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Areas in Tollhouse Rock

Cap Rocks 0 / 0 / 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Hippo Wall 0 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Sunday Slabs 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Tollhouse Rock 21 / 7 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 27
Elevation: 3,891 ft
GPS: 37.033, -119.387 Google Map · Climbing Map
Shared By: ClimbandMine on Feb 8, 2003
Admins: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Description

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.

Getting There

From Fresno, the most straight-forward route to Tollhouse Rock and Squarenail is to follow HWY 168 east (if coming from outside Fresno, take the Shaw Ave. Exit off 99 East to 168) past Prather. Its about 35 miles to Prather. Two miles or so past Prather is a stop sign 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 left hand 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.

38 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Tollhouse Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Tollhouse Traverse
Trad 4 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Elephant Walk
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Old Fart's Edge
Trad 4 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Free and Easy
Trad 3 pitches
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Seven Bolts
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Hippo in a Bathtub
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Nuts and Bolts
Trad 4 pitches
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Platinum Plus
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Fabulously Fresno
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Trauma Dogs
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Beginner's Delight
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Taking a Bath With Strangers
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Wandering Taoist
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Art Baker Memorial
Trad 2 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Shining Path
Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Tollhouse Traverse Tollhouse Rock 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad 4 pitches
Elephant Walk Tollhouse Rock 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Old Fart's Edge Tollhouse Rock 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 4 pitches
Free and Easy Tollhouse Rock 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Seven Bolts Hippo Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Hippo in a Bathtub Hippo Wall 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Nuts and Bolts Tollhouse Rock 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 4 pitches
Platinum Plus Tollhouse Rock 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Fabulously Fresno Hippo Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Trauma Dogs Hippo Wall 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Beginner's Delight Tollhouse Rock 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Taking a Bath With Strangers Hippo Wall 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Wandering Taoist Tollhouse Rock 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad, Sport 4 pitches
Art Baker Memorial Tollhouse Rock 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Shining Path Tollhouse Rock 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad, Sport 4 pitches
More Classic Climbs in Tollhouse Rock »

Weather Averages

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Brianna Chrisman 1
Mountain View
Brianna Chrisman 1   Mountain View
If you don't have a high clearance vehicle, I would just recommend camping on the pull out directly off the side of the actual (paved) road. It's kind of awkward and feels like maybe you shouldn't be camping there because you're so close to the road, but there are no signs saying anything and we had no problem.

Even trying to get down the initial 1 mi dirt road that mountain project says you go on before you need the 4WD to get up to the rock, we got my car stuck and had to push for two hours to get it out of a ditch. The winter storms have really wrecked this road. And anyways, there's not really anywhere to camp by that gate at the end of the road and I don't think you would save that much time walking up to the rock anyways if you made it to the end of the road (before the turnoff).

For driving to the top of the rock, it seems to me that you would need one HELL of a 4WD to get up there. Like maybe a monster truck or ATV?!

Tollhouse rock is beautiful, with a fairly miserable approach (but getting to the top of the rock is really gorgeous), and some seriously sandbagged routes (non-locals, beware!). May 17, 2017
Aaron Slaven
Fresno, CA
Aaron Slaven   Fresno, CA
The road is in one of the best conditions I've seen in some time. Looks like this past summer it got graded again. The "crux hill" for us 2WD cars in much more mellow. Like Mark said above, short of it be very wet (also ice from melted snow), the road is very nice all the way back to the power line for 2WD cars. Nov 20, 2015
From comments above, some people may think that you need a 4 WD to climb at this location, which is not true. Except when the dirt Burroughs Mountain Road is very wet (you probably don't want to climb at Tollhouse Rock in these conditions), I am able to get my Prius to parking spots along the road below the buzzing power lines. From there it is only a 10 minute hike to the top where you start descending to the base of the rock. A 4WD is necessary to drive up the very steep and rutted road from Burroughs Mountain Road to the top. Also, if you find that you are hiking or trying to drive through a gate, then you are going the wrong way and are going onto private property. The road to the top does not have any gates on it.

I believe all of the old Spencer homemade-type angle iron hangers have been replaced in the Storm Warning Wall earlier this year. Give the Spencer routes some love! Mar 17, 2015
limpingcrab
Visalia, CA
limpingcrab   Visalia, CA
The only issue is that one of the gate above is occasionally closed, but either way it's better to access from above. May 11, 2014
is there still access land dispute in the area? Do I access it from the top or Bottom paved road? May 9, 2014
Chad N
Three Rivers, CA
Chad N   Three Rivers, CA
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. Apr 20, 2012
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
Dave Daly   Kernville, CA
@ 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....

Run along now. Mar 9, 2011
usetob
Visalia, Ca.
usetob   Visalia, Ca.
Dave you obviously have never been to Suicide or the Apron. May 28, 2010
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
Dave Daly   Kernville, CA
@ BoBBa -

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. May 17, 2010
usetob
Visalia, Ca.
usetob   Visalia, Ca.
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... Apr 10, 2009
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
44 bolts on many routes were replaced March 2000 by members of the Southern and Central Sierra Climbers Associations. More... May 9, 2006
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
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! Jan 31, 2006
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 Apr 19, 2004

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