Elevation: 1,306 ft
GPS: 35.314, -120.727 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Kristin McNamara on Jan 11, 2004
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Access Issue: Closed. Details


  • * News as of Jan 2006 - This area is now CLOSED to climbing! **
  • *This area is very sensitive! Please climb carefully - the lichens on the rock are hundreds of years old and are being studied by biologists at CampSLO. We are treading dangerous relations with this area because of the destruction on the part of the climbers. **

This is the chunk of rock that presides of Camp San Luis Obispo as you head north on Highway 1 between SLO and Morro Bay. Many people might think that since the military has it, it's off limits. Not so!! Just call ahead [(805) 594-6510] to make sure they won't be target practicing and drive on in . . . the military folk are a bit confused by we climbers arriving, so don't be surprised if they act a bit confused about what to do with you.

But the rock! It's spectacular! Same kind of thing as Bishop Peak, but you're probably the only one out there, the approach is a bit longer and intuitive and what awaits you is the awesome wave rock formation. If you can climb hard, you are in paradise.

Be exceedingly nice to the folk you find on the base. They are keeping the access open as a service. No one says they have to make the rock available to the public.

Cerro Romauldo, 1306', is one of the Nine Sisters or the Morros (which include Morro Rock, Cabrillo Peak, Black Hill, Hollister Peak, Cerro Romauldo, Chumash Peak, Bishop Peak - 1559', San Luis Peak, and Ishlay Hill) that are a chain of volcanic mountains of San Luis Obispo County of Central California. The rock type is primarily dactite.

Getting There

Drive north from Highway 101 on Highway 1 (the road from 101 is Santa Rosa, becomes Highway 1 as you drive out of town). As you come down the hill and around the bend, the large "Camp San Luis Obispo" signs are your clue to turn left onto the base. Tell the friendly men in uniform your intent and receive their directions. Don't mess around while you're there: it may be a reserve base, but those guys carry guns, doncha know.

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Jon Hanlon   SLO
Here are my thought about lichens, etc.

-It "only" took 20 years for it to grow back on Inner Sanctum (seems like a long time to me). -Just because something is not endangered does not make it ok to destroy it. -Just because you have seen it, does not mean it is not endangered (I saw some Vernal Pool Fairy Shrimp in Paso Robles the other day). -Land managers care about destruction of resources, even if it isn't endangered.

Seems to me the best approach is just to tread lightly and it won't become an issue...It is so easy to let stuff be, and you never have to worry about jeopardizing access or wonder if you are doing the right thing.

I'm not a biologist but I did find that there are several species of lichens in our area, quite a few actually in the Los Osos / Morro Bay area. And everything is connected...lichens create habitat for other plants and animals. Do a search on "Tardigrades."

And you know those bitchen succulents we all have seen growing? Those are Dudleyas...one of them could be the endangered San Luis Dudleya. Mar 23, 2005
Jon is right about the dudleyas. My review reveals that there are actually three separate species of endagered dudleyas:

San Luis Obispo Dudleya (Dudleya abramsii ssp. murina)

San Luis Obispo Serpentine Dudleya (Dudleya abramsii ssp. bettinae)

Blochman's Dudleya (Dudleya blochmaniae ssp. blochmaniae)

Yes, all of these species are found commonly on the cliffs, although I am not sure that the serpentine dudleya would be found in the climbing areas since it is not serpentine rock.

There are many other rare plants and animals at Camp SLO and other areas that climbers frequent around here. But whether or not they are rare has nothing to do with whether treading lightly is the way to go - it is simply a good land ethic to live by...

Mar 23, 2005
Kristin McNamara   SLO, CA
The origins come from a guy named Kevin Knight emailing me about my comments on this site that said something along the lines of the route being mungy and needing more climbers to clean the lichen off. I was chastised for this and told they were dangerous. There ARE folks that survey and watch the growth of plants - just because you're not interested, don't think for a moment that these other people are not. Good stewardship says "tread lightly and carry a stick clip." Sorry, I couldn't resist. Mar 29, 2005
Oh, for what it's worth, John's running the site now so I don't look too often (and when you asked me about it, I was off in Indian Creek - neener neener) - it got done what needed being done - bringing people together for stewardship and route beta updating. Heck, it got people motivated to write a new guide. Mar 29, 2005
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
A confirmation of John Knight's comment 9.7.2004: we too had our vehicle thoroughly searched the other afternoon on one of the 'random' inspections. It took about 10 minutes and was no big deal. Just make sure to have all your paperwork (everyone's driver's licenses, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance) in order and be cooperative and compliant with the officers on duty and you should be okay. Jul 16, 2005
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
More at en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerro… Jan 24, 2009
Sort of a follow on to the status of this area:

The area is completely closed to climbing. A friend (miss you, Kennedy) and I could not even get on the base to hike around and check it out, but damn do those walls look sweet. Also, the bike ride out to the gate is hilly and windy and not at all worth it just to be turned away.

However, all hope is not lost, and the person (now a General) who originally made the decision to close this to climbing is still in the military, still lives in the area, and is still in a position to open it back up. It was actually a surprise to me, sitting at dinner one night, to hear this come up after knowing the person for almost 2 years. Even more bizzare, the daughter of this General is a SLO climber herself, and the two of us had often speculated about climbing on Romauldo. She had not known at all. I do not believe this General would lie to their daughter, so here is the story as close to the truth as we can perhaps get it after all these years:

According to the General, a study was done that found out the lichen on the climbing areas was unique and endangered. There was also something about some insects, but I can't remember exactly what it was. They made the decision to close it based on the opinion of a few experts. However, the climbing community at the time didn't exactly react well. There is a member of the SLO climbing community who was heavily involved at the time, and instead of some civil discourse and maybe a compromise (not ALL the rocks are covered in this lichen), they decided to resort to insults and demanded that the climbing be kept open with no conditions. Obviously this didn't go over well and the closure was finalized. Fast forward a few years and the same SLO climber went back, level headed, and offered to crowdfund a survey of the lichen. The General agreed to this, and a compromise was in the works, but then they never heard back from the climber. Bizarre, because I've met this climber and they are usually quite pleasant.

This offer was still on the table as of January 2018, when i heard this story. I no longer live in the area and learned all of this after I left, but with maybe the help of the Access Fund or the ASCA or maybe even some area locals like SLO-OP, the money could be raised, the science could be done, and this area could at least partially open to climbing again. The general has expressed interest in seeing it opened again, but the military doesn't usually do scientific surveys out of the kindness of its own heart (and budget) just to open a few sweet sport climbs for some college kids.

I would be happy to put someone in contact with this general, if they were generally interested in setting something up. You can get a hold of me at (eight o five) 602 8948 Nov 9, 2018
Kristin McNamara   SLO, CA
Since someone just updated again: we (The Pad Climbing) were told recently that if we put on a special day of climbing like an event they would allow it so we actually got to go up there and check it out, but when we set a date and were ready to promote it, the base decided the liability exposure was too much and shut it down again.

I do not believe that there's an inroad at all at this point. We also put on high risk adventure races and we usually are able to convince people we're able to mitigate exposure. The land managers here like us. This is higher up than the base. Nov 9, 2018