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Routes in Kernville Rock (a.k.a. Kern Slabs)

Branscum-Martin Route S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13
Chouinard Special T,S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Claustrophobia Crack T 5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a
Claustrophobia Direct Start T,TR 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c
Cornflakes T,TR 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a X
Dirty Dishes S 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
Fine Line S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Friction Slab T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Initiation Crack T 5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b
Just for Kicks S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Lieback, The T 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Sight Unseen S 5.10- 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a PG13
Top Out T 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b PG13
Well it Looked Easy! T 5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c


Beautiful slabby granite that can be climbed all year long. Definitely need good rubber for alot of the climbs. Many spots overlook the Kern River, which provides a great post-climb dip!

Getting There

From Kernville take the Upper Kern River Road just under 5 miles. You will see the slabs uphill, to the East. If you hit Dome Rock (large dome-ish granite outcrop) you have gone too far, although there are fun climbs on Dome Rock.

14 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Kernville Rock (a.k.a. Kern Slabs)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
More Classic Climbs in Kernville Rock (a.k.a. Kern Slabs) »

Weather Averages

Days w Precip
Prime Climbing Season
Matthew Fienup
Ventura, CA
Matthew Fienup   Ventura, CA  
To be even more specific: park on the east side of the road, in the turnout just below the southern flank of the crag (70 yards down the road from a point below the center of the crag). A well developed climbers trail starts in this turnout and diagonals upward to the center of the crag.

Directly below the center of the dome is a boulder-filled gully that uninitiated climbers (like us, last week) clearly use to access the crag. The gully is no fun. Oct 14, 2009
Climbed here last weekend, needed a 70 meter for a few routs it seemed, had run out on two climbs. Bolts are FAR apart in some spots, 20' or so. Tuff hike up, about kilt my wife, great traction on the slab though. Nov 16, 2010
Guy Keesee
Moorpark, CA
Guy Keesee   Moorpark, CA
Ha... just looked at this... Jacob L. if you think this is a Tuff Hike,Kern River climbing is not for you. This is without question the easiest hike around.......

70m is probably a good thing to have. When this place was being developed... late 70's early 80's Sportclimbing was not even thought of, everyone climbed on 50's with a extra 50 at the ready. Putting in extra bolts was sort of frowned on.

On top of KS is some of the best bouldering in the Canyon... its worth checking out as well as the fine bouldering at the bottom of the KS, right next to the road. Jan 18, 2016
I have just completed an new guidebook to Kern Slabs and New Directions Cliffs. It includes approximately 100 routes and is now available atkernvalleyclimbs.com I hope it makes the area more popular with climbers. Jun 19, 2016
Sean P. Sullivan
Clovis, Ca
Sean P. Sullivan   Clovis, Ca
In regards to the directions posted on this page...if you've hit dome rock you've gone about an hour too far. Don't assume these two areas are anywhere close to each other. I was mislead before doing more research and was bummed when I got there to find out how far away they are. Dec 7, 2016

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