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Areas in Big Rock Area

Bernasconi Ridge 1 / 8 / 0 / 11 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 20
Boobs Boulder 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Helios Boulder 2 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Main Slab 28 / 6 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 35
Sundeck, The 4 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Access Issue: Rebolting project in progress Details

What's here? [Suggest Change]

Big Rock is located in southern part of Lake Perris State Recreation Area. While other small developed slabs surround Big Rock, most of the routes are found on the main wall, containing about thirty routes. Of these, less than 5 are cracks, with the balance being bolted face routes. The rock quality is very good, and with the routes facing northwest it gets lots of afternoon sun.

The routes are low-angled, with generally more than ample bolted protection. It is a great place for beginners and novices. Most all belays are three-bolt set-ups, many of which have been recently replaced. While most of the routes can be done in one pitch, some have bolted anchors midway, allowing one to practice belay switch-overs. There is some bouldering around the base of the rock, with more still on the surrounding hillsides.
A great historical link about Big Rock can be read here courtesy of Don Chambers,. Comments by some legends of the sport that many would not have guessed climbed at Big Rock.

Getting There [Suggest Change]

Access to Big Rock is via Hwy 215 exiting on the Ramona Expressway, heading east towards Lake Perris. About 7 miles down the road on the left is an unmarked park entrance road, called Bernasconi Rd. Left here leads to a self-pay station. Parking in the park is steep at $10.00 per vehicle, or one can park about 1/2 mile out of the park on Bernasconi and walk in for free. Once in the park, hike left through the picnic area on a paved service road for about 1/3 mile until Big Rock becomes apparent on the left hillside.

67 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Big Rock Area

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
 43
Africa Flake
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 9
Raging Slab
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 27
Left Flake
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 21
Right Flake
Trad
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 18
The Hard Trough
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 5
Praise the Rays
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 6
Kissed by the Sun
Sport
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R
 14
Northwest Passage
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 24
The Roof
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 3
Dark Angel (aka The Ghost)
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 20
Edger Sanction
Trad
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 13
Cheap Thrills
Trad
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 4
Giant Step
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 14
Let It Bleed
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 5
Raw Deal
Trad
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Africa Flake Main Slab
 43
5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a Trad
Raging Slab Main Slab
 9
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport
Left Flake Main Slab
 27
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Right Flake Main Slab
 21
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
The Hard Trough Main Slab
 18
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
Praise the Rays Helios Boulder
 5
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Kissed by the Sun Helios Boulder
 6
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Northwest Passage Main Slab
 14
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R Trad
The Roof Main Slab
 24
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Dark Angel (aka The Ghost) Main Slab
 3
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Edger Sanction Main Slab
 20
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Cheap Thrills Main Slab
 13
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad
Giant Step Main Slab
 4
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Let It Bleed Main Slab
 14
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Raw Deal Main Slab
 5
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Trad
More Classic Climbs in Big Rock Area »

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C Miller   CA  
Parking outside the gate avoids the fee and only adds 5-10 minutes to the approach with the benefit of being able to climb until dark as the rangers close the gate promptly at sunset. That said, be aware that cars have been vandalized while parked outside the gate. Feb 21, 2006
Josh Hibbard
Los Angeles Area, CA
Josh Hibbard   Los Angeles Area, CA
Plan for a 20-25 minute walk from the gate. Cut the time to 5 minutes if you bring a bike or skateboard. The gate never seems to be unlocked during the weekdays, so I have concluded that it is only unlocked on the weekends. However, I usually don't climb there in the summer (because of the heat), so it may just be a seasonal thing and unlocked in the summer. The rangers will give you a ticket if you don't pay the parking fee of $8... Mar 26, 2007
Bill Olszewski
Colorado Springs, CO
Bill Olszewski   Colorado Springs, CO
Great info guys, and right on the mark. I would just like to add, for anyone who has not been to Big Rock and may only be comfortable leading heavily bolted lines, that this is not a typical sport climbing wall. For anyone who didn't know, "sport climbing" generally refers to well-bolted half-pitch routes (i.e. they can be top-roped with a single rope). Although Big Rock has some sport routes (see Let it Bleed and Cheap Thrills) most are closer to traditional slab. As an example, Africa Flake, although adequately protected, takes the full 60m passing 6 bolts. A true sport climb generally has a bolt every 6 to 10 feet. Obviously there is some gray area here, but most of these lines on Big Rock are too sparsely bolted to qualify as sport. But not to worry, due to the low angle of the rock, most lead falls are really lead "slides." Apr 30, 2007
Allan Cheateaux
Fort Collins, CO
Allan Cheateaux   Fort Collins, CO
Climbed here yesterday. Planned on a nice long day of cragging, but got told our car was broken into (we parked inside, have a state parks pass). They broke our passenger front window and boosted a 1st gen ipod (worth about $30 now), charger, Jami's beef jerky and a trash can. Dealing with some real pros here... at least they ignored the 2 $400 phones on the dash...

Fun area with great slab climbing. Just drive a crappy car in and hide your stiff in the boot. Nov 25, 2007
I'd really like to be a smart ass, all things considered, but Allen, they lifted a "trash can" from your car? ? ? Nov 25, 2007
A few days ago my brother and I were approaching Big Rock from the parking lot around 10:30 AM. It was our first time there, so naturally my eyes focused on the climbers perched atop the second pitches instead of the hot concrete we were walking on. I didn't notice the very large rattlesnake that was sunbathing in the middle of the path until my foot was about two and a half feet from his head. Thankfully, they have these great ways of warning us before it's too late. I nearly jumped in the lake when I saw/heard him, but we're both OK. Moral of the story--be aware of snakes! I also heard that one was hanging out under the picnic tables a couple weeks ago. Jun 2, 2008
Jon Hanlon   SLO
HAHA....I had the EXACT same experience there a few years back! Must be his M.O... Jun 3, 2008
Nate "Mustang" Johnson
Lake Elsinore, CA
Nate "Mustang" Johnson   Lake Elsinore, CA
I have been climbing out here a few times over the last few weeks and it is great. I was just wondering about the quality of the bolts though. Most of them are rusted, spinning hangers, button heads, etc. I am no expert but to me some of the bolts out there looked kinda shady, especially given the longer distance between bolts. Any input would be greatly appreciated

-Nate Jun 4, 2008
C Miller   CA  
Nate - The majority of the old bolts at Big Rock were replaced with 3/8" bolts in the late 80's, with even more bolts replaced in the late 90's. There are however still some original 1/4" bolts out there as well as some high traffic bolts which might stand being upgraded to 1/2".

If there's any routes needing a look and/or upgrade post them here, thanks. Jun 4, 2008
Big Rock is still open. I had a great day of climbing there two weeks ago. Unfortunately, I parked outside the gate and had my car damaged and broken into despite the fact that I left the car unlocked in case anyone wanted to steal my valueless possessions. Police said it was the first time this year, but if you plan to come a few times it would be easier to buy a pass and park within the gates in order to save yourself a possible broken window. May 18, 2012
Greetings. Does anyone know if the main wall gets any sun in the winter, and if so, what time of day? It's north-facing, so I wasn't sure. It's a bit cold out there in the shade when taking slower climbers.
thanks Jan 9, 2013
C Miller   CA  
Paul - The main slab of Big Rock faces mostly west and receives sun from late morning until late afternoon/early evening when the hillide in front of it blocks the sun. Jan 9, 2013
Hey y'all,
Big Rock is now open. The rock is just the same. Bolt quality is good, except for some goons adding some overly complicated chain system on Crater Maker's anchor and some ugly spray painted bolts (its really ugly).

They have changed the rules, parking closes at 7 now ($96 infraction). I am not sure if night climbing is allowed as they have added a ton of "No stopping at any time" signs all along Bernasconi road. So I think parking on the outside of the gate is a no go.

Good luck! May 7, 2018
Jeff K  
Could anyone please provide an update on which routes are in the process of being rebolted and/or which are in need of it? Thanks. May 15, 2018
Anyone climb here with the recent opening? A friend heard that some of the sports routes are very run-out and there are some bolting issues. Thoughts? May 24, 2018
Bill Odenthal
Whittier, CA
Bill Odenthal   Whittier, CA
Was there Sunday 11/27. Bolts are being updated as needed starting with the anchors with 1/2 inch stainless steel with rings. Sounds like chains will eventually be gone. This area is not really a sport climbing spot. With the exception of a few of the newer routes the climbs are the same as they’ve been for the 40 or so years I’ve climbed here. The bolts may be run out but the climbing between them is all there and is really more of a head game. Be prepared to climb 15 to 20 feet just to get to most of the first bolts. Come and enjoy some trad bolted climbing. May 28, 2018
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
Benjamin Chapman   Small Town, USA
Travis...you don't know of what you speak. While there are many No Stopping at Anytime signs near the gate, it is permissible to park down the hill along Bernasconi Road, beyond the No Stopping signs, toward Ramona Expressway per Ranger CL Lester. We've parked here many times without issue. Cars are broken into inside and outside the gate.

Jeff K...rebolting is in the process. Replacing 53 anchors and 163 bolts takes time. Anchors first, then the lead bolts. According to the folks that upgraded Big Rock's 1/4" bolts in late 1987 (to 3/8") most of the existing bolts are 30+ years old and need upgrading to 1/2." Until then, climb at your own risk.

Chastity... Our thoughts are that Big Rock is NOT a sport climbing venue. Sport routes by definition are NOT very run out. While the routes are slabby, the bolt spacing requires a cool head. Don't expect bolts every 6-10 feet ( eg. "Crater Maker"). Jun 13, 2018

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