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Areas in Corte Madera

Beginner's Bluff 0 / 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Coulter Grove/Rest Home 0 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
El Nino Wall 2 / 14 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 15
Hundred Acre wood 0 / 3 / 3 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 3
Main Wall 2 / 2 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 4
Solar Slabs 0 / 2 / 1 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 2
Video Dome 0 / 5 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 0 / 5
Elevation: 4,383 ft
GPS: 32.756, -116.591 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 49,849 total · 391/month
Shared By: mschlocker on Mar 27, 2008 with updates from Christopher Hervan
Admins: Marc Kajut, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Access Issue: Current San Diego County Advisories Details


A fine south-facing multi-pitch crag in San Diego county. Corte Madera has a history of both traditional and sport routes. The traditional routes will offer adventure with some en-route bushwhacking. The newer sport routes climb the clean faces of this impressive cliff. The climbs are most easily approached by hiking to the top of the cliff and rappelling to the base.

Getting There

From San Diego, head out East on I-8. Exit Buckman Springs and head South of the freeway. Right on Corral Canyon road (Morena Stokes Rd on Google). Park 4.9 miles up the road and hike in on a trail to your right (1.5-2 hours). If you have 4WD then continue up the road. Head right onto a dirt road at the first intersection and follow this to within a 1/2 hour of the top of the cliff. I'll have to verify all of this next time I head out there, please check a map.

Getting to lower routes, thanks to hard work by some fellow climbers:
The trail leading to the video dome base has been re-opened after many years of neglect as of Dec 26th 2017 It is now possible to approach video dome area and the solar slabs area as well as the main wall, without multiple rappels. The trail begins just past the saddle boulders and heads south towards a large Boulder then follow cairns down the hill traversing a few hundred feet below the El Niño formation. Enjoy the trail everyone.


Please note that there is a voluntary seasonal closure of anything West (Climbers' Left) of the center of the main wall due to nesting raptors. Feb 1 - June 30.

Route Guides

The latest (2006) Kennedy climbing guide is a vast improvement from the older guide for this area. It includes many of the newer sport routes. Currently this is the only printed guide (that I know of) for this area.

34 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Corte Madera

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sport, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
South Buttress
Trad 4 pitches
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Wish You Were Here
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Pollo con Jelados
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Im Panadilla
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Satellite Dish
Sport, TR
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Candid Chimera
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Mud Slide
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a
Sunset Streaks
Sport 5 pitches
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Close to the Edge
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b
Pay Per View
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Route Name Location Star Rating Difficulty Date
Swoosh El Nino Wall
5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c Sport, TR
South Buttress Main Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Trad 4 pitches
Wish You Were Here El Nino Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Pollo con Jelados El Nino Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Im Panadilla El Nino Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Satellite Dish Solar Slabs
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport, TR
Candid Chimera Solar Slabs
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Mud Slide El Nino Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport
Sunset Streaks Main Wall
5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a Sport 5 pitches
Close to the Edge El Nino Wall
5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b Sport
Pay Per View Video Dome
5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b Sport
Technicolor Video Dome
5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b Sport
More Classic Climbs in Corte Madera »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
San Diego, CA
mschlocker   San Diego, CA
Now a new guide option is available. The Allied Climbers of San Diego have created a guide for El Cajon Mtn, Eagle Peak, and Corte Madera. It's quite a bit better than the SD climbing guide for Corte. I recommend you check it out at a local REI or better yet come to a member meeting. . Nov 3, 2009
T.J. Esposito
San Diego, CA
T.J. Esposito   San Diego, CA
For anyone planning on War Paint (5P 12a), a key hold broke off the start of the 3rd pitch (12a crux). It's likely now hard twelve at least and impossible to french free it (the first bolt is about 12 feet up or so.) Those inclined can skip the start by going up the 5.easy gully to the right and clipping the first bolt and swinging back in to do the super fun original crux. Feb 18, 2013
Mannamedstan Smith
Carpinteria, CA
Mannamedstan Smith   Carpinteria, CA
Any beta on the dirt road? How much ground clearance or can a Subaru make it? Sep 25, 2013
Adam T.
San Diego, CA
Adam T.   San Diego, CA
Hey Mannamedstan, a Subaru can definitely make it, but it will require a little bit of skilled driving. I personally wouldn't go for it, but my buddy Corey would eat it up. Definitely some large ruts and a few paint can sized boulders. We did it last month with a Toyota Tacoma pickup. Oct 6, 2013
San Diego, Ca
jeffblankman   San Diego, Ca
RE: the 4WD road over Los Pinos

It was not very bad at all IMO. No real skill at off-road driving needed. A bit bumpy and a few scattered rocks and ruts, but I think even a slow and measured 2WD vehicle with decent clearance could make it. Of course, different story if it's rained recently.

From the saddle down the Espinoza road is not bad, either, until right before (2 min walk) the use trail to the toe of the crag (S Buttress route). Nov 3, 2013
Dan 60D5H411
Colorado Springs, CO
Dan 60D5H411   Colorado Springs, CO
Jeff is right about the first portion of the dirt road...probably could be done in a sedan if you know how navigate burms. The espinoza portion however was in really bad shape when we were there a couple of weeks ago. We were in a "sport" suv and ended up doing a 20 point turn to reverse our course after only a couple hundred yards down the road. Instead we opted to continue onto the higher parking area, hike to the top of the crag and rap in. The hike was 45 minutes, well-worn and fairly moderate in nature. Jan 12, 2014
Salamanizer suchoski
Vacaville Ca.
Salamanizer suchoski   Vacaville Ca.  
Need some help with route identification as I don't have a guide for the area.
We drove down from northern Cali to sample some of the rock you guys have down there and climbed at El Cajon and Corte Madera for a few days last week.

At Corte Madera, not really knowing what we were getting on, we first climbed a route that starts out as thin slabby face with some solid .11+ moves to a tree where the route then followed a thin crack out left to the belay. Several mediocre and fairly contrived pitches after that lead to a big rotten overhanging arête (maybe .12a/b) with a big loose death block. I bailed off a bail biner that was left on that turd (didn't want to kill my belayer) and followed a short bolted and highly contrived route to the left that was easy stemming to basically the top, then took a weird, contrived hard right up a rotten kitty litter bulge past a bolt to the top. Anyone know what that route is called and want to add it to the Route DB if it's not already there.

Another route we climbed was near the center of the wall in kind of an alcove with lots of dirty cracks. It was like two short, well protected pitches (maybe low 5.10) to a good belay beneath a gear protected fist/chimney crack that turned into tight fingers up high and traversed left to another perfect hand crack (maybe .10a or .10b/c if you follow the finger crack too high). The next pitch was a tightly bolted face with a few lieback moves (maybe 5.11a/b) to a decent ledge. The final pitch was a short bouldery thing (maybe mid .10) to the top.

Both routes looked like they had pretty new bolts on em. The rest of the routes we climbed I found in the Routes DB, but these two I didn't see a description that I recognized. Anyone know what they're called and feel like adding them to the Routes DB? I can help you out as I have Administrative privileges but am not qualified to add things to this area as I'm not too familiar with it. It could use a more complete list of routes with better descriptions and some photos. I know you got em'. Upload your killer photos and make this area shine.

It's a great cliff and has some awesome climbing. Jan 6, 2015
san diego
alexandra.   san diego
LOST MY DAMN SHOE on the 2nd pitch of what I think was sunset streaks.
it's a very small sized moccasym vcs.
please email me if you find it, or drop it off at mesa rim!
i work there. :) thanks! Jan 7, 2015
R Dubs
San Diego, CA
R Dubs   San Diego, CA
Road condition updates:
We were out at Corte on 1/30/15 for the first time and I wanted to share some driving beta.

Approach beta: DON'T even think about the Espinoza Trail - it is in BAD condition. Take Los Piños. I would definitely recommend high-clearance. 4WD not needed if you're used to driving trails, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

How bad is the Espinoza Trail? Initially tried to head down the Espinoza trail to approach the main wall from below. I have a 2WD 4Runner (same high clearance as regular 4Runner), and consider myself to be a very skilled offroad driver. After about a half mile of some VERY aggressive driving we decided to head back up, which required some serious bossing to get out. If you don't have experience driving on legitimate off-road conditions and know how to handle high clearance vehicles DO NOT take this trail. Even if you do, I don't think it's worth it. The hike in from the Los Pinos trail is easy and the road is 100% better.

Los Piños trailto the summit approach trail was fine. Feb 1, 2015
Eric M Parks
Phoenix, AZ
Eric M Parks   Phoenix, AZ
Climber’s trail to base of Video Dome and Solar Slabs is now heavily over grown with brush, is very slow going and requires route finding skills. Feb 23, 2015
Kelly K  
Climber's trail from Espinosa trail up to base of main wall is extremely overgrown and slow-going. The turn-off is almost impossible to find. If you want to torture yourself with steep uphill bushwacking, once you pass a set of large tanks on your left, go down a steep little rocky part in the road then look for a small pile of rocks on the right indicating the trailhead. That's where the adventure begins.... Oct 19, 2015
Cameron Townsend
San Diego
Cameron Townsend   San Diego
Added a topo map with gps coordinates for the Espinosa trail approach. The trail is still pretty overgrown, but trail ducks will help guide you through. Jan 21, 2016

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