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Routes in The Chocolate Block (aka Rocky Top)

After Eights S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Amazon Woman S 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Chocolate Mice S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Chocolate Monkey S 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b
Chocolate Pocket S 5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a
Dark Chocolate S 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a
Drop Out S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Orange Chocolate S,TR 5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b
Peanut Butter & Chocolate S 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c
Type: Sport, 145 ft
FA: Jeff Mahoney, Chris Wing, Alex Lau & Bill Flaherty
Page Views: 2,543 total, 89/month
Shared By: Jeff Mahoney on Aug 3, 2015
Admins: Aron Quiter, Euan Cameron, AWinters, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes

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24 Opinions

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Description

Variety is the spice of life. (Or maybe chocolate is the spice of variety?) Not to get all hype-y, but this route is pretty damned fun—complete with a 40’ chimney to big stems, a bomb bay squeeze, thin face section to a bulge crux a la “High Plains Drifter” and then finishes on those crazy fun plates we all know and love. It’s a long route with excellent position and exposure combining for a nice mental and physical workout at the grade. [Note: the rock around the 8th & 9th bolts at the bulge area is still a bit crumbly, but should clean up---and the key holds should stay put---so that will add a bit to the head game, but pulling through feels quite excellent. Oh, and yes, the bolts are 4-inchers and they're sunk in the good rock underneath the patina.]

This route was put up at the end of July during a heatwave with monsoonal moisture. I only mention that to say that if you’re itching to climb in the Hills during the “off” season, this route starts in a perennially cool and dark corridor chimney (and the entire northeast-facing wall goes into the shade around 2:30 in high summer). Not many people seem to venture south of the Portal Road, but if you’re getting tired of the Shark Fin hero shots and the Tall Wall selfies, get over to the Gunga Din area—and the Chocolate Block especially.

(Urban Dictionary defines “chocolate pocket” two ways. Take your pick.)

Location

The climber's-right side chimney (left of "Peanut Butter & Chocolate" as you enter the corridor) with the 3 bolts leading to the obvious triangle squeeze to escape. ["Drop Out" is the chimney route climber's-left around the corner with the exit getting around the chockstone.]

Descent
1/2" Fixe ring anchor and 3/8" hanger w/links.

40' rappel off the back (south) of the block, then work your way right (west) down and then through the cool tunnel/cave system which spits you out on the slabs above the parking area. Walk off with one 3rd class downclimb. You can also rap an additional 25' down and east and then walk through the cave system on that side. It's about the same amount of time either way. (With two ropes you could rap down and into the chimney, but then you'll spend another hour or more retrieving your fully stuck rope.)

Protection

12 quickdraws
Jason Schliekelman
Woodland Hills Ca
 
Jason Schliekelman   Woodland Hills Ca
 
probably the highlight route of my weekend. such a diverse climb for A Hills. Above the squeeze is cleaning up well. the crux move for me was getting onto the good foot for the 3rd(?) bolt might have been the 4th bolt. either way super fun route. totally agree with the rating Dec 13, 2016
Russ Walling
www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Russ Walling   www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Good long route with a bit of everything. Nice add to the area. Nov 14, 2016
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
 
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
 
Good and varied climbing. The chimney start was fun stuff and the squeeze chalkstone slightly slick... all to adding in the fun. Camo bolts WAY better and much appreciated. Buzzed over late in the day specifically to do the route. Good stuff and felt the rating was spot on. A little crumbly but not overly offensive, agreed this is a route that will clean up well over time. Nov 12, 2016
Miles Weaver
Mammoth Lakes, CA
 
Miles Weaver   Mammoth Lakes, CA
 
Hell of a climb. Thanks for putting this up. The choss wasn't that bad if you are calculated with your hold choice. I agree that it will clean up nicely. I'll definitely climb it again. Nov 1, 2016
BAd
  5.9+
BAd  
  5.9+
Oy, the "pocket" was tough for a 6'4" dude. Enjoyed the route and scored a bail draw, too!

BAd Oct 7, 2016
Derek Sanders
  5.9+
Derek Sanders  
  5.9+
As mentioned in earlier comments, parts of the route are a little chossy, but are cleaning up quite well. Scary part is not being able to communicate with belayer if there is a good amount of wind. I didn't personally find any part of the climb to be extremely dangerous, but a helmet is always smart when climbing in a chimney. Part of the upper face gets really thin and you'll have to really reach for the small crimps. Wonderful climb! Jun 20, 2016
bmdhacks  
 
Hate to be that-guy but I found this route a bit on the dangerous side. The third bolt requires a gymnastic move with nasty fall potential in the chimney, and the gap between the fourth and fifth bolt is extremely chossy and has strong injury potential as a fall would impact the triangular squeeze. I pulled off a hand-size piece pulling the bulge and my petite partner blew two footholds on the face below. I would be surprised if nobody is injured before this cleans up. Apr 27, 2016
Moser  
Sorry boys... you gotta be a real man to wear a Banana Hammock! 5.11a Apr 10, 2016
Dave Daly
Kernville, CA
Dave Daly   Kernville, CA
I know the route author for that route over at The Tall Wall. I'll have a chat with them this coming A-Hill Weekend. Mar 31, 2016
Russ Walling
www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Russ Walling   www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Good job on the Camo! Worth at least a letter grade ;) Mar 10, 2016
Jeff Mahoney
Santa Barbara, CA
 
Jeff Mahoney   Santa Barbara, CA
 
Well, you asked for it. Good luck finding the bolts now. I'm raising the grade too, dammit...

(Contrast adjusted for visibility's sake. If I hadn't tweaked the pic, you'd just be looking at some monzogranite.)

Mar 9, 2016
Joe Garibay
Ventura, Ca
  5.9+
Joe Garibay   Ventura, Ca
  5.9+
We haven't met before that I know of. Starting to go after some climbs up in SB. I'm sure we'll meet at some point. Thanks for the work. Feb 20, 2016
Jeff Mahoney
Santa Barbara, CA
 
Jeff Mahoney   Santa Barbara, CA
 
Thanks, Joe. Great to hear that from an unsolicited source. (We haven't met, right? I want to be clear this isn't a shill job ;-)

Not sure when you'll be up there again, Russ & Susan, but I'm sure the glare will be reduced enough so that you'll be able to enjoy the route without long-term corneal damage. (I'll even let the air out of the tires of that kid---I know where he lives now, or at least I will if he doesn't mess up the escrow closing...) Feb 18, 2016
Joe Garibay
Ventura, Ca
  5.9+
Joe Garibay   Ventura, Ca
  5.9+
I plan on climbing this route over and over. Absolutely love it! Twice climbed and I've brought up 3 behind me. Feb 16, 2016
Russ Walling
www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Russ Walling   www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Due to some typical miscommunication, the bolts weren't camo'd beforehand, but should be sufficiently hidden in a few weeks. And no, the route left of Tall Wall wasn't me; it was that kid who stole your shovel...

hahahaha! That Bastard!!!!

It was the only route over there we didn't do. The hangers were too bright. ;)
edit: we did not try the "unknown" one on the left side of the canyon either. Feb 15, 2016
Jeff Mahoney
Santa Barbara, CA
 
Jeff Mahoney   Santa Barbara, CA
 
Due to some typical miscommunication, the bolts weren't camo'd beforehand, but should be sufficiently hidden in a few weeks. And no, the route left of Tall Wall wasn't me; it was that kid who stole your shovel...

But seriously, did you not enjoy the route? Feb 15, 2016
susan peplow
Joshua Tree
 
susan peplow   Joshua Tree
 
I'm all for sighting a line then putting in the time and expense of a new line but really the uber shiny bolts are a total eyesore. BLM land or not, it's poor manners and reflects badly on the FA efforts. Feb 12, 2016
Russ Walling
www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Russ Walling   www.FishProducts.com
  5.9
Even slightly camo hangers would be a plus. Same visuals over to the left of the Tall Wall. Was that you guys too? Lots of very chrome hangers. Feb 10, 2016
Jeff Mahoney
Santa Barbara, CA
 
Jeff Mahoney   Santa Barbara, CA
 
Thanks! Stoked it's getting traffic and people are enjoying it as much as we do. Oct 16, 2015
Sean Haynes
  5.9+
Sean Haynes  
  5.9+
Great route Jeff 👍 Oct 16, 2015
Jeff Mahoney
Santa Barbara, CA
 
Jeff Mahoney   Santa Barbara, CA
 
After the chimney, stay on the bolt line. Heading into the loose corner left not only lowers the grade, but has the tendency to dislodge large plates that will rain down on your belayer. With traffic, the bulge is starting to clean up pretty well. (Still fairly crappy rock in that short section, but it will keep you focused...) Sep 29, 2015