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Diamondback Area

California > Sierra Eastside > Bishop Area > Owens River Gorge > Lower Gorge
Access Issue: Bridges Out! IMPORTANT LADWP NEGOTIATIONS!! High water release May 13, 2019!!! Details


The Diamondback area and it's neighboring zone downstream -the Big Tower area- are two of the easiest crags to access in the entire Gorge. Ample parking and a casual twenty minute walk down the Middle Gorge Power Plant Road -with a constantly changing view- leads to cliffs hardly 5 minutes from the pavement. The ease of this graded roadway attracts hikers, fishermen and geologists, as well as climbers.

Climbs are often tall here, so bring a 70 meter rope and 16 draws or so - including some long runners. Knotting rope ends is smart, as is always watching the rope-end on lower-outs.

Diamondback area is center to left. 

NOTE: The plank bridges that previously gave access to these areas have been removed. See approach info below.

Stand-out long, moderate climbs include "Chewey the Beaver" (5.8+, 14 bolts) and "Finked" (5.7, 10 bolts). Also, "Phylanthropy" (5.7, 7 bolts) is another enjoyable moderate, just to the left and up some steps. All routes have fixed hooks, but please use your own quick-draws if you are doing an extended top-rope session with a group.

Skip Vasquez on the first ascent of "Phylanthropy"

Getting There

Access Update: Once you reach the bottom of the grade (Big Tower is the first big obvious formation) continue through a narrowing and a curve in the road. Just past the cliffs (Grey Wall) on the other side is a trail that leads over a berm of dirt. There is a natural log crossing located here.

Follow trail and scramble to the base of Diamond Face. For the Diamondback area, scramble over some larger blocks and up to gain the talus cut & follow the trail over a slope.

Routes from Left to Right

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Approach view and info from natural crossing  just above Grey Wall
[Hide Photo] Approach view and info from natural crossing just above Grey Wall
Route lines and overview for the Diamondback area.
[Hide Photo] Route lines and overview for the Diamondback area.

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[Hide Comment] Note the wood bridge to the base of Diamondback got destroyed over the winter- you can still easily access this area by wading the low-river crossing at Diamond Face or...
The EASIEST crossing is the log just upstream of Grey Wall- but high water releases for spring may remove it. You can also rock hop upstream of the area where the culvert is but there is a bit of traversing to get to the area. DO NOT attempt this crossing if the water is high and flowing.

An alternate crossing exists at Blocky Top upstream via the log jam. Walk downstream to the Diamondback Area. Oct 29, 2018