Tollhouse Rock is a 600' granite dome located about an hour northeast of Fresno, at 4000' in the foothills between Fresno and Shaver Lake. A stellar winter weekend destination (or daytrip for us locals), it has some of everything -- sport routes, multipitch trad and runout face, and a little bouldering. The views of the Sierras and the valleys unfolding below the dome are fabulous, and definitely make a belay on top of another stellar pitch all the more enjoyable. Routes range from 5.5 to 5.12. If you plan on camping, it is possible at Tollhouse, but watch out for drunk rednecks with guns. With a 4WD you can get to the top of Tollhouse Rock and access some hidden spots, though.
The crag Squarenail, just down the highway from Tollhouse rock, is also included in this area due to its proximity. It contains primarily sport routes from 5.7 to 5.12, although a few cracks are available, as well as a boulder with some aid routes.
From Fresno, the most straight-forward route to Tollhouse Rock and Squarenail is to follow HWY 168 west (if coming from outside Fresno, take the Shaw Ave. Exit off 99 West to 168) past Prather. Its about 35 miles to Prather. Two miles or so past Prather is a stopsign where 168 turns left - follow it.
5.2 miles up the highway (this section is known to locals as "the 4-lane") is a sweeping lefthand curve, and roadcut, and a pullout on the right side (hop the curb). This is the pullout for Squarenail. A trail to the cliff starts at the beginning of the roadcut and a slabby rock, and is kind of hidden by brush. It will take you to the top of the cliff. Scramble down the gully on the left to access climbs on the main face, or continue across the top and follow the trail and gully down to access climbs on the left side of the cliff.
To access Tollhouse Rock, continue up the 4-lane for a few miles. Right after it ends, turn right on Tollhouse Road. About 1-1.5 miles down the road, a saddle is reached with an obvious dirt road and parking area on the left. With 4wd or moderate clearance, follow the road under powerlines and park. A serious 4WD road leads up to the top of the descent slab/trail. This is taken to Sunday Slab and the main wall.
Continue through the scrub past the Tollhouse traverse and find three Yosemite-like finger cracks with large truck-sized boulders at the base. Elephant Walk is the middle, and best of the three. Climb it. ...[more]Browse More Classics in CA
Just a neighborly comment...we rednecks have to watch out for drunken climbers with 4WD trucks! My dogs dodge youse guys all the time!
Signed: A denizen of the area
By M.Morley Administrator From: Sacramento, CA Jan 31, 2006
Tollhouse has some great climbing to offer. I had the pleasure of climbing here over a 2-year period in '98/'99 while working for the old Pacific Crest Outward Bound School "PCOBS", which had a basecamp further up Hwy 168 at the Sierra Summit ski area. After a long day of climbing, no trip to Tollhouse was complete without indulging in a world-famous malt at the Hungry Hut up the road in Shaver!
For first-timers, the Tollhouse Traverse is not to be missed. The bolted lines tend to be fairly runout, and many of the bolts were in bad shape, although someone may well have replaced these over the past several years.
Dave: thanks for adding this area to the db and helping to jog some good memories!
By M.Morley Administrator From: Sacramento, CA May 9, 2006
44 bolts on many routes were replaced March 2000 by members of the Southern and Central Sierra Climbers Associations. More...
Recently climbed here for the first time and in comparison to yosemite, J-tree, Tahquitz and Suicide climbing definite sandbagging going on. Probably about a grade higher than stated. Great climbing however with solid granite. Will visit many times to come...
Actually, the grades are spot on and have been that way since they were FA'd. The times have changed but the ratings have not. Bolt placements may be far out there and that may make 'em feel a bit tougher (heady). Then again, it is slab after all...it's not for everyone.
@ usetob- I have been climbing in all areas (including Suicide and Tahquitz...which are now just outside my back porch) since 1990. And, of course, I was once a local around Tollhouse as well. I support the grades of the FAist to this day. I first started climbing steep slab in the Valley, Courtright, Suicide and Tollhouse. They all have solid ratings for sure. You want to really put your head in check, climb at Looking Glass in NC. Scariest slab climbing on the planet hands down. 50 to 60 runouts the norm. You don't know what sandbagging is until you've been there. Soooo...."obviously", I have climbed beyond your narrow blind statement....
Right On for Tollhouse! Just spent my first full day there. Led Beginners Delight, TR'ed Shining Path, then led the first pitch of Wandering Taoist(heady), then we finished the day up on 4 pitches of Beginners Right into Elephant Walk. Last pitch in headlamps with the Fresno lights shining bright. Had a blast and will go again soon. The road in is pretty gnar at that one bad spot. You'll need some burly high clearence 4wd to get up and down that.