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Elevation: 166 ft 51 m
GPS: 35.27249, -120.66759
Google Map · Climbing Area Map
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Shared By: Mike Morley on Feb 13, 2006 · Updates
Admins: andy patterson, Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

Description Suggest change

Located between major urban centers Los Angeles to the south and the San Francisco Bay to the north, the quaint Central Coast of California spans a 300-mile stretch from the southern Santa Monica Mountains to the northern Monterey Peninsula. While known primarily for surfing, celebrities, exorbitant real estate prices, and wine-tasting (the movie "Sideways" was filmed locally), there is actually surprisingly good climbing to be found. The majority of rock around Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Ojai is medium-grade sandstone (i.e., a little friable), but there's also blue schist (Green Dome), andesite (SLO), and conglomerate (Silly Rock, Wheeler Gorge) out there. The climbing is by no means world class, but what it lacks in quality it makes up for in aesthetics. As a friend of mine would say, "maybe not 4-star climbing, but makes for a 4-star day!"

Areas like the Sespe Gorge (Black Wall) had established routes as early as the late 50s and 60s. Over the years, many well-known climbers have graced these small cliffsides, including the likes of Yvon Chouinard (Yosemite legend and founder/owner of Patagonia), Jonny Woodward (Black Diamond), Jim Donini and even Henry Barber!

Around Santa Barbara and Ventura, pioneers of the '80s and '90s included Kevin Brown, Kevin Steele, Steve Tucker, Menzo Baird, Bob Banks (author of "Ocean's Eleven") and Steve Edwards (guidebook author of "Rock Climbing Santa Barbara & Ventura"), who established many of the newer sport routes around Santa Barbara and Hwy 166/Silly Rock.

In San Luis Obispo county, pioneers include Rusty Garing, Dwight Kroll, Pete Gulyash, brothers Tim and Tobin Sorenson, Ed Sampson, Ken Klis, Tom Slater (guidebook author of "California Central Coast Climbs"), and Brandon Thau. Slater, Thau, and Klis are responsible for developing such crags as Cerro Romauldo, Cabrillo Peak and Big Rocks.

Former Access Fund director Reese Martin lived in the area for a time. Sadly, he was killed in a paragliding accident in July 2004 at the age of 49 (More...).

Guidebooks Suggest change


Getting There

Suggest change
Hwy 101 is the major artery between Ventura and San Luis Obispo (and beyond). 99% of the routes described here lie either off the 101, 154 (San Marcos Pass), 33 (Ojai), or 166 (east of Santa Maria). Refer to specific area for details and directions.

This map will help get you oriented.

2,330 Total Climbs

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Location: Central Coast Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Central Coast

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V0+ 4+
 123
Lizards' Mouth Traverse
Boulder
V1 5
 74
The Extremist
Boulder
V3 6A
 79
Mushy
Boulder
V3 6A
 81
Shaken, Not Stirred
Boulder
V3 6A
 61
Happy Hunting Grounds (a.k.a. He…
Boulder
V4 6B
 113
Yeti
Boulder
V5 6C
 69
Mutants Amok
Boulder
V6 7A
 74
Smooth Criminal
Boulder
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13
 146
Ending Crack
Trad 2 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 86
Permanent Income Hypothesis
Sport
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 141
Camel
Sport, TR
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 70
T-Crack
Trad, TR
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 165
Post Orgasmic Depression(AKA P.O…
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 75
Foreplay
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 108
The Verdict (direct)
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Lizards' Mouth Traverse Santa Barbara > … > Lizard's Mouth > Mouth
 123
V0+ 4+ Boulder
The Extremist Santa Barbara > … > Brickyard > Extremist Boulder
 74
V1 5 Boulder
Mushy San Luis Obispo > … > Bishop Peak Bo… > Chlorissa
 79
V3 6A Boulder
Shaken, Not Stirred Santa Barbara > … > Lizard's Mouth > Femme Fatale Area
 81
V3 6A Boulder
Happy Hunting Grounds (a.k.… Hwy 33/Ojai > … > Pine Mountain > Happy Hunting Grounds
 61
V3 6A Boulder
Yeti Santa Barbara > … > Brickyard > Yeti Boulder
 113
V4 6B Boulder
Mutants Amok Santa Barbara > … > Skofield Park > Cracked Boulder
 69
V5 6C Boulder
Smooth Criminal Santa Barbara > … > Brickyard > Dancing Outlaw Boulder
 74
V6 7A Boulder
Ending Crack Hwy 33/Ojai > Sespe Gorge (Black Wall)
 146
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13 Trad 2 pitches
Permanent Income Hypothesis Hwy 33/Ojai > Fortress > Right Side Gully
 86
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Sport
Camel San Luis Obispo > Bishop Peak > Cracked Wall
 141
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport, TR
T-Crack Santa Barbara > Gibraltar Area > Gibraltar Rock
 70
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, TR
Post Orgasmic Depression(AK… Pinnacles NP > … > Monolith > E Face
 165
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Foreplay Pinnacles NP > … > Monolith > E Face
 75
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
The Verdict (direct) Pinnacles NP > E Side > Discovery Wall
 108
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
More Classic Climbs in Central Coast »

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