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Pinnacles Next Weekend


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jasonhillva · · VA · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Heading to Monterey to see my son.  I'd like to get some climbing in and found Pinnacles.  We usually climb 5.6-5.10a/b on sport.  Would love to hit something up.  Any issues with Pinnacles?  Anyone going to be around that time that would like to hook up?

Max Rausch · · Portland, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 145

If you're used to high quality clean rock, you'll find yourself saying "WTF". Imagine cobblestones glued into volcanic mud crap. I live in Monterey and have been climbing there for years. Do I love it? No. But it's still loads of fun. There are two sides to the park- East, and West. West side has larger formations and up to 6 pitch routes. East side is better known for cleaner rock and single pitch routes. I recommend going to Discovery Wall, which can be TR'd easily, and The Monolith, which has some mega classics. Double check the weather, because Pinns' can still get outrageously hot this time of year. I would also recommend stopping by Sanctuary Rock Gym in town and asking to borrow a guide book. Unfortunately I won't be around. 

Benjamin Chapman · · Small Town, USA · Joined Jan 2007 · Points: 13,357

If you're accustomed to sport climbing then Pinnacles should be very eye-opening for you, Jason. Any issues; loose volcanic rock, widely spaced bolts, lots of tourists. Met the guidebook author (Robine) who claimed he'd fallen three times at Pinnacles and broke a bone each time. 

As another guidebook author (Tim Tuola) described it, "the rock looks like what comes out after you eat corn-on-the-cob and a Payday bar." That's Pinnacle's rock.

rafael · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 50

I dunno about easy to toprope at discovery wall...Yeah, you can def lead and subsequently toprope some climbs on disco wall, and there are even a few anchors at the top available for setting topropes, but its not what I'd call and easily topropable crag. The anchors for most of the best routes either only part way up the cliff (wet kiss, stupendous man, the verdict), and inaccessible from above, or too high for easy toproping (portent)

 Maybe monolith is easily topropable, you can get to the top via 5.6 then toprope most of the stuff. Expect crowds, as the monolith is both non-extra-chossy, as well as easy as hell to get to. Tiburcios X has an easy scramble to the top for toprope, its up by the reservoir.

Tourists are pretty concentrated only on the main trails, if you prefer seclusion to the echoing shouts of mobs of obnoxious boy scouts bellowing as they stumble through bear gulch, its actually pretty easy to dip off to a quiet, and unknown (often for good reason) choss pile.

the Pinns have a really strong trad ethic, so dont expect to find bolts next to cracks, and expect runout on "easy' terrain (relative to the rating). Speaking of cracks, disco wall does have a couple nice ones, but falling on gear isnt recommended, especially for a newcomer unfamiliar with the subtleties of judging pinnacles choss level. 

Mike Mellenthin · · San Francisco, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 70

Pinnacles -- if you like a hold, take it home with you!

But seriously people are making the place out to be worse than it is. I have fallen more times than I can count at the Pinns (and even caught a fall on a cam -- yikes!) and have yet to injure myself. There are a lot of run out routes on shit rock, there are also a lot of safe routes on good rock.

The Upper Crust is a fun crag with many well protected routes in your range that you can rig TRs on. At Discovery Wall check out Stupendous Man (10a) and Wet Kiss (5.9) and at the Monolith you can climb Subterranian Tango (10a) and set a toprope up on stuff next to it. I'd classify all these as pretty sporty sport routes.

Jesse Scarborough · · Menlo Park, CA · Joined May 2016 · Points: 26

I've heard Old Original is a fun adventurous route, going at 5.5. 

Max Rausch · · Portland, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 145
Jesse Scarborough wrote:

I've heard Old Original is a fun adventurous route, going at 5.5. 

Old Original is the Mathess Crest of Pinns! Mostly just dangerous ridge/spine walking with a couple rappels.

If you do choose to go to the west side. The Flumes formation has some fun leads ranging from 5.7-5.10. 

A Johnson · · Atascadero · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 215

Feather Canyon for a day of Adventure and 1 really unique pitch in the the canyon/chimney itself. Keep an eye out for a pigeon in the hueco you grab next... 

SkyB · · PDX, OR · Joined May 2012 · Points: 0

Costanoan at the Citadel (West side) is 5.4 I think. It gets you to the top of the Citadel and the views are fantastic. It can get crowded on a weekend if the weather is nice, be early!

jasonhillva · · VA · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0

Thanks everyone.  I think we are going to check it out.  I'm not going to fly all the way out from the east coast and miss out on some climbing in November.  We will give it a shot.  If anyone is interested in joining let me know.

jasonhillva · · VA · Joined Nov 2015 · Points: 0
Max Rausch wrote:

If you're used to high quality clean rock, you'll find yourself saying "WTF". Imagine cobblestones glued into volcanic mud crap. I live in Monterey and have been climbing there for years. Do I love it? No. But it's still loads of fun. There are two sides to the park- East, and West. West side has larger formations and up to 6 pitch routes. East side is better known for cleaner rock and single pitch routes. I recommend going to Discovery Wall, which can be TR'd easily, and The Monolith, which has some mega classics. Double check the weather, because Pinns' can still get outrageously hot this time of year. I would also recommend stopping by Sanctuary Rock Gym in town and asking to borrow a guide book. Unfortunately I won't be around. 

Any other place that may be better than Pinnacles?  Not going to be able to make the trip to Yosemite.  Will make that trip in the spring.

Max Rausch · · Portland, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 145
jasonhillva wrote:

Any other place that may be better than Pinnacles?  Not going to be able to make the trip to Yosemite.  Will make that trip in the spring.

If you're looking for nearby fun sport routes...Pinnacles is it. If you're more interested in an all around adventure day... You can drive south of Monterey into Big Sur. Beautiful coastline with lots of hiking and shitty ocean granite to scramble around on. 

djh650 · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Aug 2016 · Points: 0
Max Rausch wrote:

If you're looking for nearby fun sport routes...Pinnacles is it. If you're more interested in an all around adventure day... You can drive south of Monterey into Big Sur. Beautiful coastline with lots of hiking and shitty ocean granite to scramble around on. 

what about the rest of pinnacles besides monolith & discovery wall.

Max Rausch · · Portland, OR · Joined Jul 2014 · Points: 145
djh650 wrote:

what about the rest of pinnacles besides monolith & discovery wall.

Those tend to be the most popular with the cleanest rock. Tourist Trap is good. Upper Crust is also fun and easy to TR. 

A Johnson · · Atascadero · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 215
Max Rausch wrote:

If you're looking for nearby fun sport routes...Pinnacles is it. If you're more interested in an all around adventure day... You can drive south of Monterey into Big Sur. Beautiful coastline with lots of hiking and shitty ocean granite to scramble around on. 

FYI Access to parts of Big Sur is....inaccessible! Landslides and bridges out and all that. 

powderfinger · · san mateo · Joined Mar 2008 · Points: 840

A great introduction to the park and a fun  memorable day is to hike the High Peaks Trail and try to climb as many free standing Pinnacles as you can.  Start at  the Bear Gulch trailhead and exit at the Condor Gulch parking. You could climb  The Anvil, The Unmentionable, Photographer's delight, Piglet Pinnacle, the Cinder, Dragonfly Dome, Burgundy Dome and tons of others. All of these are below 5.10 and for the most part have decent rock quality. They also make for great photos that you can enjoy for a long time to come.

Other benefits include being able see beautiful views of both sides of the park that you cannot see if you stay down in the Gulch,  you will most likely have all of the climbs to yourself,  you might get to see some California Condors (and possibly chat with some of the Condor Crew who are an awesome bunch of folks)  walk through historic tunnels and staircases blown out by dynamite, and become familiar with the layout of the whole park.  You also will not need much gear.  Maybe a half dozen draws, and a rope.  Pack a  lunch , enjoy the scenery ,and beat the crowds in the Bear Gulch.










Carla Rosa · · San Jose, CA · Joined Mar 2016 · Points: 110
Max Rausch wrote:

Old Original is the Mathess Crest of Pinns! Mostly just dangerous ridge/spine walking with a couple rappels.

If you do choose to go to the west side. The Flumes formation has some fun leads ranging from 5.7-5.10. 

+1 for Old Original. Best views in the park.

rafael · · Berkeley, CA · Joined Jul 2009 · Points: 50
jasonhillva wrote:

Any other place that may be better than Pinnacles?  Not going to be able to make the trip to Yosemite.  Will make that trip in the spring.

theres tons of great granite in CA, but nothing great will be much closer to monterey than Yosemite. Maybe half an hour less driving time to some spots, but really might as well hit the valley. If you cant make it there then the pinns are your best bet. There are a couple crags closer to san francisco, but IMHO the pinns are better, way better.

I dont know why it gets such a bad rep, I mean, yeah, its chossy but its sooo pretty. If you are lucky you might see some bald eagles on hwy 156 right before pacheco pass, they've been sitting in some trees near a pond recently. (but if you are coming from monterey its way way faster to go to the westside, then you wont go over 156).

Mike D · · Boulder, CO · Joined Oct 2015 · Points: 834

There's so much good stuff at Pinns! The East Side tends to be more well-traveled than the West (it's a bit shorter of a drive from the south bay). I can't recall many routes that are easy to set up a toprope on without leading something first. The moderate routes on Disco Wall and Monolith are all excellent.

I've climbed there a lot over the years, and have broken a hold on only one route (Truth Or Consequences, at the Game Show Wall on the West Side)

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Northern California
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