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Routes in Wheeler Gorge

Aha! S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Aquaphobia S 5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
Bean S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Bitch Free Zone S 5.11a/b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Blush S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Boom Boy S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Cobble Climb S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Cruiser S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Crystal Pools S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Danger Boy S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Economique S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Exodus S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Ezra S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Goulara S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Gridlock S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Irie Girl S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
It Is It S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Little Buckaroo S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Lost Trout S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Low Grade Beaver Tranquilizer S 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b V1-2 5
Ojai Urinal S 5.11+ 7a 24 VIII 24 E4 6a V3 6A
Riparian Daydream S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Ripple Rider S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Roadside Distraction S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Saddle-Up Cupcake S 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c
Sick Boy S 5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b
Silent Mind S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
South of the Trout Farm S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Stolen From Mike S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Stuart's Rig (aka Stu Boy) S 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Sunshine Dust Bunnies S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Velocity Boy S 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Water Boy S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Wheel, The T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c

Description

Wheeler Gorge boasts three totally different surfaces: typical central coast sandstone (Exodus & Blush), a metamorphic green schist (Danger Boy & Stu-Boy), and a conglomerate that consists of mostly fist-sized stones and deep pockets (Cobble Climb, Ezra, Goulara, etc.). The three could hardly be more different when it comes to actual climbing. Together they make for a day of incredible diversity.

With a few exceptions, the grades at Wheeler are soft. The site also exhibits quite a few one-move-wonders. Routes are generally VERY well protected. All of this makes Wheeler an excellent place for aspiring leaders to break into the upper grades (10s & 11s).

A. Monstrosity, 5.11+. Eleven bolts, three bolt anchor, 110 feet. Bolted & toproped by Reese Martin, 1995. Additional bolts & RPÕ by Steve Edwards & Arvin Gunta, 1996. The first 30 feet of this route collapsed in January of 1997.
B. Project, 5.11+/12b. Three bolt anchor, 110 feet. Right of Monstrosity. FTR: Reese Martin, 1995.
C. Economique, 5.10a - arête left of Goulara.
D. Goulara, 5.10c - identified by wooden platform at base.
Aquaphobia--Boulder problems: Traverse above pools: L to R, 5.12; R to L, 5.10a. FA: Edwards, Gould, 1996.
E. It Is It, 5.12a/b
F. Arvin's Rig, 5.10a Four bolts, one cold shut anchor, no hangers. FA: Edwards & Gunta, 1996.
G. Ezra, 5.9+**
Boulder Problems Under Bridge. Pockets, 5.10/11+.

The following routes are located immediately left of the lower tunnel on the soft sandstone:

  • A-Frame Roof, 5.9. Gould TR. Slab above, 5.10. Project (not pictured).
H. Exodus, 5.11a ***
I. Blush, 5.11a***
J. Slab to single leeper bolt. 5.9 R? FA: Unknown, 1980s?
K. Roadside Distraction, 5.11c

The following routes are clustered together on the conglomerate rock near the lower tunnel above the creekbed:

L. Slacker Dihedral, 5.8. Solo. FA: Gould, 1995.
M. Silent Mind, 5.11b *
N. Aha!, 5.11a *
O. Cruiser, 5.9
P. Cobble Climb, 5.8

Q. South of the Trout Farm, 5.9
R. Trout Farm, 5.12+. Toprope, 45 feet. Right of South of the Trout Farm. FA: Gould & Agulara, 1996.
Trout Farm boulder traverse, 5.11c. Stay low. High variation: 5.10.

The following routes are located left of the upper tunnel on the black conglomerate:
S. Scorpion Surprise, 5.9. Vertical pod. Single bolt anchor. Project. Gould & Agulara, 1996. Scorpions!!
T. Fearless Hyena, 5.10a. Five bolts. Project. Gould & Agulara, 1996.
U. Stuart's Rig (aka Stu Boy), 5.11a/b
V. Danger Boy, 5.11a **
W. Velocity Boy, 5.11b **
X. The Chimney, 5.2. Unknown. Variation: 5.10 finish on last three bolts of Velocity Boy.

Weather/Climbing Season

Wheeler is the closest thing to a year-round crag near Ojai. Spring and Fall are best. Deep shade and cool breezes make even the hottest summer days tolerable--I've even climbed when the temperature in town was 107 degrees. Winter days require warm clothes as the gorge gets very little sun. Rising water-levels will restrict access to some routes.

Getting There

From the intersection of Hwy 33 & Hwy 150, in the town of Ojai, drive North on Hwy 33 for 7 miles. 150 yards after passing through the third tunnel (the second of two in quick succession), look for the pull-out on the left. Park and walk back through the first tunnel to access most routes. A climbers trail drops down on the right between the two tunnels.

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Classic Climbing Routes at Wheeler Gorge

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Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
TradGirl.com was a reputable site created and administered by a local climber. It was home to excellent local content, including original content from the late Reese Martin. I understand that the original site went inactive at some point. I had not realized that it had been co-opted by less reputable folks. Apr 12, 2017
Sean Milburn
Los Angeles, CA
Sean Milburn   Los Angeles, CA
Good climbs but I will agree the grades are quite soft. Defiantly not a bad place to bring some one new to leading sport. Feb 6, 2017
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
I am stoked that you are undertaking this! (I already can't wait to climb the recently finished "IED").

If you haven't already, please get to know the existing pattern of fixed gear at Wheeler (3/8 Rawls on lead, 1/2" anchor bolts). Also, check out the existing 3/8" bolts on the sandstone routes (like Blush & Exodus)--many of them wiggle in their holes indicating that 1/2" diameter Rawls might be better for this surface. And please place quality hardware on rappel anchors (Fixe rappel hangers, Supershuts, Mussy Hooks, etc.). On one recent addition to Wheeler, the top anchor consists of a single Supershut on one bolt and a bolt hanger with a rapid link on the other (not only does this look amateur-ish, I've seen single rapid links cam down on the rope making it irretrievable).

Thanks for your investment of time and energy (and money)! Jul 2, 2008
Brian S  
I am thinking about bolting new lines at Wheeler Gorge.

Any feedback? May 28, 2008
M. Morley
Sacramento, CA
M. Morley   Sacramento, CA  
While not a destination area in and of itself, Wheeler Gorge is a pretty fun crag to spend a half-day if you happen to be in the greater Ventura area. Bring a dozen draws and watch out for poison oak. May 25, 2008
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
Erik,
Thanks for the hard work (AND the rant). If I can ever get a day free, I hope to swap-out the other older-shuts with new super-shuts.

Thanks again. May 4, 2007
Erik Anderson
Ventura, CA
Erik Anderson   Ventura, CA
About a month or two ago, as Matthew noted previously, there was only one shut left at the top of South of Trout Farm. Yesterday, when a friend and I stopped off there for a warm-up, we noted that someone had pounded the remaining shut closed and that bolt was very loose in the hole. I headed back up there early this morning hoping to over drill the existing holes and use the original anchor placements. This turned out not to be possible, as who ever had gone up and pounded the shut closed, had also snapped the bolt off in the hole (that's why it was so loose), making it impossible to cleanly remove the old bolt.

What is wrong with people...In the past, I didn't think climbers were so F'N stupid...don't pound on fixed pro with a hammer or anything else!!! In fact one should not mess with fixed pro at all unless one knows what they're doing!!!!

Anyway, moving on from my short rant, I re-equipped South of Trout Farm with 1/2 x 3-1/2 Rawls and Wire Gate Supershuts. It would still be nice to back fill the old holes with some epoxy, if anyone has the motivation. If not I’ll try and remember to stop and take care of it next time I’m out that way.

Back to my rant...a note to anyone out there who this may pertain to...please do not pound these new Supershuts closed (or any other shuts for that matter), they are perfectly safe as they are! Also, do not steal these Supershuts because you think you may want them for your shit project somewhere else.
Get a job and buy your own.

Thanks,

Erik Anderson Apr 29, 2007

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