Elevation: 7,446 ft
GPS: 34.29, -116.892 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 570,823 total · 3,331/month
Shared By: C Miller on Mar 12, 2006 with improvements by DeniseYavas Yavas and 2 others
Admins: C Miller, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

Description

The Holcomb Valley Pinnacles are located just north of Big Bear Lake in the eastern end of the scenic Holcomb Valley, an area rich in history and diversions for the outdoor enthusiast. Popular for it's numerous sport routes, this area is a moderate mecca with 75% of the 400+ routes being 5.10 and under in difficulty.

Although the elevation of the Holcomb Valley Pinnacles (HVP) ranges between 7400-7600 feet it's not just a summer climbing area, with good climbing available all year-round depending upon the severity of the winter. Summers can sometimes be hot, making those shady climbs all the more attractive, while early and late season climbing can be ideal with relatively few climbers and few distractions but the sound of the wind in the pines.

The rock at the Pinnacles is a heavily-featured granite that ranges in quality from excellent to fair with the majority of it being quite good. Routes that look difficult often go at a moderate grade because of the highly-featured rock - a good example of this is the popular Coyote Crag.

Here's a list of sport routes in the area from 5.3 to 5.12d (click to activate).

Getting There (Southern Parking Area)

These directions will get you to the southern parking area, which is recommended if you are driving a low-clearance vehicle, and/or planning on climbing at the southern/central Pinnacles.

  • Van Dusen Canyon Approach - This, the most popular approach, is up scenic Van Dusen Canyon (3N09) which is quite rocky and sees a fair amount of traffic on the weekends. Just past the pavement's end (about 0.5 miles up) is a gate that gets locked after the first snowfall and that re-opens in the Spring when the road is dry enough.

Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a left (heading west). Drive 0.6 miles, passing the Holcomb Valley Campground on the right, and make a right onto 3N07. Drive north along 3N07 passing
Wilbur's grave along 3N07, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles , a Boy Scout Camp on the left and several large dips in the road (often several feet deep with water in the early spring) until you can make a right which parallels a fence on the right. Follow this road (3N07) until it ends at a large parking area just below Parking Lot Rock.

  • Baldwin Lake Approach - Useful if coming from the desert via Highway 18 out of Lucerne Valley.

Highway 18 to Big Bear and then make a right (staying on Hwy 18) heading towards Baldwin Lake. Circle around Baldwin Lake (often dry in the summer) and then make a right onto Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09). Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a left (heading west). Drive 0.6 miles, passing the Holcomb Valley Campground on the right, and make a right onto 3N07. Drive north along 3N07 passing
Wilbur's grave along 3N07, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles , a Boy Scout Camp on the left and several large dips in the road (often several feet deep in the early spring) until you can make a right which parallels a fence on the right. Follow this road (3N07) until it ends at a large parking area just below Parking Lot Rock.

  • Polique Canyon Approach - A fairly direct, but bumpy approach that is open all year depending upon the road conditions. This way avoids the traffic of the more popular Van Dusen Canyon and is faster if coming from the west.

Take Polique Canyon Road (2N09) north as it climbs along it's scenic namesake canyon, crest a hill and then descend the backside to a long straightaway which passes a large Boy Scout Camp to the west. Make a right onto 3N16, go up a small rise and make an immediate left onto 3N07. Drive north along 3N07 passing
Wilbur's grave along 3N07, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles , a Boy Scout Camp on the left and several large dips in the road (often several feet deep with water in the early spring) until you can make a right which parallels a fence on the right. Follow this road (3N07) until it ends at a large parking area just below Parking Lot Rock.

Getting There (Northern Parking Area)

These directions will get you to the northern parking area, which is recommended if you are driving a higher-clearance vehicle, and/or planning on climbing at the central/northern Pinnacles

  • Van Dusen Canyon Approach - This, the most popular approach, is up scenic Van Dusen Canyon (3N09) which is quite rocky and sees a fair amount of traffic on the weekends. Just past the pavement's end (about 0.5 miles up) is a gate that gets locked after the first snowfall and that re-opens in the Spring when the road is dry enough.

Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a right (heading east). Drive 1.4 miles and make a left onto 3N32. Follow this as it winds it's way north and then eventually west until you come to a fork in the road with a cairn. Make a left here, right takes you onto the John Bull Trail, and continue as it heads west and then back south. The last bit of the road passes between some boulders which larger trucks/SUV's may not fit through, so drive at your own risk (parking is available along the road before the boulders if needed). Continue a short distance to a large parking area near Wilbur's Tombstone.

  • Baldwin Lake Approach - Useful if coming from the desert via Highway 18 out of Lucerne Valley.

Highway 18 to Big Bear and then make a right (staying on Hwy 18) heading towards Baldwin Lake. Circle around Baldwin Lake (often dry in the summer) and then make a right onto Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09). Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a right (heading east). Drive 1.4 miles and make a left onto 3N32. Follow this as it winds it's way north and then eventually west until you come to a fork in the road with a cairn. Make a left here, right takes you onto the John Bull Trail, and continue as it heads west and then back south. The last bit of the road passes between some boulders which larger trucks/SUV's may not fit through, so drive at your own risk (parking is available along the road before the boulders if needed). Continue a short distance to a large parking area near Wilbur's Tombstone.

  • Polique Canyon Approach - A fairly direct, but bumpy approach that is open all year depending upon the road conditions. This way avoids the traffic of the more popular Van Dusen Canyon and is faster if coming from the west.

Take Polique Canyon Road (2N09) north as it climbs along it's scenic namesake canyon, crest a hill and then descend the backside to a long straightaway which passes a large Boy Scout Camp to the west. Make a right onto 3N16, go up a small rise and continue east (passing the Holcomb Valley Campground on your left) for 1.8 miles until possible to make a left onto 3N32. Follow this as it winds it's way north and then eventually west until you come to a fork in the road with a cairn. Make a left here, right takes you onto the John Bull Trail, and continue as it heads west and then back south. The last bit of the road passes between some boulders which larger trucks/SUV's may not fit through, so drive at your own risk (parking is available along the road before the boulders if needed). Continue a short distance to a large parking area near Wilbur's Tombstone.

Camping

Camping is free and legal almost anywhere in the forest surrounding the Pinnacles, but there are a number of already established campsites near the northern and southern parking areas, as well as scattered sites to the west of Parking Lot Rocks.


As an alternative there are numerous pay campgrounds in the Big Bear area, with the Holcomb Valley Campground ($21 a night), being the closest to the climbing area.

Climbing Gear

If sport climbing nothing more than a dozen draws are needed and if climbing some of the traditional routes a standard rack to 3" should suffice for the majority of the routes.

Guidebooks

Hidden Treasures East is the only comprehensive guidebook for this area and includes the majority of new routes in the area.

The Southern California Sport Climbing Guide has a limited amount of information on the area making it more of a "select" guide, but be warned that it's full of errors (and not just the Holcomb Valley section).

California's Gold

California's Gold with Huell Howser explore Holcomb Valley.


431 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Holcomb Valley Pinnacles

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
 187
Gold Standard
Sport
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 306
Bye Crackie
Sport
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
 316
Coyotes at Sunset
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 116
Ricochet
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 193
One Armed Bandit
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 71
Vertical Epic
Sport
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
 212
Powder Keg
Sport
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 271
Pistol Pete
Sport
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
 78
Tombstone Shadow
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 142
Lost Orbit
Sport
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 90
Mighty Quinn
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 154
Doc's Holiday
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 201
Coyotes in the Henhouse
Sport
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c
 99
Long Arm of The Law
Sport
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
 85
The Incinerator
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Gold Standard Central Pinnacles > Gold Wall
 187
5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b Sport
Bye Crackie Central Pinnacles > Coyote Crag
 306
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Sport
Coyotes at Sunset Central Pinnacles > Coyote Crag
 316
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport
Ricochet Central Pinnacles > Pistol Whipped Wall
 116
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
One Armed Bandit Central Pinnacles > Claim Jumper Wall
 193
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Vertical Epic Pinnacles North > Stone Wall
 71
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Powder Keg Central Pinnacles > Motherlode Rock > Motherlode Rock - N Face
 212
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Pistol Pete Central Pinnacles > Doc Holliday Wall
 271
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Tombstone Shadow Central Pinnacles > Tombstone Pit
 78
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Lost Orbit Pinnacles South > … > Lost Orbit Rock… > Lost Orbit Rock - E F…
 142
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Mighty Quinn Central Pinnacles > Motherlode Rock > Motherlode Rock - W Face
 90
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Doc's Holiday Central Pinnacles > Doc Holliday Wall
 154
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Coyotes in the Henhouse Central Pinnacles > Claim Jumper Wall
 201
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Long Arm of The Law Central Pinnacles > Motherlode Rock > Motherlode Rock - W Face
 99
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c Sport
The Incinerator Central Pinnacles > Incinerator Wall
 85
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a Sport
More Classic Climbs in Holcomb Valley Pinnacles »

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