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Gibraltar Area

California > Central Coast > Santa Barbara

Description

Gibraltar has a collection of ~5 sandstone crags that are generally south facing single pitch affairs. Popular with climbers and teenagers alike, the combined crags have some of the best climbing in SB. While the easier routes on the main Gibraltar rock may be gang toproped over the weekend, there just aren't that many climbers in SB to make any area crowded.

Getting There

Head up Gibraltar road ~15 minutes to the obvious collection of cliffs.

Gibraltar road may be reached by heading up Mission to the 192, E on the 192 to the sewage treatment plant, and then up the hillside from there.

Detailed Directions [from Matthew Fienup]:
From the Mission, drive 1/2 block north towards the mountains. Turn right onto Mountain Drive. After 100 yards, you will encounter a yield sign at an unusual serpentine intersection--continue straight-ish through the intersection on Mountain Drive and follow twists and turns for 1 mile. Turn left on Mountain Drive in front of the green municipal water building. After about 1/4 mile, where the road curves left, take a soft right onto Gibraltar Road (be careful not to take a hard right onto Mountain Avenue). After 1/3 mile you will reach a stop sign. Continue straight through the intersection and follow Gibraltar Road as it winds for 4.4 miles up the hill to the site.

Photos [Hide ALL Photos]

A Santa Barbara classic - T-Crack at Gibraltar
[Hide Photo] A Santa Barbara classic - T-Crack at Gibraltar
Some of the lesser (or better..?) crags around the main Gibraltar rock. The trail shown involves some scrambling at times and takes you to the top of the Upper Gibraltar anchors.
[Hide Photo] Some of the lesser (or better..?) crags around the main Gibraltar rock. The trail shown involves some scrambling at times and takes you to the top of the Upper Gibraltar anchors.
Dave Griffith on the F.A. of " Stormbringer " 5.11b/c
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Belayed by me, photo by Pat Briggs  1992
[Hide Photo] Dave Griffith on the F.A. of " Stormbringer " 5.11b/c Belayed by me, photo by Pat Briggs 1992
A free solo climber on Midface, at Gibraltar Rock in Santa Barbara.
[Hide Photo] A free solo climber on Midface, at Gibraltar Rock in Santa Barbara.
Detail of slickensides located at the base of Lower Gibraltar.
[Hide Photo] Detail of slickensides located at the base of Lower Gibraltar.
Geology buffs should not miss climbing at Lower Gibraltar. The ledge at the base of Lieback Annie and the Rapture is home to some of Santa Barbara's finest slickensides.
[Hide Photo] Geology buffs should not miss climbing at Lower Gibraltar. The ledge at the base of Lieback Annie and the Rapture is home to some of Santa Barbara's finest slickensides.
The Jesusita Fire brought destruction to Upper Rattlesnake Canyon and to the Gibraltar climbing area.  All of the individual crags were affected.  Lower Gibraltar, Toxic Waste Wall, and Upper Gibraltar seem to be the hardest hit.  To view more images, click [[here]]http://mountainproject.com/v/matthew_fienup/106443050
[Hide Photo] The Jesusita Fire brought destruction to Upper Rattlesnake Canyon and to the Gibraltar climbing area. All of the individual crags were affected. Lower Gibraltar, Toxic Waste Wall, and Upper Gibra…
Santa Barbara has a little something for everyone...here a climber performs a rare solo-aid ascent of the Nose at Gibraltar Rock.
[Hide Photo] Santa Barbara has a little something for everyone...here a climber performs a rare solo-aid ascent of the Nose at Gibraltar Rock.
A climber hangs off the top of T-Crack, at Gibraltar Rock, as he belays his second.
[Hide Photo] A climber hangs off the top of T-Crack, at Gibraltar Rock, as he belays his second.
Santa Barbara, the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands, from above Gibralter Area.
[Hide Photo] Santa Barbara, the Pacific Ocean and Channel Islands, from above Gibralter Area.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Isaac T.
Oceanside, CA
[Hide Comment] The Municipal Water building is no longer green, it is white... It looks like a castle kinda with no windows. As of 3-28-09 there is a road closed sign (probably due to the fire that recently swept through the area) on Gibraltar Rd, however the road is open all the way to the top. Mar 29, 2009
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
[Hide Comment] Gibraltar Road is now open, following the devastation of the Jesusita Fire. Every crag in the Gibraltar Area (including Cold Springs Dome) was seriously affected. For a gallery of images of the various crags and the effects of the fire, click here May 26, 2009
andy patterson
Carpinteria, CA
[Hide Comment] Mina, The Playground is located off of West Camino Cielo¬ónot Gibraltar Road.

Personally, I'd recommend dozens of places to climb instead of The Playground, but that's just me (especially if you want Gibraltar-esque climbing). If you still want to climb Gibraltar, try hiking up Rattlesnake Canyon trail, which brings you all the way up to Gibraltar road. It's between 1 and 1 1/2 hours of hiking. Not bad, actually. A lot of climbers I know (including myself) do the "long" approach for the training. We call it "Front-Country Alpine." Apr 18, 2015