Type: Trad, Sport, 220 ft, 2 pitches, Grade II
FA: Jenny Blyth, Tricia Santos
Page Views: 10,253 total · 66/month
Shared By: Graham Roff on Apr 8, 2006
Admins: Marc Kajut, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

You & This Route

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Access Issue: Current San Diego County Advisories Details


This fun route goes up the crack and flake system through the obvious chimney on the far left side of the mountain.
Scramble up to the first set of anchors, then head straight up through the chimney, over a small roof and past some bolts to the first belay. The second pitch continues up a well bolted face, over another roof and finishes under the large overhang.
Fun moves on the first pitch through the notch make this a definite classic for the grade.


From the base of El Cajon, head all the way over the left side. The chimney on the first pitch is easy to see. The first pitch starts from a grassy ledge about 20 feet up from the bottom (3rd class).


P1 - climb past two bolts to right side of a big low angle flake. Gear (cams .5"-2.5") protects the next section up to over the roof. Three more bolts until the anchor.
P2 - Lots of bolts protect this face. Small gear can be used before pulling over the final roof (.75"-1.25").

Rap down from the top (two rappels).
Just a warning....my 60m rope didn't make it completely to the bottom belay ledge. I had to get off rappel and scramble down 10-15 feet or so.

Other than that this was an awesome first multipitch climb for me. Jun 4, 2007
Fun beginners climb, does require some pro going through the chimny. The first pitch is probably 33 meters, and the last one is ~25, so I think it is feasible to climb both pitches on a lead, then do two raps down. Like the other climber mentioned, you end up scrambling a few feet at the bottom w/ a 60M rope. Dec 18, 2010
Durham, NC
russellHOBART   Durham, NC
One two-rope rappel with 60 meter ropes. Clean rope pull. Dec 30, 2011
Encinitas, CA
RockyR   Encinitas, CA
I think I did this about 8 months ago. It was a fun lead. A couple bolts a the start of the 1st pitch. The chimney area was a fun section to place gears. Fun route! May 25, 2012
San Diego, Ca
jeffblankman   San Diego, Ca

If you are not thoughtful about placements, you may experience heinous rope drag, as I did. In fact, the biner on my last piece of pro under the arch got wedged into the crack with the rope: made it to the first bolt after the chimney, but could not go on. Ended up setting a belay at the top of the chimney, but had to do an improv rap down to the arch again to get the rope unstuck.

I see two options for mitigating the rope drag (the crack under the arch as it turns the corner up into the chimney is almost exactly rope-sized)

1) After setting the last piece under the arch, lengthen it with a 48in alpine draw and bring the rope OVER the corner of the arch. Then, set your next piece in crack on the left side of the chimney with a 24in alpine draw. This is what I ended up doing to belay my 2nd. It worked well.

2) After the arch, place a piece of pro (will have to be a BD #3 cam, I think--or similar size--or a large hex) in the small crack/left facing corner that leads up to the chimney. Place this piece BELOW the level of the arch, so that when you pull it prevents the rope from being dragged up into the arch's corner crack. Oct 26, 2012
Encinitas, CA
RockyR   Encinitas, CA
Sorry, for the erratic movement of the camera.

Video of the 1st pitch.


Video of the 2nd pitch.

vimeo.com/54567949 Nov 29, 2012
Jason Kim
Encinitas, CA
Jason Kim   Encinitas, CA
My first multi-pitch. It's really a perfect intro to this sort of thing. Easy, low-angle start, a few thoughtful moves as you enter and exit the chimney on good gear. The second pitch feels easier than the first.

The first time I climbed this, we rapped on 2 ropes and they got twisted on the pull, became stuck, and I had to ascend to clear things up. It was a gumby cluster, if there ever was one. I would have rapped off the end of my rope, but a backup knot appeared in my hand. A learning experience, for sure.

I have since climbed the variation that traverses in from below the roof, and it is great fun. There is a bit of loose rock, but there are some decent rest stances and it isn't quite as sustained as it appears. I had read Jeff's comment and decided to belay from a gear anchor at the base of the chimney, and then we linked the chimney through to the top of the second pitch, which worked well. This alleviates the issue of rope drag, protects the second during the traverse section, and allows for a fun opportunity to build a gear anchor in a fairly exposed spot.

Don't bother with 2 ropes for the rappel. One 60 meter rope will drop you off at a safe stance, and then it's just a few easy moves to the base. Feb 26, 2013
The anchors were lowered and a 75' final pitch has been added, same grade, same gear. Oct 16, 2013
steve H17
San Diego Ca.
steve H17   San Diego Ca.
my very first multi pitch, had a good time. great first one. Apr 23, 2014
Eric M Parks
Phoenix, AZ
Eric M Parks   Phoenix, AZ
This was my first lead climb of a multi-pitch while on self-belay. I choose this route as my first because it is a mixed route that is well protected and the rock has a ton of features. I could see bolts directly above the second set of anchors but decided to turn back there.
It was a great climb for a cool, summer solstice San Diego day. I will keep this one in mind for my first free solo; if I ever get that adventurous. Jun 23, 2014
Just a quick question for any one really. Based on bspiewak's comment, does he mean there are now three pitches total? I've been using the ACSD guide as a reference point which doesn't mention the pitch.

The reason I'm asking is because I'm taking my girlfriend up there for her first multipitch and I don't want to set off blind looking for something that doesn't exist or might be too hard for her. Though based on the comment, the addition should be in the 5.6 range, right? Is it obvious?

J May 20, 2016
Joshua Dee
San Diego, CA
Joshua Dee   San Diego, CA
Super fun, but no way the traverse variation is harder than 5.6-5.7. Feb 5, 2017
Ryan Abman
San Diego
Ryan Abman   San Diego
JMaj, I know I am almost a year late to your comment but yes, there is a '3rd pitch' above the 2nd belay station. I climbed it with my brother a while back and found it not nearly as good for the grade as the first two. If you keep following the bolt line above the second belay you will hit a section where the rock starts to flatten out and then there is a ledge on your right. Once you climb up that ledge and walk towards the grassy boulder area behind it, you should see the anchors. I think I will call it good after 2 from now on. Apr 19, 2017