Fossil Hill Rock Climbing
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Once a respite from the crowds at Sinks, Fossil Hill is now a crowded cliff with a parking lot full of sprinter vans. The cliff combines Wild Iris style buttress climbing on wind exposed faces, but it's more like the Sinks Canyon main wall in terms of height. There are more crimps here than at the Iris, and more pockets than at Sinks. The rock quality is some of the best in the area. There are about 100 routes here, described in Steve Bechtel's excellent guide.
The climbs are mostly vertical with steep bulges at the top and have between 8 and 12 bolts, for the most part (although some have up to 19 bolts). Grades range from 5.6 to 5.14c.
The area is about 1000 feet higher than Sinks and is more west facing. Good in the fall and late summer evenings, but it can get hot in the middle of the day.
Classics include Casual Entertainment (5.11b), Hang Fire (5.11d), Valkerie (5.12d), The Righteous and The Wicked (5.13a), and When the Cubans Hit the Floor (5.13d).
Beware of rattle snakes at the cliff and on the trail. They are particularly sneaky here as many of them don't rattle as a warning. There was an effort to eradicate all the snakes from this area in the early 2000s. As a fascinating example of (un)natural selection, this left a population that had been overlooked and repopulated the zone with silent rattlers.
Just after the switch backs, look for a dirt parking lot on the left of the road with a pit toilet. Park here. The main part of the wall is not quite visible from the parking lot. You will see a really steep two track that leads straight up to the cliff. Do not take this trail. Rather, find a single track that goes up and right, passing a fence at about 200 yards. This will eventually deposit you at the main wall, near Casual Entertainment.
Classic Climbing Routes at Fossil Hill
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