Sign Up  |   Log In:Login with Facebook
REI Community
Sonora Pass Highway (108)

Select Area...
Columns of the Giants 
Donnell Reservoir 
Herring Creek Dome 
Jailhouse Rock 
Knight's Ferry 
Potter's Rock 
Second Quarry Area (5N06 turnoff) 
Sonora Pass Bouldering 
Table Mountain 

Sonora Pass Highway (108) Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 38.17532, -120.02685 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 186,972
Administrators: M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M.Morley on Sep 24, 2011


49° | 29°

55° | 35°

53° | 25°

41° | 25°

47° | 28°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
Your opinion of this PAGE:    [2 people like this page.]


The Sonora Pass highway is a short drive from Northern California's major population centers, yet offers rock like Tahoe AND Yosemite without the crowds of either destination.

The low country includes a series of crags along highway 108 from the San Joaquin Valley into the foothills near the town of Sonora itself.

In the fall, Table Mountain, especially around the Grotto, is one of the most beautiful places in the state. However, learn about its paradoxical access issues before visiting the Gold Wall or Jail House Rock areas there. They contain some of the finest climbing around, but aren't documented online or in guidebooks.

Approaches range from roadside pullouts with painted grades (established by the US Marines on public land near their Mountain Warfare Training Center), to remote and wild alpine lines requiring both luck and determination to climb successfully.

The high country is highly seasonal! Sonora Pass closes down every winter, and sometimes with little notice in spring and fall when there's snow on the ground.

A 2013 edition of "A Climber's Guide to the Sonora Pass Highway" may increase visits.

Other updates beyond the book can be found at the Sonora Pass Climbing website.

Getting There 

From the west, head east on Hwy 108 from the small community of Sonora.

From the east, head west on Hwy 108 from Bridgeport at the junction of Hwy 395.

Note that the highway is closed in winter, generally November through May. Check for road conditions and closures.

Climbing Season

Weather station 15.6 miles from here

102 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',12],['3 Stars',34],['2 Stars',40],['1 Star',14],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Sonora Pass Highway (108)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Sonora Pass Highway (108):
Sea of Tranquility   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 5 pitches   Herring Creek Dome : West Face
Bandito   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Go with the Flow   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Table Manners   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Granted   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Chicken Ranch Bingo   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Color Coded Quickdraws   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   Table Mountain : Ort Wall
Three Fingered Jack   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Crystal Planet   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Second Quarry Area (5N06 tu... : Second Quarry
AC Devil Dog   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Rawhide   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Snake Bite   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, 1 pitch, 40'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Squealer   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Delirious    5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 80'   Columns of the Giants
Men's Crisis Center   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Flight Simulator   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Table Mountain : The Grotto
Iron Junkie   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b     Sport, 90'   Jailhouse Rock
Soap on a Rope   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Jailhouse Rock
Cell Block Six   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   Jailhouse Rock
Fugitive   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Jailhouse Rock
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Sonora Pass Highway (108)

Featured Route For Sonora Pass Highway (108)
Rock Climbing Photo: Jailbait

Jailbait 5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a  CA : Central Sierra : ... : Jailhouse Rock
This is a full value endurance 13c which isn't over until you ring the anchor bells. Start on the right of 2 parallel pillars and dial up for ever-steepening technical and powerful moves utilizing a few helpful kneebars along the way. A break on jugs and kneebars at two-thirds heighth gives way to another powerful 30 feet of business with little chance to catch your breath until the anchors. A final stand-up vertical lunge into a blocky undercling usually yields multiple obligatory redpoint whip...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Comments on Sonora Pass Highway (108) Add Comment
Show which comments
By Tom Addison
Dec 6, 2014
The sign was posted by the Bureau of Reclamation. After conversation with the Bureau, the Access Fund will be reaching out to the climbing community and asking us not to place any bolts or install any fixed hardware on Table Mountain cliffs for the time being. Furthermore, please refrain from camping,having fires, or establishing new use trails in the area. The Bureau has expressed a number of concerns, but the signs are specifically a reaction to their concerns about possible negative affects of climbing and fixed hardware on a sensitive bat species. We'll put out more information as the situation develops.
Rock Climbing Photo: USBR signs posted late November 2014 at Table Moun...
USBR signs posted late November 2014 at Table Mountain Parking (end of Shell Road)
By Justin Johnsen
From: Sacramento, CA
Dec 9, 2014
Thanks Tom, added a copy of your photo and note to the Table Mountain area.

The Definitive
Climbing Resource

Inspiration & Motivation
to Fuel Your Run

Next Generation Mountain
Bike Trail Maps

Backcountry, Sidecountry
& Secret Stashes

Better Data. Better Tools.
Better Hikes!