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Routes in The Grotto

... S 3rd 1- 1 I 1 M 1a
Air Ranger S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Crash Test Dummy S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Dipstick S 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b
Game Boy S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Garden of Expectations S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Intensity S 5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c
Junior S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Little Giant S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Lowrider S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Mirror of Erised S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Miss Pacman S 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Mystic River S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Nimrod S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Puffing Hunchback S 5.10+ 6b+ 21 VII+ 20 E3 5b
Rats & Bats S 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Slammer S 5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Stairway to Heaven S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Stinger S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Stubby S 5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a
Superfly S 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Wonder Woman S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Xanadu S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Unsorted Routes:


The Grotto is a wonderful place to climb in the summer, under the shade of a group of huge Sycamore trees. Located upstream from the base of the Drainage descent trail, the Grotto lies at the western end of the cliff band of Echo Cliffs. Due to canopy created by the Sycamore trees the Grotto enjoys mixed shade all day long. Routes in the Grotto range from 5.7 - 5.12b. There is typically a good flow of water during the winter and spring, but dries up by early summer.
Emergency Closure to Protect Sensitive Plant Species Details
Grotto and Lookout closed Details

Getting There

the first climbing area encountered on the approach trail

23 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at The Grotto

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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The routes at the grotto were not very good either way, (no offense to the guys who bolted them.) there is plenty of great moderate climbing at the Left Flank, and the Far Side. Jan 11, 2011
Brian Hench
Costa Mesa, CA
Brian Hench   Costa Mesa, CA
Those climbs will never be open for climbing- ever! They were all erased!

Those routes were on north-facing cliffs- precisely where Dudleyas prefer to grow. There are a lot of different Dudleya species at Echo. If I remember correctly, the ranger said the endangered one was D. moreliana, named for its tendency to hold onto its dead leaves.

This web site has a long list of Dudleya species.… May 17, 2010
Was it really necessary to remove the route descriptions of the affected climbs? While they may be currently closed, they will hopefully be available to climb next year. May 16, 2010
Benjamin Chapman
Small Town, USA
Benjamin Chapman   Small Town, USA
The Park Service has closed all routes of the south side of the Grotto. Signs have been posted and bolts/anchors removed from the five affected routes. This was done to protect endangered plants. (although nothing was stated about threatened or endangered plants existing in the Grotto during the discussions of 2002).
Climbers have been largely ignored, but due to an increase in litter, tissue/feces, dogs at the base of the cliff, and camping, rangers will be monitoring climber's activities more closely. Rangers have expressed concern that climbers have been inaffective at self-policing regarding these impacts at the cliff. May 3, 2010
Simon H
Oakland, CA
Simon H   Oakland, CA
I Climbed Mystic River and Garden of Expectations with a few friends today and were approached by a group of concerned park rangers. Apparently, these routes cut through one of the world's 3 remaining populations of a critically endangered succulent. After the rangers identified the plant for us it was obvious that activity by climbers has destroyed much of this population. They mentioned that Echo was almost closed years ago in an effort to protect this specific plant. We convinced them that the climbing community is not only passionate about preserving the environment, but respectful towards rules, especially when access was contingent on them.

Please help the park service to preserve this species by not only discontinuing climbing in the northwest of the grotto, but making sure that other climbers know that the routes in the area run through critical habitat. As continuing to climb this route will likely lead to closure of the whole area, it is better to climb routes that do not promise to cause the extinction of a species. May 1, 2010

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