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Potrero John

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Beginnings T 
Cleaning Lady S 
Color Blind (aka Rubber Man) S 
Menage a Trois S 
Miccis S 
Migrating Coconuts (aka Zyzzxx) S 
Potrero Traverse 
Should I Go (aka El Potrero) S 
Should I Stay S 

Potrero John  

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Elevation: 3,600'
Location: 34.5806, -119.2606 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 5,717
Administrators: andy patterson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M.Morley on Feb 13, 2006
This Afternoon

78° | 36°

76° | 34°

79° | 39°

86° | 44°
Labor Day

86° | 48°

86° | 48°
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A quarter mile further up the road from Sespe Gorge (Black Wall) lies this 80' cliff sporting a handful of quality sport routes. Bring traditional gear if planning on climbing the solitary trad line, Beginnings (5.5). Also, some supplementary gear (nuts, TCUs) is recommended if leading Menage a Trois (5.10b). A single rope is sufficient to get off all routes.

Historical Background 

Information care of the late Reese Martin: "In 1995 Potero John Wall was retro-bolted with fat 3/8" bolts and additional anchors were added. This turned what had been a collection of runout 1/4" spinner horror-shows, into a friendly and fun place for the moderate climber. All five bolted routes are worthwhile. When you climb the insecure, tricky seam in the middle of the face, Menage a Trois, 5.10b, remember the route was first climbed in EBs and protected only by wired stoppers in 1976 by "Hot" Henry Barber and Yvon Chouinard. The bolts appeared recently. After your day of climbing be sure to check out the numerous swimming holes nearby. There is a great barefoot boulder traverse over the big pool 200 yards upstream. Fall off and you're wet."

Getting There 

1/4 mile up the road from Sespe's main "Black Wall". Park in a dirt turnout and walk down the hillside, across Sespe Creek. Approach time: 5 minutes.


From Tradgirl.com (c)Reese Martin 1997

Climbing Season

Weather station 5.1 miles from here

9 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',3],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Potrero John:
Beginnings   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad   
Miccis   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport   
Migrating Coconuts (aka Zyzzxx)   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch   
Cleaning Lady   5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 80'   
Menage a Trois   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13     Sport   
Should I Go (aka El Potrero)   5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   
Color Blind (aka Rubber Man)   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport   
Browse More Classics in Potrero John

Featured Route For Potrero John
A view up the undulating crack of "Beginnings...

Beginnings 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a  CA : Central Coast : ... : Potrero John
Like "the Ladder" at Gibraltar, this is not the most flattering name. Yet, it's an outstanding route--steep and sustained, absolutely wild considering the modest grade.Walk off left down the class 4 gully or right down a trail and easy slabs....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Potrero John Slideshow Add Photo
David practices lowering out, on a fixed line at P...
David practices lowering out, on a fixed line at P...
Potrero John topo 1
BETA PHOTO: Potrero John topo 1
Potrero John topo 2
BETA PHOTO: Potrero John topo 2
Erica crosses Sespe creek during the high waters o...
Erica crosses Sespe creek during the high waters o...

Comments on Potrero John Add Comment
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By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Mar 16, 2006
This area would see a ton of traffic except that it's a bit too far from town and it's simply overshadowed by its big brother down stream.

Generally, these are very good routes in an idyllic setting. Potrero John is a perfect escape from the Black Wall on busy weekends.
By Michelle Lynn
From: Moab, UT
Jul 22, 2012
We had a little trouble finding this crag. The large pullout on the left (coming from Black Wall) is closest to the Fortress, not Potrero John. If you park here, walk on the road back toward Black Wall a few hundred yards until you're directly under Potrero John, then cross the river. The cliff is shady after 2 pm in the summer.
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