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Areas in Mount St. Helena

Bear, The 8 / 27 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 35
Bubble, The 2 / 10 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Far Side Gallery 2 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Far Side, The 24 / 26 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 47
Kimball Canyon 2 / 16 / 6 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 19
Macondo Cliff 3 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Overlook Boulders aka The Birds Eye Boulders, The 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0
Satellite Rocks 3 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 24
Silverado Mine 14 / 0 / 6 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 17
Table Rock 1 / 37 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 38
Table Scraps Pinnacle 0 / 12 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Table Sprak Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Wappo Tower 0 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Access Issue: Mt. St. Helena Crags - Fire Damage from Fall 2017 Details

Description

PLEASE AVOID ST. HELENA FOR NOW. THE RECENT FIRES HAVE DECIMATED THE ROCK AND POTENTIALLY THE BOLTS. (10/23/17) Check the forum discussion for the latest on climbing impacts.

Overlooking Napa Valley, Mount St. Helena is about the most scenic climbing in the Bay Area. If you're willing to hike there's a ton of trad climbing in the area, but thus far, I've been too lazy to get anywhere but the three sport climbing areas. The rock is volcanic in origin, and ranges widely in forms, thus specific descriptions will be saved for each crag. Recently, Aron and I discovered that Forrest Shute has been hiding in the Los Angeles area. He mentioned that he had about half of all the first ascents on the Mountain, and that there's a lot more climbing past the Far Side than just that available in guidebooks. Hopefully, we'll be able to share a little more of his wisdom in the future.

See the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park website for more information.

WARNING: The St. Helena climbing area (excluding “the bubble” area) has been severely affected by the Napa/Sonoma fires of October, 2017. Rock even on established routes may have been loosened and be unstable. The bolts however appear to be intact.

Getting There

From the majority of the Bay Area, it is quickest to take 80 East (though it goes mostly north) PAST highway 29, and take 12 west until it intersects 29 at a stop light.

Here, go right and drive through wine country (buy wine too).

In the town of Calistoga, 29 takes a right at a stop sign.

Continue on 29 out of Calistoga where it begins to get windy.

The road proceeds up the shoulder of Mount St. Helena.

At the top, there will be a pedestrians crossing sign promptly followed by parking areas on both the right and left sides of the road, they're pretty easy to fly by, but that's where you park.

You can park on either lot, and then which way to hike from there depends on your specific destination.

231 Total Climbs

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Location: Mount St. Helena Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Mount St. Helena

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 68
Table Scraps
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 75
Shute-Mills Route
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 113
Face, The Bubble Mt. St. Helena
Sport, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 73
Aperitif
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 35
Hailstone Arete
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 53
Mystery Hole
Sport, TR
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 58
Old Ladder Route
Sport, TR
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 73
Silverado Squatters
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 55
Kidnapped
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 68
Rampage
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 51
Jesus Christ Superbolter
Sport
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 60
Solar Power
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R
 47
The West Face
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 64
The Ladder
Sport, TR
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 39
Beast of Burden
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Table Scraps Table Scraps Pinnacle
 68
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Shute-Mills Route Far Side > Shute-Mills Area
 75
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Face, The Bubble Mt. St. He… Bubble
 113
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport, TR
Aperitif Table Scraps Pinnacle
 73
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Hailstone Arete Satellite Rocks > Hailstone Rock
 35
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Mystery Hole Far Side > Shute-Mills Area
 53
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport, TR
Old Ladder Route Bubble
 58
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport, TR
Silverado Squatters Bear
 73
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Kidnapped Bear
 55
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Rampage Bear
 68
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Jesus Christ Superbolter Table Scraps Pinnacle
 51
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Solar Power Bubble
 60
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
The West Face Bubble
 47
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R Sport
The Ladder Bubble
 64
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport, TR
Beast of Burden Bear
 39
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Mount St. Helena »

Weather Averages

High
 
Low
 
Precip
 
Days w Precip
 
Prime Climbing Season
J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Plan for an extremely hot hike that strenuous on warm days. Our crew concluded that these climbs would be a million times better if it were a cloudy cool day. The hike took so much out of us that many were unable to climb once we got to the far side.... For those who did, it was splendid! Amazing views and fun volcanic rock with lots of little holes. Sep 18, 2003
Smitty  
We climbed up on the main rocks not to long ago in a quest for long sport routes. Was stoked to see a few two pitch routes, although the pitches we kinda short. We did Mikes Moderate and it was pretty fun. The approach was a MF and the rock was a bit chossy but all in all it was a good day. I do feel that if you are going to drive this far from the bay area you might as well go to the leap. I mean its a 1.5 hr drive and an hour approach for a handful of routes. Also beware some of the bolts up there we manky. Mar 24, 2004
Jerry Dodrill
Bodega, CA
Jerry Dodrill   Bodega, CA
Random/relevant info:
Parking Lot Elevation: 2408'
GPS: N38.39.146 W122.35.960 Jan 19, 2008
Avery  
The approach to The Bear is significantly different and easier than the description in Bay Area Climbing. The guide says to go ~1/4 mile past the bubble, and then hike up a loose steep slope toward The Bear. If you continue past 2 "trails" up the road cut that fit the description in the guide book, you will come to a good real trail in another couple hundred yards. This trail starts well past the Bear and traverses the hill to approach The Bear from climbers right. Mar 30, 2009
Jerry Dodrill
Bodega, CA
Jerry Dodrill   Bodega, CA
Wine Country Rocks is out of print. Not sure about the status about other books, but this site has the most accurate and current info, though lacks topos. There are rumors of a new Bay Area Climbing book from SuperTopo due out next year. Jun 4, 2010
Bay Area Top Ropes is now in print. Check the touchstone gyms in the Bay, where it just landed on the shelves. Jun 4, 2010
To Smitty above: That would be Marks Moderate Jun 9, 2010
Renzo Pootnam
Davis, California
Renzo Pootnam   Davis, California
I used the Bay Area Topropes guide when climbing at the Far Side and didn't find it very helpful. There is one picture of the area that looks like it was taken from across the valley, making it difficult to locate specific routes. Also, many of the routes are not listed. If you are leading I would suggest the Bay Area Climbing book from Falcon. Nov 14, 2010
Jared W.
Oakland, CA
Jared W.   Oakland, CA
I would only use the Falcon book for a fairly decent topo that it provides of The Bear. However, Falcon's topo is outdated. Routes seem to have changed, and there are more now. Until a better, up-to-date guide book comes out, I'd recommend sticking only to the information found here on mountainproject.com. There's sufficient to finding the routes on The Bear and much better topos. Aug 19, 2011
Jerry Dodrill
Bodega, CA
Jerry Dodrill   Bodega, CA
Hey folks,
Conditions have been great lately and lots of people are visiting the park. Please keep in mind that there are no bathrooms at Mt. St. Helena/ R.L.S. State Park. Please poop in town before driving up. The parking lot is becoming a disaster of toilet paper behind every bush. If you really have to go when up on the mountain, bring a WAG BAG, or at least dig a deep hole out in the woods away from climbing areas and do NOT burn the paper! If you are really feeling like a rock star bring a couple trash bags and help by pick up some trash in the parking lot before driving down the hill.

Thanks a ton, and enjoy!
Jerry Dec 9, 2012
andand89
Berkeley, CA
andand89   Berkeley, CA
On the subject of guidebooks: I just picked up a new copy of "Bay Area Rock" and it has pretty good topos/route descriptions for the Far Side, Table Scraps, and Table Rock (the latter two aren't even mentioned in the Falcon guide).

Is there any chance at all of finding a copy of "Wine Country Rocks"? I'm curious if there's more info there that's not in guidebooks or on this site. May 14, 2013
Justin Johnsen
Sacramento, CA
Justin Johnsen   Sacramento, CA  
Thanks Dodrill, I used your parking area coordinates as the location for main Mt St Helena page, since most first-time visitors will be looking for the parking area.

I'll work on getting the actual crag coordinates for each sub area of MSH. Feb 10, 2014
Sergey Shelukhin
Seattle, WA
Sergey Shelukhin   Seattle, WA
There's a (new?) good shortcut trail that can be taken both up and down to avoid switchbacks to the "book" clearing (much better than old shortcuts between switchbacks and around them). It goes entirely to the left of the switchbacks if facing up, and starts almost immediately off the normal trail; it's pretty obvious on the left. As you start on that trail, very soon you'll see some fallen trees that were sawed to clear it, that's the right trail.
Easily saves 15 minutes or so. Jan 27, 2015
Thanks Sergey. Great tip. Mar 26, 2015
James Cranston
Boulder, CO
James Cranston   Boulder, CO
Anywhere to recommend for a post- Mt. St. Helena climb beer? May 24, 2015
Volunteers with BACC and RIM club did trail improvements and maintenance on the trail to the quarry and the climber's trail next to it that goes up to the fire road on October 17. We also blocked the shortcuts on the main hikers trail with all of the switchbacks.

After taking the climbers trail from near the parking lot to the "book" monument, follow the well defined trail to the right of the quarry up to the fire road. Please stay on this newly improved trail to avoid further braiding of trails and erosion. Oct 20, 2015
Jim Thornburg updated his Bay Area Rocks guidebook and included Black Tower, next to Kimball Crag, which was included in the previous version.

However, the Black Tower climbs are listed in reverse order in the guidebook. The correct order from left to right is:

south face
Corkscrew - 5.9+

Barrel Roll - 5.10a/b

east face
Sky Raider - 5.8

Wingman - 5.8

you can use a 60 meter rope on the two 5.8's, but you better tie a knot in the ends when rapping. I really recommend belaying from above when belaying a follower. If the rope doesn't run through draws, a 60m rope does just reach the ground and you can top rope them, but barely and lowering the last 20 feet is awkward and will abrade the rope. Feb 23, 2016
Kelley Gilleran
Sacramento, Ca
Kelley Gilleran   Sacramento, Ca
@James Cranston La Prima Pizza at the bottom of the hill. Good beer, great pizza, but kinda pricey. But hey you're in Calistoga.... Mar 29, 2016
FourT6and2 ...
San Francisco, CA
FourT6and2 ...   San Francisco, CA
I've climbed The Bubble and a few routes at Far Side. But on the hike to/from Far Side, you can see two free-standing rock formations up the hill a ways, between The Bubble and Far Side. What is this? We could clearly see a bolt glinting in the sun on one of them. But I don't see either of these crags in any guide book, nor here on MP unless I'm just confused at what I'm looking at. Here's a photo:



Is this Hailstone/Hole in the Wall? The topos make it seem like they are up and to the right of The Bubble. But this formation is closer to being toward Far Side, in the opposite direction. Apr 18, 2016
J. Albers
Colorado
J. Albers   Colorado
^^^^
That's Hailstone at the top I believe, so yes, you have identified those correctly. And they are in Jimi's recent book, check it out:

jimthornburg.com/bay-area-r… Apr 18, 2016
FourT6and2 ...
San Francisco, CA
FourT6and2 ...   San Francisco, CA
Oh, you're totally right! I just figured out you can click the GPS coordinates here on MP to get to Google Maps haha. Thanks for the confirmation! Apr 18, 2016
Shaniac  
WARNING: Car break-ins were common at the trail head parking lot on 10/23/16. When we came down from our climb, 6 cars had been broken into including my friends Honda. They were grabbing electronics, as his phone was gone, but I would not recommend leaving anything visible in your car at this location. I have been climbing here for years and have NEVER seen it this bad. Hopefully this will help someone. Oct 24, 2016
Joel.Perkins
Boulder, CO
Joel.Perkins   Boulder, CO
Can confirm. Car was broken into while we were up on the mountain 9/23/17...smash and grab for a backpack...they got my friend's credit card and spent $1000 at WalMart...please heed these warnings, dont be like me Sep 25, 2017
Isaac Snow
San Francisco, CA
Isaac Snow   San Francisco, CA
Any suggestions for avoiding getting your car broken into other than leaving things visible in your car? Like alternative parking locations or something? Planning on going there this weekend and want to avoid that. Sep 26, 2017
caughtinside
Oakland CA
caughtinside   Oakland CA
When the lot fills up, people park on the shoulder of the highway. Might be better? it's right next to the road so it would be pretty bold to smash and grab on the shoulder of a busy highway Sep 27, 2017
Shaniac  
Just uploaded a photo of the burn over. It was a major undertaking to protect the tower at the top with dozers. Sadly the mountain has burned. From what I hear the Palisades side...(West side) where Table Scraps, etc.. is located, did not burn. Oct 26, 2017
Jay Lee  
hi! does anyone know if the far side is climbable now? wanted to see if anyone had been out there since the fires Apr 25, 2018
Brice Pollock
Oakland, CA
Brice Pollock   Oakland, CA  
I just went out here yesterday with bay area climbing coalition. The Bear had gotten the worst of the fire but the routes seem in good shape. There are some small, thin, thumb-sized pieces that can shed off, but I saw someone sending even on a delicate 11c. Bolts look good.

Places like the bubble are bubbling with people. May 6, 2018
Hello climbers, I am writing an article for Inside Napa Valley magazine on rock climbing and would like to talk with anyone who has first hand and recent knowledge of Mt. St. Helena or any other climbing spots within the Napa Valley. Please contact me at kirkkirkpatrick2222@gmail.com Jun 19, 2018

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