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Areas in The Grotto (a.k.a. The Notch)

Gilligan's Island (a.k.a. The Alcove) 1 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
Grotto Left (East Side) 4 / 26 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 30
Grotto Right (West Side) 5 / 20 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 24
Upper Tier of The Grotto 1 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Wall of Voodoo, The 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2

Description

The Grotto is the premium area to climb in Diablo Canyon. It is a slot canyon trimmed out of the upper portion of the south wall. It is filled with large boulders interlaced with fairly lush (for NM) vegetation. While it runs NE to SW the north facing wall is much higher, keeping The Grotto shady for most of the day. The sun peeks through both ends of the canyon during the early morning and late afternoon respectively. However, during January, February, and March an unseasonably warm day is necessary for comfortable climbing.

Climbs in The Grotto range from 5.8 to 5.14a. The rock ranges from good to great with everything from long and steep to short and slabby. Lots of flat boulders provide spots to lounge, lunch, or both while keeping an eye on fellow climbers.

(Text written by Rick Bradshaw)

Getting There

Follow the new trail (fall 2012) to Runway (Lower Tier). From Runway (Lower Tier), hike easy terrain west to the Grotto. The new trail starts in the arroyo straight across from the trail to the Winter Wall.

Alternatively, you can take the old, long-used but steeper, nastier, approach to the Grotto. For this, stay in the main arroyo past Winter Wall and past the Solar Cave and look for a decent trail in the dirt embankment on the left. Take this trail and wind your way up through talus and screen to the top.

65 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Grotto (a.k.a. The Notch)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Class Act
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Waiting to Procrastinate
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Good
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Sunday Bloody Sunday (aka Tight Littl…
Trad
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Evil Paradise
Sport
5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Guillotine Crack
Trad 2 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Evil
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
El Areto Bolto Del Diablo
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
Affirmative Action
Sport
5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Bedeviled
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Where the Wild Things Aren't
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
Woogie's Wild Ride
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Bush in a Blender
Sport
5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Crystal Clear ArĂȘte (a.k.a. UNA)
Sport
5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b
Lucifer's Hammer Drill
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Class Act Grotto Right (W Side) 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Waiting to Procrastinate Grotto Left (E Side) 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Good Grotto Left (E Side) 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Sunday Bloody Sunday (aka T… Grotto Left (E Side) 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad
Evil Paradise Grotto Left (E Side) 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Guillotine Crack Upper Tier of The Grotto 5.10c/d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 2 pitches
Evil Grotto Left (E Side) 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
El Areto Bolto Del Diablo Grotto Left (E Side) 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Affirmative Action Grotto Left (E Side) 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
Bedeviled Grotto Left (E Side) 5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Where the Wild Things Aren't Grotto Right (W Side) 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Woogie's Wild Ride Grotto Right (W Side) 5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Bush in a Blender Grotto Left (E Side) 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
Crystal Clear ArĂȘte (a.k.a.… Grotto Right (W Side) 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b Sport
Lucifer's Hammer Drill Grotto Left (E Side) 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in The Grotto (a.k.a. The Notch) »

Weather Averages

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J F M A M J J A S O N D
J F M A M J J A S O N D
Shirtless Mike
Denver, CO
Shirtless Mike   Denver, CO  
I re-organized this area a few weeks ago. Let me know if anyone sees any changes that need made. Jun 1, 2015
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
Thanks for the input fellas. A re-org of the area is on my list. Any others out there have an opinion on the re-org of The Grotto area? Oct 20, 2014
Shirtless Mike
Denver, CO
Shirtless Mike   Denver, CO  
I think as George mentions keeping the upper tier climbs separate is a good idea. Otherwise I don't like having too many sub areas as it leads to clicking back and forth a lot to see all the climbs. Oct 14, 2014
Jason Halladay
Los Alamos, NM
Jason Halladay   Los Alamos, NM  
I like the idea of a reorganization of the areas to make it more clear. The organization of the Grotto here has always confused me and even after many years of climbing there, I'm still confused by it. :-)
Grotto Left (East) and Grotto Right (West) would be clean. Any thoughts on sub-areas in within these two areas or is that too much and not really needed? Oct 13, 2014
Shirtless Mike
Denver, CO
Shirtless Mike   Denver, CO  
What do people think about simplifying this area and re-organizing it into only 2 sub areas, Grotto Left (East) Side and Grotto Right (West) Side? This would make finding individual climbs much easier and simplify things. Oct 13, 2014
Mannie Lopez
Santa fe, NM
Mannie Lopez   Santa fe, NM
found a small set of cams at the grotto left end! Right at the belay ledge, a few camalots, c3's, and an alien or two. Exciting to find but I know i'd be pissed if I forgot this stuff. Lemme know, mlopez364@gmail.com
good luck! Aug 21, 2012

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