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Routes in Potrero John

Beginnings T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Cleaning Lady S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Color Blind (aka Rubber Man) S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Menage a Trois S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b PG13
Miccis S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Migrating Coconuts (aka Zyzzxx) S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Potrero Traverse V2 5+
Should I Go (aka El Potrero) S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Should I Stay S 5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Unknown Route On The Right TR 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Wild Rose T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Elevation: 3,600 ft
GPS: 34.581, -119.261 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 9,739 total · 67/month
Shared By: M. Morley on Feb 13, 2006
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes


A quarter mile further up the road from Sespe Gorge (Black Wall) lies this 80' cliff sporting a handful of quality sport routes. Bring traditional gear if planning on climbing the solitary trad line, Beginnings (5.5). Also, some supplementary gear (nuts, TCUs) is recommended if leading Menage a Trois (5.10b). A single rope is sufficient to get off all routes.

Historical Background

Information care of the late Reese Martin: "In 1995 Potero John Wall was retro-bolted with fat 3/8" bolts and additional anchors were added. This turned what had been a collection of runout 1/4" spinner horror-shows, into a friendly and fun place for the moderate climber. All five bolted routes are worthwhile. When you climb the insecure, tricky seam in the middle of the face, Menage a Trois, 5.10b, remember the route was first climbed in EBs and protected only by wired stoppers in 1976 by "Hot" Henry Barber and Yvon Chouinard. The bolts appeared recently. After your day of climbing be sure to check out the numerous swimming holes nearby. There is a great barefoot boulder traverse over the big pool 200 yards upstream. Fall off and you're wet."

Getting There

1/4 mile up the road from Sespe's main "Black Wall". Park in a dirt turnout and walk down the hillside, across Sespe Creek. Approach time: 5 minutes.


From (c)Reese Martin 1997

11 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Potrero John

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Derek Field
Flagstaff, AZ
Derek Field   Flagstaff, AZ
Trad daddies rejoice! The "solitary trad line" has a companion. Wild Rose (5.8) climbs the big arcing flake on the far left side of the wall. Dec 14, 2016
You can't see it in any of the photos but there are 2 bolts about 20ft above the wall. It's fairly easy to climb around the back and set up a top rope either through the bolts (with rings) on the top, or use those to protect yourself as you navigate the fairly exposed 4th class rock above the wall. Mar 23, 2016
Michelle Lynn
Moab, UT
Michelle Lynn   Moab, UT
We had a little trouble finding this crag. The large pullout on the left (coming from Black Wall) is closest to the Fortress, not Potrero John. If you park here, walk on the road back toward Black Wall a few hundred yards until you're directly under Potrero John, then cross the river. The cliff is shady after 2 pm in the summer. Jul 22, 2012
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
This area would see a ton of traffic except that it's a bit too far from town and it's simply overshadowed by its big brother down stream.

Generally, these are very good routes in an idyllic setting. Potrero John is a perfect escape from the Black Wall on busy weekends. Mar 16, 2006

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