Eagle Peak Rock Climbing
|GPS:||32.982, -116.708 Google Map · Climbing Area Map|
|Page Views:||116,260 total · 916/month|
|Shared By:||SCherry on Jan 11, 2011 · Updates|
|Admins:||Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Vicki Schwantes, Justin Johnsen|
High quality single, and multi-pitch, sport climbing on beautiful orange and white granite in the San Diego County backcountry. Routes are up to 500’, 80% of approximately 250 pitches are in the 5.11 - 5.12 range, nearly all bolted, all with stainless hardware. There are maybe 15 all gear protected pitches, with Soul Terrain, Scylla and Charybdis being the outstanding opportunities.
These crags are surrounded by the Cleveland National Forest and stand high over Boulder Creek, a major tributary to the San Diego River, and one of a few backcountry watercourses that runs nearly year round on wet years. The summit of Eagle Peak is considered to have one of San Diego County’s best backcountry views - all the way north to Mount San Gorgonio and Mount San Jacinto, with a glimpse of the Pacific on a clear day.
Weather conditions, particularly temperatures, vary widely through the seasons here, and a locally savvy climber can find climbable temps on almost any day of the year. Generally, from November thru May, most days are pleasant conditions all day. Summer months are typically too hot for most of the routes during midday, with exceptional odd days, but when the sun is high, and the days are long, the steep section of the Right Wall goes into shade before 3:00, leaving 5 or 6 hours of climbing time in the shade for motivated climbers. Tan Man Tower has similar exposure. You can park at 2:00, bear the heat hiking in, and it can be well worth it. The hike back to the car is especially beautiful on a full moon. The summit area, and the Southwest Face area also are shaded until 11 am during the longest days of the year.
The surrounding area is National Forest, particularly around the parking lot, you can camp legally anywhere you want, no fees, a fact the USFS doesn’t advertise. The parking is surrounded by mostly flat, brush covered terrain and a short hike brings a nice level of privacy for a bivi. A short drive opens more aesthetic opportunities, but there is some private land to avoid. The parking in the lot is mostly sloping, so bring some leveling blocks if you want to sleep in your rig. Boulder Creek is the nearest water source for most of the year, a two mile drive South. Nearest restaurant is at Lake Cuyamaca, less than 10 miles, or in Descanso, 12 miles.
Head out the 8 East from San Diego to the 79. Take 79 North for 1 mile and turn left on Riverside Drive. In 1 mile turn left on Viejas Grade Rd and immediately right on Oak Grove Drive. In 1.5 miles turn right on Boulder Creek Rd. After 5 miles of pavement and 5 miles of graded dirt, the road crosses Boulder Creek. 2 miles further is the trailhead at a hairpin turn with a gated road and a kiosk. The left hand road leading west on a level ridge is the start of the approach. This is also the start of the hike to the popular Three Sisters Waterfalls.
Pass the gate and follow the ridge for .5 mile, then down to a saddle where the junction with the Three Sisters Waterfall trail branches to the left. Continue straight ahead to the west and uphill for .5 mile, then down hill for less than .5 mile. The trail leaves the drainage and hooks to the left (south) climbing slightly and traversing around a small ridge. Just after crossing a gully with a dried up stream bed, the trail becomes steep and switchbacks right. Within 100 feet you'll come to a trail exiting left at a small rock outcrop, this is the trail to the pass and the Main Wall. Continue straight to approach the "summit" area and the true Summit of Eagle Peak.
Parking to pass is about 30 minutes. The overall hike to the pass rolls and averages level. From the pass to the highest point of the Main Wall is 150 vertical feet, from there to the base of the Right Wall is 350 vertical feet, to the base of the Direct Route, down another 150 vertical feet. The Summit area, and Eagle Peak proper, with its 400 ft wall, is 300 vertical feet higher than the pass.
The initial descent from the pass is steep and rocky with tight switchbacks. As soon as you reach the more moderate slope, below a big rock outcrop, either follow a switchbacking trail down directly to the base, or exit right and traverse the slope on a mostly level trail which passes just below Tan Man Tower on the way to the edge of the Main Wall. From the pass to top of the wall is about 10 minutes, pass to Lunch Rock at the base is about 15 minutes.
Note: the best way to enjoy your day at Eagle Peak, is to stash your packs at the top of the cliff (there is a large boulder at the cliff edge that is in front of the obvious Tan Man Tower. You can see it from the pass before descending), rack up, and walk down (5 min) to the base and climb out. Not only does this save you the extra steep slog on the way out, but also helps you avoid hanging out at the base for too long. As with most of the San Diego backcountry cliffs, the base can be brutally hot in the sun. Once you're up a pitch there is almost always a nice breeze making the temperatures more enjoyable.
Classic Climbing Routes at Eagle Peak
Days w Precip