Elevation: 552 ft
GPS: 33.252, -117.124 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 6,639 total · 116/month
Shared By: Joshua Reinig on Apr 2, 2014
Admins: Marc Kajut, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes
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Access Issue: This great North County Crag is located on the boundary of partial lots for sale, private property and public land. Details
Access Issue: Current San Diego County Advisories Details


Old Castle is home to one of the finest boulder fields in San Diego County. There is a great John Gill quote that says some of the best Boulder problems in the world are the ones that are right off the road. If that is the case these are definitely some of the greatest.
Large quantity of geometric boulders scattered across the hillside with highball futuristic problems for days. Featured in several climbing videos, some of the greatest modern day boulders have all visited and enjoyed the great problems that exist in the surrounding Cirques!!!

Getting There

Take Oldcastle Rd., East approximately 1 mile from the I-15 freeway. The boulders will become very obvious on your left side, the north side of the road. Park anywhere along the side of the road walk up to first roadside boulders and go from there. A series of great trails and landings have been built through the years by local climbers to help further the establishment of this great Bouldering area!

5 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Old Castle Bouldering

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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Southern California
RER   Southern California
I hear talks of this legendary area passed around the gym from time to time. Not a secret any more. Apr 8, 2014
Ray Davalos
Encinitas, CA
Ray Davalos   Encinitas, CA
Ah man and it was nice that way. This place isn't really set up for the masses, which is unfortunate, but with parking being so limited I can see this getting messy. It'd be great if this was removed from MP altogether and left the underground spot it was. Apr 12, 2014
To whom it may concern,
I struggled long and hard with the idea of ever introducing such a great and questionable spot to the rest of the community, rather share it with the so-called masses. It was never my intention to step on anyone's toes or exploit such a beautiful place but yes it is a tad selfish to keep such a gem to ourselves. Basically if it wasn't me it would be the next goober down the line to do so and I tried to share it with our community in the most noble of ways possible.
What I don't think a lot of people realize a big part of the art of climbing is sharing the experience and stoke with others. That is definitely one of the main purposes of such a wonderful site like Mountain Project.
I am more than glad to take the bouldering off of the Old Castle Mountain project site if enough people get there panties in a bunch. My main focus and objectives was to expose the super badass and awesome roped routes that I have worked on and projected for the last decade and a half.
Remember have fun be safe and climb strong. Any and all contributions are greatly appreciated.
Mountain Project "Used By Many, Contributed By Few"!!! Apr 12, 2014
Ray Davalos
Encinitas, CA
Ray Davalos   Encinitas, CA
You make a lot of good points Joshua and your time, work and money spent on developing this crag deserves recognition. My only concern, which now allow me to re-form as a question is, will opening up the bouldering cause access issues?

With the popularity of bouldering and its social nature, the bouldering here is going to be the main attraction with the ropes coming second. Not due to the quality of the rope climbing, but in regards to this generation of rock climbers. Rope climbers come as partners, boulders roll in crews and if I owned the house on the adjacent hill I'd be bummed to see a line of cars park along my fence.

With that said I'd like to hear more of your thoughts if you're inclined to share. As the local/vet of the area your opinions would be valued. Apr 12, 2014
Kris Kalisuch
San Diego, CA
Kris Kalisuch   San Diego, CA
I have to agree with Ray. This area cannot and will not handle crowds. Publishing the bouldering info will likely be the demise of this area. There has already been issues with the neighbors about parking along the fence. Perhaps you should consider removing at least the info about bouldering. Apr 13, 2014
Eric Van Williams   Oside,CA
A lot of good points here. I feel that it is selfish to withhold info on such an easy accessible area and at the same time I can see how the young bouldering crews that are fresh out of the gym could ruin it, but that's the risk with any area. Establish an area then if it is worth it get the access fund to keep it open. The real candy of this area is the rope climbs but if people show up for that they will see the boulders and share the info and we will be back to square one.

What I think the best solution would be is to post in the description about the parking. Try and make the community respect the area, letting them know if it does get messy it could mean that this spot is off limits. I've personally parked on the boulder field side of the street several times with no problems. Also there are a few pullouts that can be used. Apr 14, 2014
Oceanside, Ca
nds   Oceanside, Ca
This area came up a year ago on a forum post with the author asking if someone could post this area. I responded by stating the reasons why that would be a bad idea. It was somewhat inevitable that it would be posted eventually. It seems like Joshua has put in a bit of work not only in developing this area but making it accessible to the community. I have the utmost respect for that, not enough people put forth that kind of effort. Be that as it may, the issue with this area though, is that it simply cannot support a large influx of climbers. Its not a matter of selfishness, but treating the area and its neighbors with the appropriate respect.

I have climbed here for the last 10 years, cleaned and developed stuff of my own, and shared beta with those interested but I have always appreciated that the access to a place like this is sensitive. Parking is scarce, most of the climbing is on private property, Native American art exists in close proximity to climbing. These are all things that could quickly create issues if not respected. Its noble to think people will respect these issues but it is also a bit ignorant. People, unfortunately even climbers are selfish and destructive, and as more come into the area there will be an impact. This area cannot absorb the impact like Mt Woodson, Santee, Mission Gorge or other areas that are better suited for large groups of people.

Even though bouldering is the focus, I'm of the opinion that if it is on private property and an increase in climber presence will be created by publicizing it, than this area as a whole should be removed. We have to think of the area not of ourselves. There are multiple areas throughout San Diego that have amazing climbing but are on private property, or have unique access issues. It is simply not appropriate to post an area like that on this site. Ive struggled with this for years, but I have learned that if I want to know about an area I can ask around and put in some work to learn about it. This "effort" has created in me a sense of respect for these areas.

This has become a bit long winded but I think to summarize: Think of this area with some appreciation to the areas uniqueness. We all enjoy climbing here, have somehow figured out about it without it being posted, so does it help or harm the area to make it more well known? I think in this case it will harm the area.
Apr 14, 2014
Carlsbad CA
RAZORsharp   Carlsbad CA
I believe this should be removed from this site for multiple reasons. To beat the dead horse, parking, access issues, increased trash and damage to native plants, noise complaints, and lets not forget the trundling problem the Inland Empire crew did to many of the boulders.

I feel that NDS, Ray, and Kris have hit the best points of interest. Apr 14, 2014
Abogado Chris
San Diego, CA
Abogado Chris   San Diego, CA
So my girlfriend and I have been out here a few times now, 4 years after a bunch of people claimed posting this information would bring the big bouldering crowds and ruin this "legendary" area or get it shut down altogether. Well, I can safely say you all must be smoking crack instead of climbing cracks. First off, the rock quality here is great and there are some fun problems but it is a far cry from the sort of climbing destination that attracts large crowds of climbers, any climbers for that matter, but especially the boulderers that you were all so worried about. It is not a widely popular crag and NEVER will be for pretty much the same reasons people argued this place shouldn't be shared in the first place, like minimal parking and trail access. Moreover, what on earth makes you think boulderers would disrespect the area and bring more trash to the area? If you are so concerned about the status of your crag why aren't you complaining about all the homeless people trashing the trails, or the local residents using the parking area as a dump site? Why are you talking about NEW climbers coming and disrespecting the area when local climbers have been climbing over Native American Rock art on the Indian Cave Boulder for the past 30 years? That's not the new bouldering crowds doing that, we are used to not climbing on any rock within 50 feet of rock art (thanks to climbing in places like J-Tree). I didn't even climb on the Indian Cave Boulder out of respect. Moreover, when you go to J-tree or Mt.Woodson its not the boulders that are leaving poop and trash all over the place, its the regular tourist on a Sunday hike that do that crap. Boulderers routinely organize together to clean their crags. Trust me, large bouldering crowds will never want anything to do with this steep crag with its limited number of problems. But, even if they did you would better of for it, you would see improvements, LESS trash and potentially even less homeless people, not more trash. Mar 2, 2018