Access Issue: Summer climbing times restricted Details


Shade and Sun. Best times are late in the day after the cliff has had some time to dry out. The climbing here is characterized by sandstone caves that come out into a short cliff. The sandstone is typically juggy. It can be VERY greasy. Recommended to bring shoes, chalkbag, brush for holds, towel to clean off shoes and get sand out of your eyes. Awesome landings onto soft sand beach. No need for a crashpad in many spots.

Craig Fry's "Southern California Bouldering Guide, 2nd edition" has this area listed and info.

Getting There

Drive to Corona Del Mar State Beach. There is free parking along the roads that run along the beach or pay parking inside the park. The Cliff is located at the extreme west side of the beach. If you're in the beach parking lot head west past the picnic area and scramble over the rocks to a staircase that leads down the cliff to the beach and bouldering.

44 Total Climbs

Route Finder - Best Climbs for YOU!

Location: Pirate's Cove (aka The Beach or Corona Del Mar) Change
Type:  to 
Sort by:   then:

Classic Climbing Routes at Pirate's Cove (aka The Beach or Corona Del Mar)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
More Classic Climbs in Pirate's Cove (aka The Beach or Corona Del Mar) »

Sun & Shade

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Shawn Adams
Pasadena, CA
Shawn Adams   Pasadena, CA
Choss pile.....
Dirty diapers and dead things, need I say more? Jan 23, 2010
Hey, does anyone have video or picture of someone finishing Anabel sometime in the last year or so (since lots of the original holds are now missing). Any beta would help! Thanks, Patrick. Mar 27, 2010
Elias Jordan
Mazama, WA
Elias Jordan   Mazama, WA
I came, I climbed, I was watched like Chris Sharma. Dec 12, 2012
Climbing only works when you go for it, and it's harder to go for it when sand is covering everything. That said, bouldering on the beach is pretty novel and the place has some real charms. Many low-grade problems are available too if you want to be conservative and just have fun. Sep 20, 2013
Jacob S.
Garden Grove, CA
Jacob S.   Garden Grove, CA
Despite the conditions that can sometimes make it a difficult place to climb (e.g. sand and rock moisture make gripping the rock difficult), Corona del Mar (Pirates Cove) is an awesome place for anyone in the area to come check out.

There are a bunch of climbs with varying degrees of difficulty. The sand, which can sometimes make climbing difficult, also provides a softer landing area than most other outdoor areas.

During the summer, it's a great place to come climb during the weekdays, but I wouldn't recommend going until after 5 pm. Anytime before then, the beach is packed with beach goers.

It's not often that you find a place like this. It's easily accessible, it's scenic, and it's go a lot of history to it. If anyone didn't know some of the history behind Pirates Cove, you should check out the article below.

If you plan on checking Pirates Cove out, I would recommend bringing a towel to stand on before you get on a problem and a larger brush of some sort to wipe the sand off your shoes before getting on the rock. Also, most of the people who climb there regularly are pretty friendly so don't hesitate to ask someone for help if you need it!

Also, check the weather conditions before heading over. Ideally, you will want a low tide, low humidity, and a nice breeze. But otherwise, as long as the sun is out, there will be an area that is good to climb.

This is a pretty cool place with a lot to offer if your just starting out or you're an intermediate climber. Definitely worth checking out if you're passing through or live in the area.

Article written by John Long about the history of Pirates Cove:… Jan 6, 2014
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
Don't even think about climbing here on weekends, anytime it's warm or between late Spring and early Fall. The crowds are insane. On the June weekday that I visited, I could not have begun any route without stepping off of a sun bathing tourist. Each of the caves was packed wall-to-wall with bodies.

Jun 28, 2014
Brad Alexander
Costa Mesa, CA
Brad Alexander   Costa Mesa, CA
Here is a fun video I did with some friends featuring 10 climbs at Pirates. Aug 3, 2014
Talk about a choss pile! I can't even believe this place is listed as a climbing area! It's packed sand coated by dust! I didn't dare pull on anything for fear I'd flop on my back when it broke.

Maybe the conditions were just bad when I was there... Oct 22, 2014
Fat Dad
Los Angeles, CA
Fat Dad   Los Angeles, CA
Comments like the one above are just false, or the guy is just having some fun spewing. Although climbing at The Beach is very condition dependent (lots of posts saying just that), the rock is generally good quality. There are some places in the tall, middle portion of the cliff that are grainier and looser, but that's pretty obvious once you get there. Let's put it this way. I started climbing there more than 30 yrs. ago and, although it's sandstone, the holds on really popular climbs like Iron Man and The Hinge have not changed one bit.

So, once and for all, here's the beta on The Beach.
1. Climb after 5 p.m. or so after the crowds and lifeguards have left.
2. Don't climb on weekends.
3. Don't climb when it's foggy. The best days are sunny, dry days. Santa Ana conditions are optimal.
4. Check the tide tables before you climb or the base of the routes may be washed by waves.
5. Bring a toothbrush (for the sand, not chalk).
6. Bring a good attitude and enjoy. Like most areas, Tuesdays and Thursday bring out the locals, who are usually happy to provide beta. Oct 30, 2014
Its a beach climbing spot with cool problems. I would recommend someone to check this place out, but like the others have mentioned, bring some essentials. Towel to wipe your feet down before starting a climb and a brush to wipe the sand off some areas. Aug 8, 2015
I'm not sure if the routes are listed here, but the rock that is just maybe 30ft off the beach in the water is a fun place to climb. I have traversed this rock many times over the years as it is fun to climb up, jump off, and continue climbing. HOWEVER, one time while I was traversing, a hold broke off and I fell; obviously wouldn't be a problem due to the water landing, however on the South East face of the rock there are other rocks surrounding it. I fell, hit my back on the smaller rocks, and splashed in the water. I was fine, but had I hit the rock on my head and gotten knocked out, I could have easily drowned.

Be careful on the rock in the water and watch for loose holds! Jun 20, 2016
Roe Persaud
Piscataway NJ
Roe Persaud   Piscataway NJ
Hi all,
I'm heading to Costa Mesa to visit family. Only time to climb will be here. I have read previous msg's and have three questions.

1) In order to meet local climbers, should I come after 5pm on weekdays? or are there people there during the day?

2) Is the local crowd there Tue. Thurs.?

3) Is a crash pad necessary for up to V3's? (Just in case I can't meet up with my friend to borrow) Apr 11, 2017
Sam Deshler
Southern California
Sam Deshler   Southern California

Can't answer question 1 or 2 because I've only gone to Pirates Cove on Sunday afternoon/early evenings.

I would recommend a crash pad because most of the top outs are in the 15-20 foot range and the sand's softness varies day to day. Another reason (and probably the best reason): landing hard on a pad instead of the sand will keep the sand out of your shoes. Prepare for a very sandy pad however.

Have fun! Apr 26, 2017
Nathan Walton
Van Meter, IA
Nathan Walton   Van Meter, IA
just got done with a quick session while visiting a friend in the area. definitely worth a stop if passing through orange county. comes with a free peanut gallery if you like climbing for a crowd. overall can't beat the general ambiance for some urban bouldering in a cool little spot. even had some fun watching several people get baptized while i was there Jun 2, 2017
Dude Abides
Dude Abides   SoCal
Heads up on local code. NO Bolting Allowed around Corona Del Mar I thought this to be rather obvious to all folks (par for the area) but after speaking to a person who thought bolting "might be OK" I confirmed with the Parks Department that it is indeed NOT ok to bolt. The Stonemasters put up a lot of FA's here back in day you know... Jul 24, 2017
Eric Miyoji
Phx, AZ
Eric Miyoji   Phx, AZ
As someone who has only climbed on AZ's crummy granite, I'd love to swing a weekend trip to climb here sometime. Would I have any luck trying a Saturday (after the 5pm "restriction") this time of year or is it stupidly busy?

Update: Climbed here Friday and Saturday evening til there was no sun left. Pretty stupidly busy til 6-6:30 when spots started opening up. I stuck mostly to V0's (and a few 2's) since it wasn't the driest weekend, but everything was super fun. Jul 25, 2017
Super fun place to come climb. I'd highly recommend this place for people just getting started bouldering outdoors -- sand stone makes for nice holds, sandy beach makes for nice landings, and there's a high concentration of problems in the VB-V2 range (and amazingly enough they're not totally sandbagged -- in fact I'd lean towards saying this area is graded fairly soft by SoCal standards).

I've had a lot of luck climbing here on weekends in the Fall and Spring -- just check the tide charts, come after 5, and be prepared to get funny looks from non-climbing beach-goers.

As an added bonus, there's a Chronic Tacos super close-by on PCH. Bouldering on the beach with close proximity to burritos - what more could you possibly want?! Apr 13, 2018