Elevation: 463 ft
GPS: 32.851, -117.022 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 151,433 total · 1,019/month
Shared By: mschlocker on Feb 4, 2007
Admins: Marc Kajut, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
Access Issue: Current San Diego County Advisories Details


San Diego's most popular bouldering area. Just bring a crash pad and some shoes. Many of the problems are safe to do sans pad. Do not expect to be alone out here. Please respect the bushes and do not make the trails any wider than they already are.

Getting There

Across the street from West Hills Park in Santee off Mast Blvd near the 52 freeway. Park in the park parking lot and play frogger to cross the street to the bouldering area that is visible on the north side of the road.

From Los Angeles and Orange Counties, drive south on the 5 until the exit for the highway 78 eastbound. Take the 78 east to the 15 and head south. Those coming from Riverside County will take the 15 directly. From the 15/78 interchange, drive 21 miles south to highway 52 and head east for 6 miles. Exit on Mast Blvd, taking a left at the light. One half-mile on the right hand side is West Hills Park.

115 Total Climbs

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Location: Santee Boulders Change
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Classic Climbing Routes at Santee Boulders

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
V0- 4-
V0 4
V0 4
V2 5+
The Black Spot Problem
V2+ 5+
Dead Animal Traverse
V3 6A
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b V1 5
Bullet Hole Wall Crack??
Trad, Boulder
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
The 5.8 Face
Trad, TR
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
American Express
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a V0- 4-
Masochist Crack
Trad, Boulder
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a V0 4
Lieback Rock Dyno
Trad, Boulder
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Traverse - right
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b V2 5+
The Ramp
TR, Boulder
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c V2 5+
Lieback Rock Lieback
Trad, Boulder
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a V3 6A
Twenty Point Problem
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Mantle Moby Dick Area > Lieback Rock
V0- 4- Boulder
Flake Moby Dick Area > Lieback Rock
V0 4 Boulder
Fingercrack Moby Dick Area > Beehive Boulders
V0 4 Boulder
The Black Spot Problem Synchronicity Area > Moon Boulder
V2 5+ Boulder
Dead Animal Traverse Moby Dick Area > Animal Boulder
V2+ 5+ Boulder
Jumpstart Moby Dick Area > Amphitheater
V3 6A Boulder
Bullet Hole Wall Crack?? Moby Dick Area > Bullet Hole Wall
5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b V1 5 Trad, Boulder
The 5.8 Face Dog Pile Area > Dog Pile
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Trad, TR
American Express Moby Dick Area > Bullet Hole Wall
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a TR
Masochist Crack Moby Dick Area > Beehive Boulders
5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a V0- 4- Trad, Boulder
Lieback Rock Dyno Moby Dick Area > Lieback Rock
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a V0 4 Trad, Boulder
Traverse - right Dog Pile Area > 20 Point Boulder
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b TR
The Ramp Dog Pile Area > 20 Point Boulder
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b V2 5+ TR, Boulder
Lieback Rock Lieback Moby Dick Area > Lieback Rock
5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c V2 5+ Trad, Boulder
Twenty Point Problem Dog Pile Area > 20 Point Boulder
5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a V3 6A Boulder
More Classic Climbs in Santee Boulders »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
San Diego, CA
keli   San Diego, CA
This bouldering area is OPEN. NO access issues at this point in time. Apr 16, 2009
seattle, wa
akforty7   seattle, wa
if you're looking to improve your fancy footwork, crimp strength, and balance for your granite climbing projects...this is the place to train! There's a good amount of highball options and some anchors for top roping as well.

Bees may like Lonesome and Mudball as much as a boulderer does, but they don't like people much.

Summer time: watch out for the occasional rattler sunning on/near the trail, there's a grand daddy of one near carosel boulder i've seen on many occasions. they'll give you a spot on light bulb boulder as well.

  • *if you're not familiar with snakes and their habits, it's the smaller ones that you should be most weary of...they tend to latch on giving you a longer dose of the stuff they're selling. the bigger ones will use it more sparingly seeing as you're not going to make a good snack.
May 1, 2009
Chattanooga, Tennessee
TBONE   Chattanooga, Tennessee
just moved to SD and really psyched to find this great little boulder field like 10 mins from my apt. Great setting easy approach many quality problems.

With that said the ratings here seriously SUCK. Having bouldered all over the country (Hueco, Bishop, Boulder, Yosemite, Chattanooga). I can say these ratings are in their own little world. 5th class ratings for boulder problems was probably common in the 70's or whatever, but V ratings are the accepted standard of boulderers everywhere now. (And the way the users of this site are pigeon holed into choosing their own "5th class rating" and V ratings are not even in the drop down list is also jacked.) On top of that the few V ratings that exist here are poor. Take Suzy's Mantle a classic V4 just about anywhere they have as V0?? Anyone who thinks this has not traveled much. You guys who think this is V0 should get out and see some other areas.

Aside from the myopic ratings this place is super sweet! Jan 1, 2012
I've found the Santee grades comparable to other SoCal areas with similar climbing like Joshua Tree and Black Mountain. Conversions to the YDS approximate well to those at Suicide Rock - a mecca of granite slab and thin face climbing. Hang out a bit and get used to the rock and the style before going too crazy on attempting to up-rate problems multiple grades.

I'll agree that it would be nice to consistently see V grades in the database here, perhaps mentioning the original B-grade or YDS grade. In the end though, is it really that hard to convert from YDS to V? Jan 16, 2012
steve richert
Taunton MA
steve richert   Taunton MA
Just a heads up, on the LEFTMOST of the mudball cracks, there is a bees nest. It is probably best to avoid this. I was initially told it was a wasps nest, but upon slightly closer inspection I saw a pretty extensive honeycomb in there! Bees are endangered right now, so I am giving them a wide berth...ish. We climbed the other two cracks and faces and didn't seem to stoke their ire.

pictures here on my blog livingvertical.org/2012/01/… Jan 19, 2012
ron amick
poway, ca
ron amick   poway, ca
LOL welcome to san diego, T Bone. Ive been climbing in San Diego county for over 35 years, and Ive climbed elsewhere in CA yosemite, the sierra, idylwild, joshua tree etc. Ive also climbed all around the country, as well as in canada, mexico, finland and russia, and I have found a huge disparity in ratings from one place to another. Theres nothing you can do about it, so you dont whine, you suck it up and you go by the local ratings. I saw 5.9s in Germany that were 5.11+ to me. Ive also seen 5.12's that were 5.10+ to me. Whether or not you agree with it, it is what it is.

San Diego is a backwater, and we developed these climbing areas without much outside involvement. Our ratings may be a bit stiff, and were proud of that. A 5.9 here tends to be a real 5.9, and a 5.12 is hard as hell, not some cream puff job meant to inflate minor egos. Ive been to the sport areas where everything is "5.12", routes have bolts every 4 feet and half the lines are chipped, and I can tell you that San Diego is exactly the opposite of that. Thats the way its always been, and thats the way we like it.

San Diego has millions of rounded boulders and we turn out some of the best mantle climbers in the world. Suzys mantle is not anywhere close to V4, but Id say V1 is fair. Its a moderate Santee mantle and Im sorry but it would not be a V4 anywhere. Hone your technique, get strong and try it again. If you want gimmies, go to the gym. Feb 17, 2012
vimeo.com/60501713 Feb 26, 2013
Wes Whitaker
Atlanta, GA
Wes Whitaker   Atlanta, GA
Bees are back at Mudball Apr 13, 2013
Hi everyone,

So I made this overview video of the area for those of you who are thinking about checking out Santee Boulders. Have fun and please respect the area!

youtube.com/watch?v=3OznRC5… Aug 28, 2013
San Diego
HunterCody   San Diego
vimeo.com/195154509 Dec 10, 2016
Excellent area to learn about climbing on granite. It has it all...faces, cracks, mantels, off-width, traverses, whatever. Good landings, low-key approach, no fees, no cops, no rules AFAIK...just go and do your thing. Very accessible from most parts of San Diego and North County too, since they opened the 52 a few years ago.

You don't really need a rope but there are a handful of TRs and one or two "sport leads" (supposedly one is 5.12d or something) but really you just wanna boulder here.

Very temperature dependent rock, and I recommend staying in the shade as much as possible. There is a little poison oak around, and I've seen one single rattlesnake in about 100 visits. The springtime can bring a lot of wildflowers, and there is other wildlife around like rabbits, birds, i remember seeing a fox once or twice.

All in all, very idyllic, great bouldering and just hard to beat for being so close to the city. If you go in the warmer months, I recommend going at about 430am though...Santee regularly reaches 100 degrees in the summer. The only possible issue is that the parking area (at least in theory) is only open at certain hours so if you wanted a night session you may have to walk a bit further to be on the safe side. Jun 3, 2018