Type: Trad, 4 pitches
FA: Jonathan Richards, Douglas Martin 1988
Page Views: 31,206 total · 191/month
Shared By: Floyd Hayes on Feb 20, 2011 · Updates
Admins: andy patterson, Aron Quiter, Bruce Hildenbrand, Mike Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer Ski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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Description Suggest change

UPDATED ON 10-26-22: This route is a great introduction to multipitch climbing. The rock is surprisingly solid (for the Pinnacles) and the climb is relatively well protected for a 4-pitch 5.4 (original rating) climb, although there are several long runouts on very easy terrain (5.0 or easier). It is usually in the shade (not always during summer), which makes it a relatively cool climb on a hot day and a chilly climb on a cold day. Be careful not to dislodge small rocks on the ledges, which could bounce down the route. Some bolts are very closely spaced (especially pitch 2).

Note from Admin Bruce Hildenbrand: a large number of climbs at the Pinnacles National Park do not fit into the "sport" or "trad" designations that are commonly used to describe the most commonly accepted types of climbing. Many routes are almost exclusively protected by bolts, but the bolts are not closely spaced as is expected by climbers when a climb is described as a "sport" route. While Costanoan is protected almost exclusively by bolts because those bolts can be widely spaced on at least three of the four pitches this route cannot be classified by the commonly used term as a "sport climb." This is why the route has been given the designation as a "trad" climb.

Pitch 1: 5.4 (crux at start), 120' (or 135' to start of pitch 2), 7 bolts. The first few moves will probably feel harder than 5.4 (5.5 in my opinion). After clipping the first bolt, aim up and left to the arete to find the second bolt; it's runout but very easy, like 5.0, and you can sling knobs if you feel uncomfortable. Attach a long runner to bolt 2 or you'll feel rope drag higher up. Afterward the bolts are closely spaced. Belay at bolts at the edge of a huge ledge if you wish to watch your partner climb, or at another set of bolts 15' from the edge of the ledge, at the start of pitch 2.

Pitch 2: 5.3, 95' (or 80' from start of pitch 2), 6 bolts. Follow four closely spaced bolts up a groove and then traverse up and left past two more bolts, across the arete, to a bolted anchor with a small hanging belay stance on the face. Pitches 2 and 3 can be linked, skipping the uncomfortable hanging belay.

Pitch 3: 5.3, 85', 3 bolts. Climb up and then left toward the first bolt, which is a few feet to the left of a big hole, then up past two more bolts to a bolted anchor on a large ledge.

Pitch 4: 5.2, 90', 4 bolts. Climb up past a bolt and then surprisingly far to the left to bolt 2, then up past two more bolts to a bolted anchor on a large ledge just below the summit. From the anchor, scramble 10' up a class 4 bulge to the summit; to be safe you can tie off about 20' of rope to the anchor.

The quickest and safest descent is rappelling the route, but if climbers are beneath you be very careful throwing down the rope and try not to knock small rocks off the ledges. A 70 m rope will get you down in four rappels. A 60 m rope will leave you stranded 15' above the ground at the first bolt of pitch 1 (which somebody should place a quick link on for a fifth rappel). Two ropes will get you down in three rappels (pitch 4, pitches 2-3, and pitch 1).

Location Suggest change

The approach is 0.9 miles, takes about 35 minutes, and the trail is a bit tricky to follow and a bit steep in some places--when in doubt, look for sign posts. When you reach the shaded base of the Citadel keep going left uphill until you reach the foot of the northeast buttress, where there is a small clearing in the chaparral. You may come across the bolts above a cave for Power Tools (5.10) first, make sure to continue left to find the start of Costanoan.

Coordinates of the start: 36°29'34.80"N 121°11'58.51"W.

Protection Suggest change

Quick draws for up to seven bolts per pitch. There are rap rings at each belay anchor.