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Routes in Owl Tor

Anchor Punch S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Auto Magic S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Better Than Life S 5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a
Burly Shuffle S 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- 27 E6 6b
Chips Ahoy S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Gala Gala Happy S 5.13d 8b 31 X 32 E8 7a
Hai Karate S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Happy to be Here S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Hell of Being Crushed Alive, The S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Hell of the Upside Down Sinners S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Natural, The S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
New Shatterhand S 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
Old Pro Skill, The S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Old Shatterhand S 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Power Of Eating (a.k.a. "Power"), The S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Rubble S 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Spearmint Rhino S 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Strictly Ballroom S 5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a
Super Crack S 5.13- 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c
Terrible Angel S 5.14+ 9a 35 XI 35 E10 7b
When The Sea Doesn't Want You S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
White Cougar S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b

Description

The sportsman's paradise of the central coast. Steep burly routes of a manufactured nature on a fairly blank but very overhanging wall. The most purely physical climbing on the West Coast, Owl Tor has about a dozen route from 5.12 to 5.15 (unconfirmed?). In recent years, the developers have bolted some "warmups" on the wall. They're probably still harder than your local crag's warmups. .

Weather? The area around Santa Maria is subject to some extremes—: from freezing to sweltering, the Tor has it all, but expect it to almost always be relatively climbable. In heavy rain years, however, seepage eventually makes its way down the face of the crag, sliming pockets and jugs and creating a generally swampy environment. Still, you can often climb in a full-on downpour and have the smug satisfaction that you are probably the only person on the Central Coast climbing outside on dry rock.

The Tor has some high-quality variations/linkups. Trust me, they're good. Here's a spreadsheet for clarity:

docs.google.com/spreadsheet…

Getting There

From Santa Barbara, take the 101 North to Santa Maria, then exit the 166 and drive East. After about thirty minutes or so, take a left off of hwy 166 at Rock Front Ranch. Drive through a gate (usually open, unless it has rained a bunch) and go for about a quarter of a mile till the road suddenly shoots steeply up a hill. Park on the left. A small trail on the left will deposit you at the base of the crag after about 3 minutes.

22 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Owl Tor

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
Spearmint Rhino
Sport
5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a
The Power Of Eating (a.k.a. "Power")
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Auto Magic
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
When The Sea Doesn't Want You
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Anchor Punch
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Hell of the Upside Down Sinners
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Chips Ahoy
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
The Old Pro Skill
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Old Shatterhand
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Hai Karate
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
The Hell of Being Crushed Alive
Sport
5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c
New Shatterhand
Sport
5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c
Rubble
Sport
5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a
Better Than Life
Sport
5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a
Strictly Ballroom
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Spearmint Rhino 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
The Power Of Eating (a.k.a.… 5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a Sport
Auto Magic 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
When The Sea Doesn't Want You 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Anchor Punch 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Hell of the Upside Down Sin… 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Chips Ahoy 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
The Old Pro Skill 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
Old Shatterhand 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
Hai Karate 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
The Hell of Being Crushed A… 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
New Shatterhand 5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c Sport
Rubble 5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c Sport
Better Than Life 5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a Sport
Strictly Ballroom 5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Owl Tor »

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
I left some Tenaya Ra climbing shoes under Pro Skill like a total gumby. If you find them shoot me a message and I'll reward you for your efforts. Mar 23, 2017
Brian S  
The roads have recently been regraded and are accessible by all vehicles except mopeds (but who wants Mods at the cliffs anyway). Oct 19, 2016
Serial Crusher
A house
Serial Crusher   A house
Hopefully the roads improve before the fest - currently not 2WD friendly. Any suggestions? Shovel? Sep 4, 2015
Here's a list of the variations at the Owl Tor: drive.google.com/open?id=1M… Aug 25, 2015
Brian S  
Owltoberfest 2015, October 17 & 18
The Revenge - This Time It's Personal

Details here Aug 11, 2015
steve edwards
SLC, UT
steve edwards   SLC, UT
I wish we'd taken photos prior to beginning work here. Poison oak running 40 feet up the wall that, when touched, rained sand like a Sirocco on the Sahara. I've never been as dirty in my life as after a work day at the Tor. It's the Taj Mahal of climbing, only we couldn't afford slaves to do the work. Jul 3, 2014
andy patterson
Carpinteria, CA
andy patterson   Carpinteria, CA  
It took a three-year off-and-on-again battle with Chips for me to appreciate the true nature of the Tor. And if you were lucky enough to watch Elijah wage war with Hardboiled (I was) then you really understand how long and protracted redpoint battles can be. The Tor is a brutal mistress, and will not be slandered. Jul 2, 2014
Serial Crusher
A house
Serial Crusher   A house
The guy that wrote the Article is from the Bay Area. I thought the article was completely lame - he basically just talks trash, and posts some photos of his friends hangdogging up some hard routes. Maybe it's the fact that he has an injury that doesn't let him climb anymore, that he goes around shooting photos and writing articles about areas he doesn't climb at, or research on mproject for that matter. The keyboard can be quite shouldery after watching other people send - ask anyone serious about climbing. Perhaps working a route at the Tor would be exactly what he needed to appreciate the amount of effort involved in a serious redpoint, not to mention creating a route, not to mention the entire Tor with all its effort and beauty. I don't mean this in his defense one bit, because, well, if someone misquoted me and it was something that mattered to me, I would tell them to either correct it, or to print nothing. Basically, he said that his article is at the whim of his editor. But, as with any good excuse...it's still on him. Jul 2, 2014
The article is very shitty, but the pictures aren't bad, the grades and names of climbs sited on the pictures are almost all wrong. I probably shouldn't have posted it here out of respect for the Tor, but the pictures speak for themselves. Jun 22, 2014
Yes, no doubt The Brickyard is actually 'less' fully realized than before the Gap Fire. It's so overgrown you can barely get to The Far Left Area or The HST problems, all good stuff that used to be on the circuit, now never gets climbed. Every time I walk down there I miss the old trail. C'est la vie. Jun 22, 2014
andy patterson
Carpinteria, CA
andy patterson   Carpinteria, CA  
Bob, don't turn the rant off.

By the way, Grover didn't write the article; some out-of-towner did. Don't know him.

Grover loves the Tor.

To add to your comments regarding the B-yard: after the Gap Fire, the old B-yard trail disappeared and the new path hightailed it to the Yeti area. Basically, traffic at the Yard' thenceforth consisted of Yeti, Charlotte's Web, Grotesque Old Woman, Watch The Dog, Smooth Criminal, and Dancing Outlaw. Other areas fell in to relative obscurity. After the fire, the focus of climbing seemed to favor select classics, not the greater area. Prior to the fire, we were much more apt to explore, and thought of the Brickyard as a "circuit" area, like Font.

But this is just the anecdote of one aging climber. Maybe other climbers had a different experience. Jun 22, 2014
Sorry if you wrote that article Grover, but that magazine (and the article) is wank. I hadn't seen a California Climber since the first crappy issue and had forgotten about it until now. Hasn't gotten any better. Had the author visited The Tor more than once? He couldn't pick up a guidebook, or use Google to find out how to spell Phil's name? "Anonymous locals?" (all of whom have names and are easily found in at least two guidebooks). Can be climbed in harsh winter conditions"? Ummm...huh? The place seeps like a sponge and can be totally shut down for 2-3 months after storms and if you try climbing in the rain you'll be in trouble at rain filled clipping jugs.

And The Brickyard article that follows it? Jesus, what a pile. The author spends 2 paragraphs waxing about how the devastating Jesusita fire burned down The Brickyard and unleashed it's "full potential". Except that The Brickyard actually burned over a year (and another fire) before that in The Gap Fire (which burned no structures and inflicted no injuries). I guess you can't build up the drama if you actually know what you're talking about. And saying it took a fire to realize The Yard's full potential might be the stupidest thing I've heard in years, evidenced by the fact that every photo and every problem recommendation are the same classics since the 90s. Anyways....rant off, the mag has nice photos, but that's about it. Jun 22, 2014
andy patterson
Carpinteria, CA
andy patterson   Carpinteria, CA  
"lack of natural beauty"...

Hmmm. Disagree. Perhaps someone should un-invite the author to Owltoberfest. Jun 18, 2014
California Climber NO. 07 Winter 2013, Owl Tor Feature: Quietly Local

californiaclimbermagazine.f… Jun 18, 2014
Vintage footage of The Owl Tor and The Castle on ESPN.

Featuring:
"Hollywood" Hans Florine (so cool he gets his nickname in FRONT of his real name) on The Natural and Chips Ahoy
Phil "Bambino" Requist on Strictly Ballroom

Unfortunately I can't be there for the first Owltoberfest, but this is my contribution.

Hans Florine at Owl Tor and The Castle - ESPN 1995 from Bob Banks on Vimeo. Oct 2, 2013
andy patterson
Carpinteria, CA
andy patterson   Carpinteria, CA  
Beware rattlers during the Spring months! Check carefully amongst the boulders before you settle in to a belay stance. This last week was kind of gnarly. May 12, 2013
Nukem
Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Nukem   Fort Lauderdale, Florida
I wasted my time bringing a set of quickdraws, everything is fixed? im a fan of fixed draws but this place is crazy hahaa Feb 11, 2013

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