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Santa Barbara

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* Santa Barbara Bouldering 
Cathedral Peak 
Cielo Crack Crag 
Crag Full of Dynamite 
Fire Crags 
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Green Dome 
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Hot Springs Canyon 
La Cumbre Peak 
Lower Mission Canyon / Seven Falls 
Panic Town 
Paradise Road 
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Rattlesnake Canyon Crags (including Upper and Lower Alchemist) 
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Top Bun 

Santa Barbara Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.4477, -119.68 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: EricT on Jan 31, 2006


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Sunset over the Santa Barbara Channel. Santa Cruz ...

Getting There 

Santa Barbara is a low-key town an hour north of Los Angeles. Take the 101 north and you go right through town.


Santa Barbara has a large number of short cliffs scattered about the ridgeline behind the city. The rock is dense sandstone of mixed quality and primarily bolted. Like San Luis Obispo, it's not a destination area, but good routes exist.

The rock is soft, and softer when wet, so please respect the one day of drying for each day of rain rule.

Guidebooks currently available in local stores:

  • Rock Climbing Santa Barbara & Ventura by Steve Edwards (well put together and still quite complete, covers roped routes as well as the major bouldering areas)
  • Ocean's Eleven - Bouldering around Santa Barbara by Bob Banks (brand spankin' new!)

And a guidebook not currently available in stores, but obtainable on Ebay, Amazon, etc:

  • "Climbing! Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo" by Steve Tucker and Kevin Steele. A fabulous text that pays ample homage to Santa Barbara's traditional roots. A little outdated in some areas, but a gem of adventurous and off-the-beaten-track routes nonetheless. It's out of print, so happy searching!

Here's some additional climbing related links with a local flair:

  • catalogue of climbing and assorted adventure from guidebook author Bob Banks.

  • let burly sport climber and Owl Tor afficionado Elijah Ball show you what's rad, and what's not. Topics range from climbing to freediving to weightlifting.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.9 miles from here

666 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',53],['3 Stars',258],['2 Stars',227],['1 Star',96],['Bomb',2]

Classic Climbing Routes in Santa Barbara

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Santa Barbara:
Martini Madness   V0 4     Boulder, 13'   The Lizard's Mouth : Femme Fatale Area
Lizards' Mouth Traverse   V0+ 4+     Boulder, 40'   The Lizard's Mouth : The Mouth
The Extremist   V1 5     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Extremist Boulder
Ace in the Hole   V2 5+     Boulder   The Lizard's Mouth : Meilee Area
Breathless   V2-3 5+     Boulder, 18'   The Lizard's Mouth : Meilee Area
Charlotte's Web   V3 6A     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Charlotte's Web Area
Shaken, Not Stirred   V3 6A     Boulder, 14'   The Lizard's Mouth : Femme Fatale Area
Call Me   V4 6B     Boulder, 12'   The Lizard's Mouth : Sunset Boulevard
Yeti   V4 6B     Boulder, 15'   The Brickyard : Yeti Boulder
Watch the Dog   V4-5 6B+     Boulder, 12'   The Brickyard : Soot Patrol Boulder
Smooth Criminal   V6 7A     Boulder, 12'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
Dancing Outlaw   V8 7B     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
Orangahang   5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   San Ysidro
Applied Magnetics   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c PG13     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   San Ysidro
Many Happy Returns   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   San Ysidro
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Crag Full of Dynamite
Great Race   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   San Ysidro
T-Crack   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Gibraltar Area : Gibraltar Rock
Vanishing Flakes   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   San Ysidro
The Nose   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 100'   Gibraltar Area : Gibraltar Rock
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Santa Barbara

Featured Route For Santa Barbara
Rock Climbing Photo: Sit start on good holds on the right side of the c...

Princess Coco V4 6B  California : Central Coast : ... : Sit There and Take it Like ...
Sit start on jugs in the cave, move up into the pocket, match, and throw for the top....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Santa Barbara Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking out at Santa Barbara (mainly UCSB) and the...
BETA PHOTO: Looking out at Santa Barbara (mainly UCSB) and the...
Rock Climbing Photo: On sport lead I think just past the first bolt.  D...
On sport lead I think just past the first bolt. D...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wild turkey - looking more Montecito than Santa Ba...
Wild turkey - looking more Montecito than Santa Ba...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
Rock Climbing Photo: Pelicans near Santa Barbara. Photo by Blitzo.
Pelicans near Santa Barbara. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing at the Splashzone
Climbing at the Splashzone
Rock Climbing Photo: Beautiful Santa Barbara
Beautiful Santa Barbara
Rock Climbing Photo: Coast Live Oak, following one of the recent fires ...
Coast Live Oak, following one of the recent fires ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tarantula, photographed on a climbing outing in Sk...
Tarantula, photographed on a climbing outing in Sk...
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking east from near La Cumbre Peak, above Gibra...
Looking east from near La Cumbre Peak, above Gibra...

Comments on Santa Barbara Add Comment
Show which comments
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
May 16, 2006
For single-pitch sport climbing, you've got several options in and around SB:

  • Wheeler Gorge - on the way to Sespe along Hwy 33 - a good variety from 5.8 to mid 5.11 on 3 distinct rock types. Nice when it's hot, right along creek. About an hour or so from SB.
  • Little Lebowski - a good half day's worth. Short routes. A 15 min walk, just off W Camino Cielo.
  • Fire Crags - a good half day's worth. Nice views. Short routes, short approach. Right off 154 at Painted Cave.
  • Crag Full 'o Dynamite - zero approach, about a dozen short, fun routes literally right on the road. 15 minutes drive past Upper Gibraltar.

An hour and a half to the north, San Luis Obispo has some fun climbing on entirely different rock than the Santa Barbara/Ojai/Ventura variety. The best routes are on Bishop Peak and the [currently closed] Cerro Romualdo.

Pretty much the only multipitch climbing within 3 hours of Santa Barbara is at Sespe Gorge. Ending Crack is the best of the lot. Tahquitz/Suicide offers many fantastic multipitch routes, but it's a 3.5 hr drive from SB directly through L.A. Tollhouse Rock is another option for multipitch, but again, it's a good 5-hr drive, you're almost better off going to Yosemite.
By andy patterson
From: Carpinteria, CA
Jun 19, 2007
Actually, there are a number of awesome multi-pitch routs in S.B.: Cathedral Peak (adventuresome 3 pitch 5.7), Upper Gibraltar (2 pitch 5.10b), and a number of others...
By andy patterson
From: Carpinteria, CA
Oct 29, 2008
As of Fall 2008, much of the climbing on West Camino Cielo is closed due to some sort of post-fire mulch operation instituted by the Forest Service. Lizard's Mouth is still open, but places like the Brickyard and the Playground are off-limits until (apparently) next Fall. Please respect the Forest Service's wishes and don't climb the closed areas. There's plenty of other rock in the area.
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
May 27, 2009
The Jesusita Fire, which destroyed more than 8700 acres, has had a dramatic effect on Santa Barbara climbing sites. Upper Rattlesnake and Upper Cold Springs Canyons suffered severe damage. The entire Gibraltar Area, including Cold Springs Dome, has burned.

To see photos of the Gibraltar Area after the fire, click here
By Rob Riggleman
From: Santa Barbara, CA
May 28, 2009
There is a trail restoration day planned for June 13th for many of the trails affected by the Jesusita fire. Not too many details on the organization of the day yet, but the general plan is to meet at Skofield park and then set out to work on the Jesusita, Tunnel, Rattlesnake, and the West Fork of the Cold Springs trails.

Check this blog for further updates.
By andy patterson
From: Carpinteria, CA
Sep 9, 2010
An update from Bob Banks:

C'mon, people. Spread the wisdom.
By Jan Roestel
Sep 20, 2010
Bob and Andy are spot on. Post the link on the Brickyard and Lizard Mouth pages.

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