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Trad multi-pitch area suggestions in California (5.5-5.9)


Original Post
Niccolo Gallio · · mainly Italy · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0

Hi all,
This is my first post here!
43yo that started climbing in january.
The friend that introduced me only likes single pitches and I’m more interested in day-long adventures on multi pitch routes, preferably where I put most or all the protection.
I’m from Italy but very frequently travel abroad for work.
In november I might need to go to california and I’m looking for suggestion on where I could find some nice and easy (5.5-5.8) multi pitch trad routes.
Not looking for specifics but mainly areas where to use the search function. My main hub will be the Palos Verdes area in LA but I plan to bring a bike and ride and camp where I’ll climb.
Of course I’ll have a friend with me with my same setup.
We could also rent a car big enough to put the two bikes in and then get near the area and then cycle around.
I understand California has so many areas where to climb (Yosemite in primis) but came here to ask about other areas that might cater to our needs while maybe being less known and/or crowded.
Thanks a lot

N

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 612

Hi Niccolo, take a look at Red Rocks, Nevada. It would require you to rent a car to drive there but there are some nice long sunny routes at easy grades there. Take a look at, as examples, 

Solar Slab Gulley to Solar Slab

Birdland

Cat in the hat

Edited to say that while Joshua Tree is known more for shorter routes, there are some nice multipitch routes in the grade, eg Dappled Mare.

November might be too cold for Tahquitz, but maybe not. 

Niccolo Gallio · · mainly Italy · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0
phylp wrote: Hi Niccolo, take a look at Red Rocks, Nevada. It would require you to rent a car to drive there but there are some nice long sunny routes at easy grades there. Take a look at, as examples, 

Solar Slab Gulley to Solar Slab

Birdland

Cat in the hat

Edited to say that while Joshua Tree is known more for shorter routes, there are some nice multipitch routes in the grade, eg Dappled Mare.

November might be too cold for Tahquitz, but maybe not. 

Thanks for the kind reply,

In my mind Red Rocks is famous for wide cracks where large SLCD are needed.. I go only up to BD size 3, will it be enough?
phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 612

Anche, Niccolo, domani e una grande festa, Il Giorno di Lavoro, negli Estati Uniti. Quasi tutti degli scalatori sono a vacanza alle montagne questa fine-settimana. Forse, Lei ascoltera piu risposte a martedi. Sono retirata, cosi, io scalo durante la settimana.

Your English is much better than my Italian!

phylp · · Upland · Joined May 2015 · Points: 612

Many routes you do not need bigger than 3 but if I am around, I can lend you 4s and 5. 

Niccolo Gallio · · mainly Italy · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0
phylp wrote: Many routes you do not need bigger than 3 but if I am around, I can lend you 4s and 5. 

Grazie per la generosa offerta! 

La contatterò se andro in Nevada a Novembre.

Thanks for the kind offer, I'll contact you if I get to Nevada in November.

Happy climbing to you (during less busy week days) and to everyone else in this festivity!
I have no rush for infos, still quite a bit of time before I get there..
Dave Sarazin · · Reno, NV · Joined Jun 2017 · Points: 0

I’d look at School Rock at Donner Summit. Several 5.5-5.7  multipitches. Sandy lunchables, kindergarten crack, and junior high are all FANTASTIC first multi pitch trad leads that have extremely short approaches and very easy walk offs on the PCT. You won’t need anything bigger than a BD 3, as well. Enjoy!

L Kap · · Boulder, CO · Joined Apr 2014 · Points: 81
Dave Sarazin wrote: I’d look at School Rock at Donner Summit. Several 5.5-5.7  multipitches. Sandy lunchables, kindergarten crack, and junior high are all FANTASTIC first multi pitch trad leads that have extremely short approaches and very easy walk offs on the PCT. You won’t need anything bigger than a BD 3, as well. Enjoy!

Anything in the Lake Tahoe area will be iffy in November. It will be cold and may be snowed in at that time of year. This includes Donner Summit, Lover's Leap, Phantom Spires, and often Sugarloaf. Yosemite Valley is also hit or miss in November and Tuolumne Meadows is usually impassable due to snow. All of these are also a long drive from LA.

Nicollo, try posting your question in the Southern California forum. That may help it get seen by the people who climb near LA. 

Paul Bakker · · Los Gatos, CA · Joined May 2017 · Points: 0
Lover's Leap is by far my favorite, with a lot of excellent climbing in the 5.7-5-9 range. Most of the climbs are 3 pitches on (for the grade) steep terrain and an easy walk off. November is getting pretty cold though.
FrankPS · · Atascadero, CA · Joined Nov 2009 · Points: 275

In November, Joshua Tree and Red Rock (think, "desert") will be your best bets. Much of the multipitch climbing in California is in mountainous terrain that is cold in November. Joshua Tree, although mostly single-pitch trad, would be relatively close to Palos Verdes (2-1/2 hours) and a lot of fun.

 If you were lucky with the weather, you might be able to climb in Tahquitz, but that is unlikely. Tahquitz has great multipitch climbing in the lower/moderate grades.

Niccolo Gallio · · mainly Italy · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0

thanks everybody for the kind suggestions!
I'm pretty inclined towards Red Rocks

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 167

Don't rule out Tahquitz just because it is late fall.  November can be iffy, since the crag is at elevation and it can get cold and snowy/icy, but if we have a warm and dry fall, it has great multi-pitch trad climbing about 4 hours from PV.  There are plenty of great climbs in the 5.5 to 5.8 range, and there is a lot of history associated with the area.  If you only want to get out for a day, or want to pair a day there with a day in Joshua Tree for a weekend, it should be on the list.  If it is dry but cold, you can also try Suicide, which is directly across the small valley with sunnier exposure, so it should be warmer and less likely to have ice or snow from early storms.

Niccolo Gallio · · mainly Italy · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0
Matt Himmelstein wrote: Don't rule out Tahquitz just because it is late fall.  November can be iffy, since the crag is at elevation and it can get cold and snowy/icy, but if we have a warm and dry fall, it has great multi-pitch trad climbing about 4 hours from PV.  There are plenty of great climbs in the 5.5 to 5.8 range, and there is a lot of history associated with the area.  If you only want to get out for a day, or want to pair a day there with a day in Joshua Tree for a weekend, it should be on the list.  If it is dry but cold, you can also try Suicide, which is directly across the small valley with sunnier exposure, so it should be warmer and less likely to have ice or snow from early storms.

Thanks for the suggestion. 

It’s hard to decide.. if we rent a car in LA and load our bikes on it then Las Vegas is a sure bet to find a car drop off location.. Tahquitz, while lovely, seems quite far from “civilization” forcing a long bike trip that could be “wasted” if the weather conditions turn bad. 
Gumby King · · Los Angeles, CA · Joined Jun 2016 · Points: 25

I think in general from most main airports many climbing areas worth traveling to are too far to bike.  Also, I could be mistaken but I don't believe you are allowed to bike the main roads that will get you to the climbing areas.

In my opinion, I would just consider getting a car and checking out multiple areas.  It wouldn't hurt to try to get camping permits in advance (e.g., Joshua Tree, Tahquitz, and Yosemite)

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,540

Lol, of course the Italian thinks he can cycle around the mountains of California. Basso, Is that you?!

Scott Perry · · Santa Barbara, CA · Joined Jan 2011 · Points: 0

Shorter but more bike accessible and weather friendly options:
Black Wall in Ojai (~80 miles North) has some 2 pitch trad routes between 5.5 and 5.7.  Road is narrow but people bike it.  Camping nearby.
Cathedral Peak in Santa Barbara (~100 miles North) has a 3-pitch 5.7.  More adventure than quality.  Awesome views.  If you're biking up Gibraltar there are several single pitch spots you could hit along the way.

Niccolo Gallio · · mainly Italy · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote: Lol, of course the Italian thinks he can cycle around the mountains of California. Basso, Is that you?!

when I can't pedal anymore I just hike the bike. Everything is possible (almost) on a bike, given enough time, food and water :-)

Matt Himmelstein · · Orange, California · Joined Jun 2014 · Points: 167
Niccolo Gallio wrote:

Thanks for the suggestion. 

It’s hard to decide.. if we rent a car in LA and load our bikes on it then Las Vegas is a sure bet to find a car drop off location.. Tahquitz, while lovely, seems quite far from “civilization” forcing a long bike trip that could be “wasted” if the weather conditions turn bad. 

I don't think that you are going to find a rental drop off in Idylwild, but you can drive there, climb for the day, then either drive back to your base or head further south to San Diego and then bike back up the coast to PV (though the route take you through Camp Pendleton, and I don't know how easy it is to get on the base as a tourist).

If you want to climb in Red Rocks, that is generally at least a weekend trip, though the park loop is a ride in and of itself.  Using a bike for transportation to the crag and back to your campsite will make for some long days.

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,540
Niccolo Gallio wrote:

when I can't pedal anymore I just hike the bike. Everything is possible (almost) on a bike, given enough time, food and water :-)

That's not the problem I'm referring to, This isn't Alps, you're going to get hit by multiple cars, Americans hate cyclists.
Niccolo Gallio · · mainly Italy · Joined May 2019 · Points: 0
Tradiban wrote: That's not the problem I'm referring to, This isn't Alps, you're going to get hit by multiple cars, Americans hate cyclists.

I assume you’ve never cycled in Italy, or Australia. :-)

Tradiban · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Apr 2004 · Points: 11,540
Niccolo Gallio wrote:

I assume you’ve never cycled in Italy, or Australia. :-)

Yes, Italy. I'm telling you, it ain't the same, SoCal is brutal. 

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

Trad Climbing
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