Elevation: 9 ft
GPS: 37.8184, -122.28804
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Anonymous on Dec 31, 2000 · Updates
Admins: Aron Quiter, Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

Old Training Ground Meets Locals' Playground

While not generally thought of as a destination area for rock climbing, the pure number of visitors that head to the bay area for other purposes make this a great location for a quick day on the rock in between other commitments.

You can climb year round in the Bay Area, provided that winter rains haven't pummeled the area too recently. Often, inland areas are extremely hot in the summer, though the coastal areas will stay pleasant.

American Big Wall climbing took its first roots here, with locals practicing their skills on local rocks before heading to Yosemite for its renowned cliffs. Almost every area that has a chimney in Northern California was first climbed by Warren Harding or Forrest Shute, and you will often see a piton stuck in the rock left over from climbers of another age.

Berkeley, Castle Rock and Sonoma will hold your attention for a great day of bouldering. Mount Saint Helena or Lover's Leap (in the Tahoe area, but still only about 2 hours drive from most locations), or Table Mountain for a sport or trad experience.

Visitors and locals alike should check out the area along the Sonoma coast for a sport or bouldering experience unique to California, where waves, wind and rock found only here make an unforgettable day's climbing.

People with several days free in the Bay Area will probably want to head east to the Tahoe area in the summer or fall, to Yosemite for the trad folks, and perhaps all the way out (6-8 hours) to the Eastern Sierra areas like Bishop and Mammoth for a world class alpine, sport, or bouldering experience.

Unfortunately, a significant portion of the best climbing in the Bay Area is on private property, and unless you're in the know, you don't get to go.

The Bay Area's Areas

A few notes for first time visitors on where the rocks are clustered around here.

  • San Francisco is the city itself. Areas to climb here include Beaver Street Wall, Cliff House Boulders and Glen Canyon.
  • The East Bay is across the Bay Bridge from the city, and includes many parks in Berkeley and Oakland. The best climbing is near its eastern boundary, at Mount Diablo State Park.
  • The South Bay and Silicon Valley are south of the city. The most popular climbing areas here are in the Castle Rock Area, in the Santa Cruz Mountains. You can overhear tech employees talking about Google while you belay.
  • The North Bay starts north from the city across the famous Golden Gate Bridge, including Marin and neighboring counties. Climbing areas here include Mickey's Beach, Mount Tam and Ring Mountain.
  • Wine Country refers (Baycentrically) to wild and rural areas further north than the North Bay. This includes Napa, Sonoma and nearby counties, with climbing mostly on the rolling hills of the coast ranges, sometimes right on the scenic coast. Areas here include Mount St. Helena and The Nut Tree Boulders.

Most urban locales can be reached by BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) and connecting systems, or Uber if you're a high roller. Some crags are best reached by car, but keep in mind parking can be pricey in spots, and the bridges often collect tolls.

Community

BACC (Bay Area Climbers Coalition) is the local Access Fund org at work here.

SF Bay Area - Bad Bolts forum tracks bolt replacement.

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Classic Climbing Routes at San Francisco Bay Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V1 5
 110
Waimea Wall
Boulder
V4 6B
 87
Bates Arete
Boulder
V4+ 6B+
 90
Tree Problem
Boulder
V5 6C
 80
Indian Rock Traverse
Boulder
V5 6C
 96
Sunshine (sit)
Boulder
V5-6 6C+
 93
Hueco Wall
Boulder
V6 7A
 82
Lost Keys Traverse
Boulder
V6 7A
 73
[Redacted]
Boulder
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 356
Amazing Face
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 132
The Great Roof
TR
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 93
Rampage
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13
 97
Egghead
Sport
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c V3 6A R
 107
Center Overhang (aka Pitfall)
TR, Boulder
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 122
Bolt Route
Sport
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a
 81
Donkey Dong
Sport, TR
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Waimea Wall Castle Rock Area > … > Castle Rock Loop > Castle Rock Proper
 110
V1 5 Boulder
Bates Arete Castle Rock Area > … > Castle Rock Loop > Bates Arete Boulder
 87
V4 6B Boulder
Tree Problem Castle Rock Area > … > Castle Rock Loop > Parking Lot Rock
 90
V4+ 6B+ Boulder
Indian Rock Traverse Berkeley > Indian Rock > N face (Indian Rock)
 80
V5 6C Boulder
Sunshine (sit) Berkeley > Mortar Rock
 96
V5 6C Boulder
Hueco Wall Castle Rock Area > … > Magoos > Dog Dish Boulders
 93
V5-6 6C+ Boulder
Lost Keys Traverse Castle Rock Area > … > Indian Rock Side > Lost Keys Bouldering
 82
V6 7A Boulder
[Redacted] Castle Rock Area > … > Indian Rock Side > [Redacted]
 73
V6 7A Boulder
Amazing Face Mt Diablo SP > Boy Scout Rocks > Lower Tier
 356
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
The Great Roof Castle Rock Area > Goat Rock
 132
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b TR
Rampage Wine Country > Mt St Helena > Bear
 93
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Egghead Mickey's Beach > Egg
 97
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c PG13 Sport
Center Overhang (aka Pitfall) Berkeley > Indian Rock > Pit (W Side)
 107
5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c V3 6A R TR, Boulder
Bolt Route Mt Diablo SP > Boy Scout Rocks > Lower Tier
 122
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Donkey Dong Castle Rock Area > Indian Rock
 81
5.11c/d 7a 24 VIII 25 E4 6a Sport, TR
More Classic Climbs in San Francisco Bay Area »

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