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The Ladder

5.6, Trad, 95 ft,  Avg: 2 from 31 votes
FA: Rickert (1954)
California > Central Coast > Santa Barbara > Gibraltar Area > Gibraltar Rock


Not exactly the most flattering name; nonetheless, a good route. The Ladder follows the obvious system of cracks on the right-hand side of the main Gibralter formation.

Step up onto the face, 5 feet right of an obvious crack. Climb up a few moves before traversing left to join the crack. Follow the crack until reaching an alcove and a large overhang. Traverse right or left around the roof using a decent ledge for your feet (5.4) OR pull directly up the right side of the overhang using insecure jams in the off-width crack (5.6/5.7). Either way, follow the crack to the top.


Medium to large gear (1/2" to 4").

Gear anchor--although some climbers use the bolts atop Mid-Face and clip a piece of gear in the crack as a directional.

Comments [Hide ALL Comments]

Brett Brotherton
Arvada, CO
[Hide Comment] Haven't done this on lead have done it on top rope so maybe thats the difference but I find the roof to have a perfect fist jam which gets you to good face holds. Aug 16, 2008
Isaac T.
Oceanside, CA
[Hide Comment] I would seriously recommend that you TR this climb. All the placements I got (a #3 Camalot down low,a #2 Camalot in the horizontal, and a .25 in a small pod near the top) sand profusely poured from when I tested the placements (just a bit sketchy in my book don't know about yours) not to mention there are 2 or 3 large blocks (one as big as small refrigerator) that look like they might come off sooner than latter. Also knocked some loose rock on my belayer from breaking holds, exercise caution & wearing a helmet might not be a bad idea. I am this close to giving this route a bomb if it weren't for the view from the climb. Mar 29, 2009
Brett Brotherton
Arvada, CO
[Hide Comment] I didn't think the gear was that bad, you can get a couple pieces in the crack on the lower half then a bomber 3" piece in the roof crack, then after that it is pretty run out I think I put a piece about 10-15 feet above the roof and ran it out to the top from there, after the roof it can't be more than 5.3.

I don't remember seeing any death blocks either and on that route I think the rock is quite solid. One thing to be careful of is not climbing too soon after rain as the rock will be weaker. May 3, 2009
Nick Sullens
[Hide Comment] I thought it was a a pretty well protected lead, there are a decent amount of possible placements, just use good judgement about where you place Jul 17, 2009
[Hide Comment] I think this route has gotten harder over the years. I remember routinely free soloing it in the 70's, and even jumping down unroped from one stance to another that was five or six feet lower. More recently I took my daughter there to climb it, thinking it would be easy (she had done very little climbing). I led it while she "belayed" and realized that either it was not quite the some route, or I was not (40 years and 45 more pounds later) quite the same climber! We both made it to the top, but it was much more adventurous than I had anticipated.
Mar 18, 2012
[Hide Comment] I found enough placements. Then again, I don't have a lot of practice leading, so they may have been inspired by desperation... Jan 21, 2013
Oak Park, CA
[Hide Comment] sit start from beneath to pull up and over the starting roof goes at about 5.9+ Jul 4, 2016