply that rattlesnakes will likewise follow them elsewhere, and not congregate at the base.....

By Steve WP
Feb 16, 2013

My vehicle was vandalized yesterday while I was climbing at El Cajon Mountain. I was parked at the trailhead near the reservoir. The passenger window was smashed when I returned. Just a friendly warning to climbers/hikers.

By Sdm1568
From: Ca
Apr 3, 2013

Unfortunately the squirrel problem still exists - Trango Splitter pack torn up... Wish I would have read this post sooner haha.

By Chris Regan
Apr 7, 2013

I was just there on 4/5/13 and could not find that storage bin. Either it was moved, removed, or just hidden well, but we looked around Leonids and couldn't find it.

By gabemcg
From: Phoenix, AZ
Jun 25, 2013

To reach the wall, you have to take a trail that branches off the trail near the transmission lines. There are several--take the one that goes past an interpretive sign about raptors. The one shortly after that goes to the "mountaineer's wall."

By Christian Gerth
Jan 4, 2014

Because there is only a hand-drawn map of the trail to the base of wall available, I added both the wall itself and the access trail to the Openstreetmap database. I have not climbed on this wall yet, therefore I just used the Bing satellite images and the hand-drawn map to insert the trail to the OSM database. However, I could not finish the trail near the wall because the resolution of the Bing images are not high enough. I will fix this in April, using a GPS device or somebody else who is familiar with OSM, can do this in the meanwhile.

By jalbo
Jan 4, 2014

Would love to get an update about bolt vandalism at El Cajon. Looks like the drama went down back in '06 - but I can't seem to find any information that would indicate if the damaged bolts have been replaced. Anyone out there know anything?

By bspiewak
Jan 6, 2014

....
....


jalbo, and anyone else who enjoys climbing established routes with fixed protection on El Cajon Mountain;

Considerable effort has been made over the past few years to repair the vandalism to the trail and the bolts that occured there in the past. And although there has been no assurance that the vandalism will not occur again, we can only hope that will not be the case. When the vandalism first occured relatively few climbers knew what was being lost, and little was done to put a stop to it. Eight years later, legal precedents have been established elsewhere in the country regarding similar situations since then, and San Diego's climbing community has grown tremendously in size and effectiveness in dealing with issues that have threatened access to the places we love to climb.

My main motivation for contributing El Cajon information here on this great website (Thank You, Mountain Project!) has been to share the climbs with as many of you as possible in hopes that you also find them worth fighting for.

Although there are several routes that are in need of having the vandalism dealt with (smashed bolt hangers, holes patched, etc.) there aren't many routes that still need to be rebolted. And whereas my energy and expenses are compelled else where these days, I'll continue to find ways to contribute to the hill.

Have you done anything recently to contribute to the places you love to climb?

Happy Trails, and a Happy New Year!
Brian