Santa Barbara is a low-key town an hour north of Los Angeles. Take the 101 north and you go right through town.
Santa Barbara has a large number of short cliffs scattered about the ridgeline behind the city. The rock is dense sandstone of mixed quality and primarily bolted. Like San Luis Obispo, it's not a destination area, but good routes exist.
The rock is soft, and softer when wet, so please respect the one day of drying for each day of rain rule.
Guidebooks currently available in local stores:
- Rock Climbing Santa Barbara & Ventura by Steve Edwards (well put together and still quite complete, covers roped routes as well as the major bouldering areas)
- Ocean's Eleven - Bouldering around Santa Barbara by Bob Banks (brand spankin' new!)
And a guidebook not currently available in stores, but obtainable on Ebay, Amazon, etc:
- "Climbing! Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo" by Steve Tucker and Kevin Steele. A fabulous text that pays ample homage to Santa Barbara's traditional roots. A little outdated in some areas, but a gem of adventurous and off-the-beaten-track routes nonetheless. It's out of print, so happy searching!
Here's some additional climbing related links with a local flair:
- www.king-dino.com: catalogue of climbing and assorted adventure from guidebook author Bob Banks.
- www.crankenstein.com: let burly sport climber and Owl Tor afficionado Elijah Ball show you what's rad, and what's not. Topics range from climbing to freediving to weightlifting.
588 Total Routes
['4 Stars',44],['3 Stars',210],['2 Stars',202],['1 Star',88],['Bomb',1]
Browse More Classics in Santa Barbara
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Santa Barbara:
Featured Route For Santa Barbara
Broken Mirror 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a
: Central Coast
: ... : Gibraltar Rock
Broken Mirror is a free variation to Mirror in the Bathroom, which was put up as an aid-route sometime in the 80's. Put simply: clean, fascinating, and exceptionally devious face-climbing with some pretty thrilling run-outs. Long (for SB), sustained, and beautiful. ...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
News and Events For Santa Barbara
Latest Regional Forum Messages
|By Nathan Fisher|
Feb 2, 2006
Nice to see Santa Barbara make it here. I first climbed here when my brother introduced me to the sport in 1984. Man that was some years back.
From: Sacramento, CA
May 16, 2006
For single-pitch sport climbing, you've got several options in and around SB:
- Wheeler Gorge - on the way to Sespe along Hwy 33 - a good variety from 5.8 to mid 5.11 on 3 distinct rock types. Nice when it's hot, right along creek. About an hour or so from SB.
- Little Lebowski - a good half day's worth. Short routes. A 15 min walk, just off W Camino Cielo.
- Fire Crags - a good half day's worth. Nice views. Short routes, short approach. Right off 154 at Painted Cave.
- Crag Full 'o Dynamite - zero approach, about a dozen short, fun routes literally right on the road. 15 minutes drive past Upper Gibraltar.
An hour and a half to the north, San Luis Obispo has some fun climbing on entirely different rock than the Santa Barbara/Ojai/Ventura variety. The best routes are on Bishop Peak and the [currently closed] Cerro Romualdo.
Pretty much the only multipitch climbing within 3 hours of Santa Barbara is at Sespe Gorge. Ending Crack is the best of the lot. Tahquitz/Suicide offers many fantastic multipitch routes, but it's a 3.5 hr drive from SB directly through L.A. Tollhouse Rock is another option for multipitch, but again, it's a good 5-hr drive, you're almost better off going to Yosemite.
|By andy patterson|
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jun 19, 2007
Actually, there are a number of awesome multi-pitch routs in S.B.: Cathedral Peak (adventuresome 3 pitch 5.7), Upper Gibraltar (2 pitch 5.10b), and a number of others...
From: Golden, CO
Sep 20, 2008
Has anyone found any new rock since the fire?
|By andy patterson|
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Oct 29, 2008
As of Fall 2008, much of the climbing on West Camino Cielo is closed due to some sort of post-fire mulch operation instituted by the Forest Service. Lizard's Mouth is still open, but places like the Brickyard and the Playground are off-limits until (apparently) next Fall. Please respect the Forest Service's wishes and don't climb the closed areas. There's plenty of other rock in the area.
|By Matthew Fienup|
From: Ventura, CA
May 27, 2009
The Jesusita Fire, which destroyed more than 8700 acres, has had a dramatic effect on Santa Barbara climbing sites. Upper Rattlesnake and Upper Cold Springs Canyons suffered severe damage. The entire Gibraltar Area, including Cold Springs Dome, has burned.
To see photos of the Gibraltar Area after the fire, click here
|By Rob Riggleman|
From: Santa Barbara, CA
May 28, 2009
There is a trail restoration day planned for June 13th for many of the trails affected by the Jesusita fire. Not too many details on the organization of the day yet, but the general plan is to meet at Skofield park and then set out to work on the Jesusita, Tunnel, Rattlesnake, and the West Fork of the Cold Springs trails.
Check this blog for further updates.
|By burlap submariner|
Jun 25, 2010
coming to santa barbara this winter to surf and looking to climb in the san ysidro area and other surrounding crags. Is there relative cheap camping/blm land in the immediate area or close buy? Also where is the best good eats/beers nearby? Muchas gracias.
|By Jan Roestel|
Sep 20, 2010
Bob and Andy are spot on. Post the link on the Brickyard and Lizard Mouth pages.
|By Chris Morissette|
From: Santa Barbara
Mar 14, 2014
I was up at Fire Crag yesterday and saw two baby rattlesnakes on the trail between the lower and the upper crag. There must be a den near there. They were extremely camouflaged so be careful.
|By Rachel Jutkowitz|
Apr 6, 2014
We have 2 rooms opening up May 1, and would love to share our house with fellow climbers.
We have two rooms available in a 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath, 2-story duplex in the Ellwood area of Goleta that will be available May 1. Rent for the smaller room is $745/month with a $695 deposit. The larger room is $765/month with a $715 deposit. Water, trash, and gardening is paid, however power, gas, and cable / internet are not and average about $80/mo. Unfortunately, rooms cannot be shared.
House has a private laundry room, fenced and gated yard, patio, and 1/2 a garage currently used for storage. Available rooms contain built-in closets and large sliding windows. House is approximately a 15 minute bike ride to UCSB and a 5-minute walk to the bus stop. Ellwood Mesa and the beach are about a 15 minute walk away. Parking is on the street but ample.
We are pet friendly, however, any pets must be well behaved and non-destructive. Of course, they must be well taken care of and cleaned up after (e.g., regular bathing, flea prevention, waste removal, etc.). Currently, there are no pets in the house. An additional $500 deposit will be required for any dog or cat. We are open to large dogs.
- Front load washer and dryer
- Fully stocked and loaded kitchen
- Propane gas grill and charcoal smoker
- Fully furnished and established
Looking for someone fun, courteous, clean, and social. Internationals, mature students, professionals, etc., are all welcome. No drugs or smoking.
We are a young professional couple sharing the master bedroom. We are not a party house, but we love cooking big meals, playing board games, playing music, rock climbing, and almost anything involving the outdoors.
If interested please contact Rachel at firstname.lastname@example.org
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