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Moving to the Central Coast- what do I need to know?


Original Post
Andrew S · · Santa Maria, CA · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0

Hello all!

I am currently moving out to the Central Coast (Lompoc/Santa Maria) this month coming from the great white northern plains of North Dakota. I started climbing about 6 months ago, and have been obsessed since. I would consider myself a beginning-intermediate climber. I climb solid 10a/10b routes on top rope with some practice and have led up to a 5.7 in the gym. I am comfortable with cleaning, top belaying, and setting sport anchors, but have zero trad experience other than seconding a route or two when I climbed outdoors in Alabama last winter.

I am extremely excited to be moving to a state that actually has outdoor climbing options and have spent a lot of time on Mountain Project over the past few months scouting out crags and routes.

Thought I'd reach out to the forums on MP and see if anyone would like to part any wisdom on what climbers of the Central Coast should know- must-have guide books, good beginner areas/routes for sport/top rope climbing, areas to look into for weekend trips outside the Central Coast, must have skills for the area, places to avoid, etc

A little about me, I'm 28 years old, married with a newborn and will be in the Central Coast area for the next 4 years. I grew up in Colorado so wilderness backpacking and skiing are in my blood and I'm super excited to be adding climbing to my passions in life. My brother, who lives in LA, has started climbing as well so I imagine we'll be climbing a lot together although he is even newer to climbing as well. If anyone knows any good crags for top roping between SLO and LA where we can start practicing that's be much appreciated! 

Goals while I'm in CA:

  • Teach my wife, and brother who lives in LA to climb
  • Find a climbing partner/mentor to learn trad 
  • Learn to comfortably lead into the 5.10-5.11 range
  • Climb a 500'+ multi-pitch route
  • Learn to aid-climb
  • Learn to alpine climb
  • Climb Mt Whitney
  • Ski mountaineer an alpine route

Thanks for any help!

cheers,

Andrew

Guy Keesee · · Moorpark, CA · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 310

Welcome to California. 

Places to go and see....  ECHO Cliffs, Malibu, Stoney Point, Wheeler Gorge, Sespie Wall, Suicide and Taquitz, Josh and that stuff in SLO and all the stuff in the Southern Sierra and all that stuff in SantaBarbara..... that is a lifetime of climbing. 

enjoy

FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

Andrew,

I think you'll love the Central Coast.

The closest outdoor climbing to Santa Maria is in San Luis Obispo (aka: SLO) or Santa Barbara. There is also some climbing out on highway 166 and on 33.

If you want to experience some of the SLO climbing at Bishop Peak (https://www.mountainproject.com/v/bishop-peak/105737100), get in touch and I'll show you the crag and we can do a few climbs.

Frank

Jeff K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 240

Check out Panic Town in Santa Barbara. It's a great spot for tons of moderate trad lines.

Andrew S · · Santa Maria, CA · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
FrankPS wrote:

Andrew,

I think you'll love the Central Coast.

The closest outdoor climbing to Santa Maria is in San Luis Obispo (aka: SLO) or Santa Barbara. There is also some climbing out on highway 166 and on 33.

If you want to experience some of the SLO climbing at Bishop Peak (https://www.mountainproject.com/v/bishop-peak/105737100), get in touch and I'll show you the crag and we can do a few climbs.

Frank

Thanks Frank! When I get all settled into the area I'll definitely have to take you up on that!

Andrew S · · Santa Maria, CA · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
JeffMK wrote:

Check out Panic Town in Santa Barbara. It's a great spot for tons of moderate trad lines.

So Panic Town looks like an outstanding crag. Unfortunately I don't do trad yet. Are there really only 3 TR routes?

jmmlol · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Nov 2016 · Points: 0

What you should know is that it's windy, the ocean is cold, and the countryside is brown 10 months out of the year.

Mike Womack · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Mar 2014 · Points: 1,545

santa maria is known for its BBQ food.  Favorite in that general area is santa barbara bouldering (lizards mouth, brickyard). 

Andrew S · · Santa Maria, CA · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
jmmlol wrote:

What you should know is that it's windy, the ocean is cold, and the countryside is brown 10 months out of the year.

I lived in the area for about 6 months several years ago. I'm pretty sure I have a good idea what the climate is like and I can assure you it's nowhere as windy, cold or brown as North Dakota.

Jeff K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 240
Andrew S wrote:

So Panic Town looks like an outstanding crag. Unfortunately I don't do trad yet. Are there really only 3 TR routes?

I'm not sure about the quantity of TR Routes, I think there is a way to scramble to the top of some of the walls which would open some up. The TR routes listed are probably ones that you can do next to a trad line off the same anchor. You should also ask around about Invisible Wall for sport climbing and some TR routes. San Ysidro is always great and shady, although there might be some mosquitos.

Andrew S · · Santa Maria, CA · Joined Jan 2017 · Points: 0
JeffMK wrote:

I'm not sure about the quantity of TR Routes, I think there is a way to scramble to the top of some of the walls which would open some up. The TR routes listed are probably ones that you can do next to a trad line off the same anchor. You should also ask around about Invisible Wall for sport climbing and some TR routes. San Ysidro is always great and shady, although there might be some mosquitos.

Good to know! I'll be sure to look into Invisible Wall. I appreciate the beta. 

Jeff K · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2011 · Points: 240
Andrew S wrote:

Good to know! I'll be sure to look into Invisible Wall. I appreciate the beta. 

Also, a good guidebook to have, although much has been added since it was published is this one: Rock Climbing Santa Barbara & Ventura

Samaki Kubwa · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Feb 2016 · Points: 0

Bishop's Peak is about 50-60 minutes from Santa Maria and has more than enough top rope and lead routes. Some of the sporty routes at bishop's are really trad, so don't expect bolts every six feet. Also SLO-OP is a great gym in SLO and has a partner gym in Santa Maria (The Pad?).  I think they are moving from a co-op model to a more traditional business plan, but they have a cool ethos and are open 24/7. 

Black Wall near Ojai is about 2 hours from Santa Maria, but a great place to get your feet wet (possibly literally) in multi-pitch. Of course the Valley is actually possible to do weekend length trips to from Santa Maria. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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