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Cave Route 

YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c

Type:  Sport, 2 pitches, 140'
Original:  YDS: 5.8- French: 5b Ewbanks: 16 UIAA: VI- ZA: 14 British: VS 4c [details]
FA: Unknown
Page Views: 13,460
Submitted By: Salamanizer suchoski on Mar 21, 2006

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (59)
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Ben and Cana Crosby on Cave Route, December, 2000...

Falcon Nesting Closure at Castle Rock MORE INFO >>>


This route is a classic moderate climb that is well protected and has some great moves and a spectacular and unique finish. It starts on a slabby face and climbs around some small caves and up a large colorful water streak into a grassy cave perched high above the ground. You have several options to build an anchor in this cave. However, the nature of the route (like most of the routes in Pine Canyon) dictate that you bring gear to build your own anchor. A few cams .75" - 2" should do the trick. The second pitch is short but interesting and fun. You climb through a small squeeze chimney (protected by two bolts) which burrows through the back of the cave and out the back side. You emerge from a small hole on the back side of the Rock of Ages and set up a belay by walking down the hill a few yards and sitting down. There are no anchors here but by sitting down you will see that this is a good enough anchor because there is no way anyone is going to pull you through that hole. The lack of bolted anchors on a sport climb deters some people form climbing this route. They don't understand why a sport route would not have a more convenient method of anchoring. This is the nature of Pine Canyon. Bolts are not placed in many area's where they are not needed, usually for anchors. I think this adds to the quality and uniqueness of the place. Pine Canyon has some of the oldest routes in the Bay Area, and this is certainly one of them. It also has the best quality of rock in the canyon.


This is one of the easier climbs to locate. It is highly visible by the presence of the large cave half way up the climb. Start directly below the cave and follow the bolts up. The base of this route is one of the cooler places to hang out in the hot summer months. However the climb is still brutally hot when the temps rise above 90. Best head to Tahoe on those hot days.


10 Quickdraws. Cams, 1-2ea. .75"-2"

Photos of Cave Route Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: A party of three unknown climbers at the first bel...
A party of three unknown climbers at the first bel...
Rock Climbing Photo: 2nd pitch of the Cave route in all its glory.  Hea...
2nd pitch of the Cave route in all its glory. Hea...
Rock Climbing Photo: approach to the grassy cave - up over the ledge an...
BETA PHOTO: approach to the grassy cave - up over the ledge an...
Rock Climbing Photo: View up the cave route - camera is on a light angl...
BETA PHOTO: View up the cave route - camera is on a light angl...
Rock Climbing Photo: That's why it's called squeeze chimney...:)
That's why it's called squeeze chimney...:)
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking down through the top of the squeeze chimne...
Looking down through the top of the squeeze chimne...
Rock Climbing Photo: A short way up the first pitch, easy sport lead.  ...
A short way up the first pitch, easy sport lead. ...

Comments on Cave Route Add Comment
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By aa-lex
Oct 8, 2007

This was definitely the coolest climb I did the day I climbed here. Really easy climbing but way fun!! Going through the chimney is so cool! This is not a two pitch climb - with a 60m or 70m rope you'll make it in one pitch. The way to belay described above worked fine. Not really any need for gear, just do it in one pitch and belay from the backside of the chimney - there is no way that your belayer is gonna come through that chimney. THIS IS A SUPER FUN ROUTE!!! GO CLIMB IT.........GO CLIMB IT NOW!!
By McCrea
Dec 10, 2007

Fun first pitch. Easy climbing with TONS of bolts. Looks to have been rebolted, but all the old homemade bolts are still there. Cool cave, and easy to set up belay with a few cams (a 1,2 and 3 Camalot did the trick). The second chimney pitch was full of bird droppings (making it quite slick). This route is easily doable in 1 pitch with a 60m rope (what I should have done), but you might get some rope drag.
By treadnorth
May 2, 2009
rating: 5.7+ 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Great route. I'd recommend it for aspiring leaders, as it is well protected, and it's a good safe place to practice setting up a trad anchor after the first pitch. The first pitch is easy, with many bolts (new as well as old homemades), and the second pitch, through the cave, is very unique, although I've never had to commit to crawling directly through so much bird poo in my life. Take a shower after enjoying this route. :)
By Gregory Mullen
Sep 5, 2009
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

If you really want to do this in two pitches you can just throw a 20' sling around the knob at the edge of the cave.

Other then that epic route I can't wait to go do it again!
By aaron hope
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Apr 28, 2010
rating: 5.8- 5b 16 VI- 14 VS 4c

Fun route. Plenty of bolts. Don't know why you would need trad gear. Most of the route is 5.6 with one or two 5.7 moves right before the cave. Getting into the start of the Chimney, I thought, was the crux - slippery and dusty. But once in, the moves were super cool (and I don't even like Chimneys)
By beachplus4
From: So San Francisco
May 22, 2010

Kinda hard to find my way up the mountain (I think taking a longer approach up the far south side would be better then the directs given), but all in all a good route. Make sure you check yourself for ticks at the top. We came across tons of them. Second pitch is super sandy and will keep you on your toes.
By Phil McAllister
Mar 10, 2012
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

If you use 2-4 ft slings on the pro on the 1st pitch then you can climb this in a single pitch. Heads up though - i use omega pacific oval biners on my sling draws and couldn't get them through the 'old school hangers' on the 1st pitch. There is a mix of newer and old style bolts on this route though - you don't need to rely on the old school hangers - and its an easy climb up to the cave.
By Brandon Bateman
From: Montrose, CA
Feb 1, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

Great Climb! Fun to do in two pitches as its nice to hang out or have lunch in the cave. All of the bolts were in good condition (at least the new bolts). It is possible to do this climb without clipping the old hangars but closer to the cave it is reassuring to clip the last old school hangar to prevent a bit of a run out. Also, dont even bother bringing cams up for belay. The large horn at the cave entrance bomber! Especially compared to cams in in loose sandstone and plus a 20 foot sling is much lighter than three cams!

Do this route if you are in the area!
By old5ten
From: Berkeley + Sunny Slopes, CA
Mar 18, 2013
rating: 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b

i don't quite see how this route could get 3 or even 4 stars. it is not aesthetic climbing. you've got a ton of new and old bolts on the first pitch, pretty much making it look like an aid route (those old bolts should be pulled and holes patched). the climbing itself is okay, but really nothing special. yes, there is the slot and squeeze chimney, but if that's a novelty factor you need to climb something nicer (red dihedral on the incredible hulk comes to mind). the cave was full of swallow sh*t (4 nests on the roof) and the way out of the cave covered with handfuls of sand on the holds. the west face was a little spicier, but so much nicer climbing!

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