Elevation: 2,212 ft
GPS: 34.499, -119.789 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 14,010 total · 99/month
Shared By: TrevorB on Apr 16, 2007
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Painted Cave hosts arguably three of the most well-traveled boulders in Santa Barbara. Only minutes from town and literally hanging over the road, ease of access alone makes this a popular "quick hit" destination.

Getting There

From the 101, Take the 154 to a right on Painted Cave Road. You'll practically run into the boulders after about a mile and a half of 1st and 2nd gear meanderings.

From ordering a Tropical Fuzz at the Blenders in Five Points to being shoed up and warming up on the Hallway Traverse, it should only take about 10 minutes.

23 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Painted Cave

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
More Classic Climbs in Painted Cave »

Weather Averages

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Spider Savage
Los Angeles, ID
Spider Savage   Los Angeles, ID
Great place with a wide range of rating. Easy to very hard. About 15-20 minutes from the center of town.

As you drive up painted cave road there's a boulder each side of the road and a pull-over right after. The boulder on the right is so close people have nicked it.

Ducked away from the wedding party last weekend. Up above the marine layer all was sunny. Got a good pump on and was back before anyone knew I was gone. May 17, 2010
andy patterson
Carpinteria, CA
andy patterson   Carpinteria, CA  
Does anyone know who cleared all the vegetation around the base of the Trojan boulder? As of 1/26/2011, somebody took a saw/weed-wacker to all the manzanita and scrub within fifteen feet of the rock. Sure, it makes the climbing less obstructed, but it also sets a pretty bad precedent for local climbers. If the landowner did it, I have no right to condemn, but I think climbers—most of whom DON'T own the rock they climb on—should know better. Jan 26, 2011
Nick Sullens
Nick Sullens   Yosemite
I assume it was a landowner, I talked to a guy out there recently that said he was putting in a road or something like that. Regardless, some body removed the stump from the landing of Old Soft Hsu, which is pretty lame in my book considering it was first climbed in the seventies without crash pads and with the stump in the way. Have some respect. Jan 26, 2011
Joe Stern
Moab, Utah
Joe Stern   Moab, Utah
I've been meaning to post something about this for a while...I just so happened to be up there on the day in question.

I wish I could recall the date, but I'm not so good with these things in general and there have been lots of Painted Cave trips that have blended together...November 2010 is my best approximation for now. I'll consult with the other folks I was with that day to see if we can fine tune that estimate, as it is sort of an interesting time marker in the area's history.

Andy, fear not...I HIGHLY, HIGHLY doubt that climbers were in any way responsible for this landscaping effort. There was a commercial outfit up there on the day in question: multiple guys running around chopping and piling and chipping branches up and down the road. All the work in that immediate area was done in one day. Like Nick, given the operation I witnessed up there, I presume the land owner is responsible. Alternatively, it may have been a government-requested sort of clearing. I used to work for a tree trimming company in Ohio, for example, that contracted with the government to clear trees/brush around utility lines.

This brings up an interesting point...who owns the Painted Cave boulders? Steve Edwards mentions in his guidebook that all other (besides Trojan, Hallway, Cracked) boulders in the immediate vicinity are on private land. He doesn't say exactly what the jurisdiction of the main boulders is, though, leading me to believe that maybe they're county-owned? (I'm no expert on how these things work, obviously.) It is interesting that they cleared out the back side of both the Trojan and Hallway boulders...zones which clearly have no effect on traffic.

Whatever the reasons behind the trimming or your opinions on it, I think one benefit for us is the clearing around the Cracked boulder. Those problems are much more pleasant now, in my opinion, and the face gets glorious afternoon light. I have some nice pics of Cracked taken some weeks ago (post-trimming) and hope to add it to MP whenever I get around to it...

One last item worth pointing out here...the Old Soft Hsu stump mentioned by Nick was gone long before the recent major trimming (many months to maybe a year or so now?). This, I suspect, was probably a climber whom should have known better and deserves the condemnation of Andy along with the rest of us.

Hope this helps to clarify what happened up there.

In hindsight, of course I wish I would have asked the workers that day what the deal was, but I was mostly focused on getting a session in and getting out fast (those wood chippers are effin loud!). Jan 26, 2011