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Areas in Benton Crags

Corral (and Double Dome) 1 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 8
Crocodile Rock 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Junk Food Rock 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Locals Only Rock 8 / 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 10
Lost Piton Rock 2 / 3 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Psycho Killer Rock 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Wave Rock 3 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5

Description

Trad and Sport climbing on grainy granitic rock somewhat reminiscent of Joshua Tree. Mostly west- and south-facing easy and moderate routes. Remote with beautiful views of the high Sierra. Primitive camping with no water.

Getting There

Five and a half miles south of the Mammoth Lakes turnoff on Route 395, turn east on the Benton Crossing Road. Drive about 20 miles, then turn sharply right onto Road 3S50. Watch for a fainter road on the left, turn on this and follow it up to near the base of the crags which are clearly visible.

45 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Benton Crags

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a
 5
North Ridge
Trad
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c
 8
Hillside Strangler
Trad
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 37
Locals Only
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 30
Get Lost
Trad, TR
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 7
Post Toasties
Trad
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 6
No Trespassing
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 14
Surfin' Safari
Trad
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 4
Sweet Tits
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 10
Eastside Fitness Center
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 14
Westside Fitness Center
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 6
Stardust
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
North Ridge Locals Only Rock
 5
5.3 3+ 10 III 9 VD 3a Trad
Hillside Strangler Psycho Killer Rock
 8
5.4 4a 12 IV 10 VD 3c Trad
Locals Only Locals Only Rock
 37
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Trad, TR
Get Lost Locals Only Rock
 30
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad, TR
Post Toasties Junk Food Rock > Left-Side
 7
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad
No Trespassing Locals Only Rock
 6
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad
Surfin' Safari Locals Only Rock
 14
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
Sweet Tits Wave Rock
 4
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Eastside Fitness Center Crocodile Rock
 10
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Westside Fitness Center Crocodile Rock
 14
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Stardust Wave Rock
 6
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Benton Crags »

Weather Averages

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Aerili
Los Alamos, NM
Aerili   Los Alamos, NM
Although the "look" of these crags is reminiscient of J Tree, I found the style of climbing and rock quality reminded me far more of Mount Lemmon crags.

I climbed on Locals Only Rock and thought a lot of the ratings were quite soft; I would downgrade almost all of the routes by a number. However, I then lead one of the 5.9s and felt it was actually fairly solid for the grade, but the crux for me was a small roof--and roofs are not my thing--so maybe it all just depends.

Wonderful and solitary primitive camping here right by the crag. Jul 13, 2009
Kevin Heckeler
Las Vegas, NV
Kevin Heckeler   Las Vegas, NV
Did a good 5.4 at the right end of Psycho. The rappel station was, um.... interesting. Rock on the back side of the cliff was crumbling apart too.

The climbing guide was less than stellar at route placement and descriptions. The more popular routes were easy to find, but wanting to ease up the grades here we had a hard time finding the shorter 5.5 and 5.6 routes. Ended up going to Iris Slabs in Rock Creek and had a great time for hours doing some quality routes on quality granite. This crag, fwiw, is probably frequented by locals and isn't what I was think of as a destination for visiting climbers (we're from upstate New York).

Did happen to meet a couple locals while there and they were friendly, helpful even.

It would be useful if a local climber would spend a couple hours filling things in here. I know there's 5 times as many routes in the guide as are listed. Oct 10, 2011
tom donnelly
san diego
tom donnelly   san diego
Some beta and history here:
supertopo.com/climbing/thre… Oct 8, 2013
Kurtz  
B.C. is a great place to climb! Lots of moderate trad routes, gorgeous scenery, and a couple of hot springs on the way back to 395. Oct 21, 2013
Maidy  
Super fun climbing on good quality rock in a really beautiful setting. The monzonite was more similar to Holcomb Pinnacles, but way more cracks and the walls are much taller. 70 meter rope needed to do a rap to the ground from the main anchor on Locals Only. Sep 19, 2014
climbing coastie
Wasilla, AK
climbing coastie   Wasilla, AK
The turn off Benton Springs road is just over 24 miles from 395.

Awesome climbing at moderate grades!!!! Nov 11, 2016
kenr  
There is now some good sport-climbing in the Benton Crags, notably one of the S-facing sectors.

GPS ...
Climbing: the rough center of the actual crags is around latitude longitude (N37.7301 W118.5666).
Parking NW corner (N37.7325 W118.5702)
Parking SW corner (N37.7271 W118.5681)

The driving directions above are for the NW corner parking.
To reach the SW corner parking, follow those instructions, but when reach (N37.7290 W118.5752), turn Right and go about 0.5 mile SE then NE. Road gets rougher and curvier toward the end, so note that if planning to climb the West-facing sectors of Crocodile and Caiman, there is little advantage in driving all the way to the highest parking spot. Jul 25, 2017

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