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Holcomb Northern Parking


Original Post
alex carey · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 215

Hi,

I searched the forums but couldn't find much, is the road to the northern lot truly 4x4 or just high clearance vehicle needed?

Alex Nelson · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2018 · Points: 0

Depending on road conditions you could probably do it in just a high clearance vehicle without 4x4. I've done it in a Land Rover with 4x4 but I never turned the 4x4 on. The hardest part of getting there is finding the way. I was trying to get there using the map in the Southern California Rock Climbing guide book, and it had me driving in circles for hours and I never got to the north parking lot. The next time I went I happened to be following another car that knew the way, so I followed it and figured out the way. You have to go like you are going to the south parking lot, but then about halfway between the sharp right bend and the south parking lot you turn off to the left right before a barbed wire fence. The road heads up towards the central pinnacles, and there are multiple other roads branching off. I can't give you directions on all of the intersections up there because it's been a while since I've been there, but just keep going uphill and trending right. You can see the pinnacles in some sections and can head towards the rock. Eventually you get right to the base of the main formation of the central pinnacles, with the claim jumper wall, Doc Holliday wall, Gold wall, and Coyote crag. You can park right at the base of the formation. There isn't really an actual parking lot. As far as I know there isn't an actual north parking lot, or maybe it is out there somewhere but I never found it. But you can just pull off the dirt road next to the formation and park anywhere. Sorry I am not able to give more specific directions, but it's been a few years since I have been up there, I used to climb there a lot. Once you know how to get up there it's super nice to be able to drive to the base of the crag instead of hiking the approach. Good luck.

beantown · · Big Bear City, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 30

The above direction are not for the north parking lot, they are to park west of claim jumper.  To get to the north parking lot, take van dusen canyon road then take a right onto 3n16 heading east.  Take a left onto 3n32.  Follow this for a bit and take a left at a large carin (carin might be there).  This road will take you to the northern parking lot.  High clearance needed, no 4x4 needed.  The road is rocky and rough on a few spots.

alex carey · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 215

I think you are describing a different spot. I've seen Jeeps up near those crags, there is another "lot" on the opposite side of motherlode. It takes a completely different road. if exiting holcomb campground and going to south lot one turns right, if going to the north lot one turns left. 

alex carey · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 215

Thank you Beantown!

Joe Frazer · · San Diego, CA · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 16

Both directions described above will lead to the north parking lot, which is considered to be the northeast side of Motherlode. If you take the trail described by Alex Nelson you can stop west of claim jumper as beantown noted, but if you keep driving, the terrain is 4x4 (slow crawl over big boulders) for maybe a quarter mile to reach the north lot. Or like beantown also said you can take the long way around and avoid any necessary 4x4. they both converge behind Motherlode, and the "lot" extends to the base of Incinerator pretty much. you can also access the north pinnacles this way.

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 11,002

What Beantown said, they are good directions the other way described by Alex Nelson (was it me you followed? I had a silver LR3) will get you to the northern lot but the last section is definitely 4x4, spotter, high clearance. NOTE: From the cairn, in particular, the road is best done with a high clearance vehicle - which really means 4x4. I did it in an Outback in the mid 90's but it wasn't fun.

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 11,002

Coordinates for Beantown's description:

Left onto 3N32: 34.299423° -116.871618°
Left at Cairn: 34.314183° -116.873889°
Parking: 34.309716 -116.878561°

Attentive Follower · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

I've never done it but I know a few who have, and they all say it's not worth the hassle.

Joe Frazer · · San Diego, CA · Joined Sep 2018 · Points: 16
Sloppy Second wrote: I've never done it but I know a few who have, and they all say it's not worth the hassle.

I completely disagree, but in hindsight... yeah it's a hassle, so stick to the South parking lot everybody.

beantown · · Big Bear City, CA · Joined Nov 2014 · Points: 30

If your climbing the north pinnacles it’s worth it to take the way I described and you don’t have to go through the worst of the road I believe parking for north pinnacles is just before the parking lot.  Also it’s a good place to camp and less crowded than the south parking lot And NO CAMPFIRES 

alex carey · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 215

Thanks for the info everyone. Got high clearance but no 4x4, perhaps ill give the long way a shot. 

Attentive Follower · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0

Curious, what type of terrain requires 4x4 and high clearance, vs. just high clearance? Is the route soft or muddy?

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 11,002
Sloppy Second wrote: Curious, what type of terrain requires 4x4 and high clearance, vs. just high clearance? Is the route soft or muddy?

Traction - so yes when it's muddy, or big water pools, or I often go in winter so 4x4 is necessary I think.

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 11,002
Sloppy Second wrote: I've never done it but I know a few who have, and they all say it's not worth the hassle.

Outside of Holcomb I can think of a few crags here which are a "hassle" to get to. Maybe that's why I'm usually the only person climbing there! Works for me.

Attentive Follower · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Oct 2018 · Points: 0
Chris Owen wrote:

Outside of Holcomb I can think of a few crags here which are a "hassle" to get to. Maybe that's why I'm usually the only person climbing there! Works for me.

My point is that the north parking isn't that far from the south parking and it's easier to just walk, especially if you are there just for the day. 

But if you are camping it would be better as there are more and better options if you can get to the north parking. Unless one of the jeep clubs has taken over...

alex carey · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 215

I ended up scouting it out in my buddys econoline which barelyyyyy made it between the boulders at the northern lot, if his vehicle was any longer or wider we probably would have stopped right before the lot. 4x4 not necessary with a good head, 7-8+ inches of clearance seems necessary unless you want to build a ton of rock ramps or constantly scrape. Height is also an issue, a bit taller than his van and you'll be hitting large branches.

I ended up going to the base of claim jumper wall instead, the road to there was nearly as bad as the northern lot, but there was much less of it.

Shout out to a random guy(Kevin from san diego) we met in the campground looking for partners that day, he made life a lot easier on us, glad we he got to get some routed in with us. 

J P · · San Diego, CA · Joined Sep 2017 · Points: 0

A couple weeks ago I saw a few cars parked on the west side of the crags, just southwest of Pistol Whipped Wall.  Is this a continuation from the northern parking area? Or is there a road that runs up the west side from 3N07?

EDIT: Alex Nelson is describing the road I'm thinking of.  Anyone have a recent condition report? 

alex carey · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Dec 2012 · Points: 215

We parked just below claim jumper this past weekend(made it in a lifted ford transit van), it seems like we took 3N07A to get there. When we got close and could see the crag there was a split in the road. Right(west) took us to claim jumper. Going straight(north) looked like it would connect to the northern lot. However, I believe the road becomes very narrow and impassable except to real off roaders and maybe even just dirt bikes.

Looking at the map clearly there is a road with a hairpin turn right at pistol whipped but i'm unsure which side has better access to it, my hunch is that its the northern parking lot side that gives access. 

Chris Owen · · Big Bear Lake · Joined Jan 2002 · Points: 11,002
alex carey wrote: We parked just below claim jumper this past weekend(made it in a lifted ford transit van), it seems like we took 3N07A to get there. When we got close and could see the crag there was a split in the road. Right(west) took us to claim jumper. Going straight(north) looked like it would connect to the northern lot. However, I believe the road becomes very narrow and impassable except to real off roaders and maybe even just dirt bikes.

Looking at the map clearly there is a road with a hairpin turn right at pistol whipped but i'm unsure which side has better access to it, my hunch is that its the northern parking lot side that gives access. 

Alex correct - the road is doable in a 4x4 from the split. The road isn't marked on the forest service map, but it does connect to the North Parking Area. BTW I tend to park in the open area (34.307493, -116.880702) before getting to the end of that road (by the fallen tree with the notch in it) as it's nice not to have to look at cars when you're climbing - give the wilderness feel it used to have. 

Justin S · · Plattsburgh, NY · Joined Feb 2014 · Points: 120

There is zero wilderness feel to Holcomb any more. There’s jeeps and cars parked along the entire area and more people than you’d see at your gym now days. The south lot was so full cars were parked along the trail. There had to be 5-6 cars at Wilbur’s tombstone area as well. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Southern California
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