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Areas in Pine Creek Canyon

Avalanche Wall 4 / 4 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Bad Daddy Canyon 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Barbershop Buttress 3 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 9
Cliff Notes Cliff 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Cosmosis 0 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Crack of Noon Buttress 7 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
Cyanide Cliff 6 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Cyanide Gully 10 / 7 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Fashion Slab 6 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 12
G.o.T Crag 8 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 16
La Escuela 1 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 7
Lamb Canyon Wall 2 / 6 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 6
OJ Buttress 5 / 8 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 13
Outpost, The 1 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Rattler Crags 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Scheelite Canyon / Pratt's Crack Gully 38 / 94 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 129
Scheelite Crags / PSOM Slab 33 / 21 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 52
Sheep Tower 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 1
Three Hour Buttress 3 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Uptown Rock 6 / 9 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15

Description

A beautiful granite canyon nestled between Mount Tom & the Wheeler Crest. Most of the routes are concentrated in Sheelite Canyon, a side canyon that feeds into Pine Creek, but routes are also cropping up elsewhere, especially up canyon. The best season is late spring until the weather craps out in the late fall. Summer conditions are especially pleasant, as most routes are in the shade and a cool breeze often fans the canyon.

The canyon has a long history, with classics such as Pratt’s Crack and Sheila dating back to the 1970's. In the early 1990's, with the boom of sport climbing in the area, Tommy Herbert added what is arguably one of the proudest 5.13a's in the country with his seldom repeated masterpiece, Ecstasy, a 100 foot laser-cut arête.

The prolific and industrious Louie Anderson almost single-handedly turned Pine Creek Canyon into a sport crag with his development of the Ministry Wall (a dense concentration of quality 5.11’s) and the Planetarium Wall, with his ultra-classic, Atomic Gecko (5.12b) getting the most traffic of any hard route in the area. It stands as a must do for the 5.12 climber. Another standout test piece is 'Wind in the Willows Extension' (5.12d) which sports 110 feet of intense granite climbing.

Recently, there has been a resurgence of development, especially at the hands of the dynamic duo of Marty Lewis and Kevin Calder, who have almost doubled the number of sport climbs in just a couple of seasons, adding numerous new 5.11 classics to the area, including a three pitch affair.

The best source of information for the canyon can be found in Peter Croft's and Marty Lewis’ excellent guide, "Bishop Area Rock Climbs".

Getting There

Take Hwy. 395 North from Bishop to Pine Creek Road. Turn left onto Pine Creek Road. Continue through the town of Rovana and several switchbacks until you see Sheelite Canyon (the obvious deep canyon) on your right. Just across from the Campground, take a dirt road and park in one of two parking areas. Walk up the road and into the canyon.

Pine Creek Canyon

314 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Pine Creek Canyon

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
 83
Racing Lizards
Trad 3 pitches
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 106
Pratt's Crack
Trad
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
 100
The Big Deal
Trad 4 pitches
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
 153
Becky Route
Sport
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
 201
Sheila
Trad
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 94
John Fischer Memorial Route
Trad, Sport 7 pitches
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
 84
Never Believe
Sport
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 79
Rites of Spring
Trad 4 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 63
Supergrinder
Sport 2 pitches
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
 98
B-Gizzle
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 46
Window Shopper
Sport
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
 103
Coven (Seriously Though)
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 89
Flame Thrower
Sport
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a
 46
Burning Inside
Sport
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b
 38
Atomic Gecko
Sport
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Racing Lizards Scheelite Crags… > PSOM Slab
 83
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b Trad 3 pitches
Pratt's Crack Scheelite Canyo… > Pratt's Crack / Dihed…
 106
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad
The Big Deal Scheelite Crags… > PSOM Slab
 100
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a Trad 4 pitches
Becky Route Scheelite Canyo… > Mustache Wall
 153
5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a Sport
Sheila Scheelite Canyo… > Pratt's Crack / Dihed…
 201
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Trad
John Fischer Memorial Route Scheelite Crags… > PSOM Slab
 94
5.10b/c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Trad, Sport 7 pitches
Never Believe Scheelite Canyo… > Ministry Wall
 84
5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b Sport
Rites of Spring Scheelite Canyo… > Armando's Stilletto /…
 79
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Trad 4 pitches
Supergrinder Scheelite Canyo… > Mustache Wall
 63
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport 2 pitches
B-Gizzle Scheelite Canyo… > Mustache Wall
 98
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
Window Shopper Scheelite Canyo… > Mustache Wall
 46
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Coven (Seriously Though) Scheelite Canyo… > Mustache Wall
 103
5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c Sport
Flame Thrower Scheelite Canyo… > Mustache Wall
 89
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Burning Inside Scheelite Canyo… > Ministry Wall
 46
5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a Sport
Atomic Gecko Scheelite Canyo… > Planetarium / Gecko Wall
 38
5.12 7b+ 27 VIII+ 26 E6 6b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Pine Creek Canyon »

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Photos

Bishop local Tom Costa did a great color PDF mini-guide to the sport routes a few years back, he has it in a few different formats at: homepage.mac.com/oohrah

It does not include all the new Marty Lewis/Kevin Calder routes. Jan 16, 2007
Bruce Willey
Bishop, CA
Bruce Willey   Bishop, CA
Tai Devore (AKA Mr. Pine Creek) is putting in so many new routes it's hard to keep track. But go into Wilson's and he'll hand you some topos for some really fine routes. Aug 17, 2009
Victor Lawson
Bishop, CA
Victor Lawson   Bishop, CA
New routes going up left and right...bolted, trad, multipitch, shorties, loooong single pitches, ground up, top down...whooo! It's like a golden age up in heya! Many FA parties are leaving topos at Wilsons to be xeroxed and used...but many single pitch "cragging" routes are still sitting mysterious, and rarely climbed despite their quality. Tim? Tom? You guys gonna give us the beta or what?

over 20 new pitches went up in Pratt's canyon alone over this summer and last. I vote for a community compiling of route info, available for free at Wilsons...or if someone wants to give me a small loan, I'd be happy to pen a Pine Creek guidebook....

vic Jul 9, 2010
somillionaire Viradia
Los Angeles, California
somillionaire Viradia   Los Angeles, California
I was at pine creek a few weeks ago and ended up having one of my Evolv Geshidos, size 9.5(i think), disappear. I think it was near the base of flame thrower. We guessed that a dog might have picked it up because I was only missing one half of a pair. If anyone knows about it, please let me know. Thanks! Jul 20, 2015
Jason Albino
San Francisco, CA
Jason Albino   San Francisco, CA
This canyon sports some of the best rock quality of anywhere I've seen in the Sierras outside of the backcountry. If these routes were in The Valley, they'd likely be constantly mobbed!

Note that the camping is actually just some cut-out dirt spots on the left side of the road as you approach the crags on the right (room for about 6-10 "sites"), so if you're looking for a "campground" as a landmark for the parking, don't expect to find any major signs. Instead, look closely for the dirt road loop across from the cleanest-looking rock you'll see at you get ~6-8 miles up the road from 395. There's a bit of wider dirt road down in there that's good for shady day parking, which only adds about 1 minute of hiking across the main road to the mildly 4X4-accessed parking that's on the right and just slightly closer to the rock, but totally exposed to the sun.

While we came expecting to do mostly trad, and did quite enjoy Shiela, Rites of Spring, and Armando's Stiletto, we got sucked into the awesome sport climbing of Mustache Wall. Every route was so darned good and so expertly and tastefully bolted that we never even got to Ministry Wall or the other sport walls just around the corner. Those North-ish walls are great all-day-shade spots for the summertime or warm spring or fall days, with a cool breeze typical through the corridor and easy stream access behind Ministry Wall.

Bring your stiff edging shoes for the sport climbs, and get ready to puzzle out great lateral movement on spaced out rails, beautiful crimps and the occasional jug. The multis are definitely worth doing as well, especially the fantastic Megaplex.

Kudos to the developers for such beautiful routes. I can't say enough about the dense quality on Mustache Wall - a must-visit for the 5.11/5.12 granite sport climber! I can't think of a better granite sport wall at that grade range anywhere else. Jul 24, 2017
Please consider leaving your dogs at home. Pine Creek is home to bighorn sheep; they are easily stressed by uncontrolled dogs. As am I. If you're bringing a dog climbing, be considerate of other users. Bring a leash. Use it, especially when you're not actively controlling your animal, like when your off the ground, climbing. Digging, wandering, defecating all over the canyon, fighting other dogs, chasing wildlife, distracting climbers. These are all things dogs do, when their owners aren't acting responsibly. Please be a responsible owner/human being! It's appreciated. May 14, 2018
Hades Welcome
Amazing route! Do it!
Bring 26 draws and comfy shoes, the pitch goes on forever.
mountainproject.com/photo/1… Jul 17, 2018
Chris Owen
Big Bear Lake
Chris Owen   Big Bear Lake  
Came down from Royce Lakes recently and realized this area is just a small part of a much bigger continuation which heads up Pine Creek towards the first lake - there's even a dome above the mine. But what a slog to do these routes. Jul 24, 2018

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