Elevation: 2,000 ft
GPS: 34.471, -119.69 Google Map · Climbing Area Map
Page Views: 7,738 total · 118/month
Shared By: andy patterson on Sep 28, 2014 with improvements by Michael Weaver
Admins: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

Description

Located on the opposite side of the canyon from Renaissance Crag, the greater Rattlesnake Canyon Crags (including Upper and Lower Alchemist) offer varied climbing, great views, and adventure. The style of climbing ranges from 5.7 slab-fests, to 5.12+ test-pieces, with a growing selection of 5.9 and 5.10 moderates. The whole Rattlesnake Canyon area is a bit of a maze, and the rock outcroppings seem to come out of nowhere, creating hidden crags and cliff-bands. As you come up the canyon, Renaissance Crag is on the right hand side, and The Alchemist and Upper Alchemist are on the left. NOTE: Renaissance Crag is its own area, but I included general descriptions of all areas in the vicinity—just to get climbers oriented.

Here's a quick primer:

— Renaissance Crag is the first established spot you come to, and has some area classics like Sword in the Stone (5.10a) and Trebuchet (5.13a). Expect shade, a handful of quality routes, hard (and sometimes sharp) rock, and zero crowds.

— On the opposite side of the canyon from Renaissance Crag, you can enjoy a hidden yet massive jumble of rock faces and blocks. A group of us call the lower section of the jumble The Lower Alchemist, and the upper headwall (home to Fun in the Sun, 5.7) The Upper Alchemist. I really don't know what folks called these cliffs in the past, and all my asking around came up dry. Whether you call the area "Rattlesnake Crags" or "The Alchemist" doesn't matter to me. Anyhoo, this area greets the climber with some fantastic introductory sport routes, harder clip-ups like Goldline (5.12a), multi-pitch odysseys, and a growing number of sport and crack lines, one of which is the superb finger-to-hand crack, The Prestige (5.9).

NOTE: I'm not the first person to try developing this area. I've found old anchors, rusty bolts, and sundry evidence of past climbing shenanigans. I'm just another enthusiast picking up where someone else left off. If I named and graded a route that you know someone else did first, I apologize.

Getting There

FOR RENAISSANCE CRAG: park at Rattlesnake Canyon Trailhead, hike up the trail about 25-30 minutes (~1.25 miles, 600 feet of elevation gain). After the second big stream crossing, walk about fifty feet and look up the hill to your right. The steep overhang with a couple of fixed draws? That's Renaissance Crag.

FOR THE ALCHEMIST AND UPPER ALCHEMIST: same as for Renaissance Crag, but fifty feet before you get to the stream, look up to your left. There should be a rock cairn marking a dry stream drainage. Follow a climber's trail up the first sport routes.

7 Total Climbs

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Classic Climbing Routes at Rattlesnake Canyon Crags (including Upper and Lower Alchemist)

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes in this area.
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