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Corte Madera

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Corte Madera Rock Climbing 

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Location: 32.7555, -116.591 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 40,292
Administrators: Marc Kajut, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: mschlocker on Mar 27, 2008


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Early in the new year in January of 2015 : Corte w...

Current San Diego County Advisories MORE INFO >>>


A fine south-facing multi-pitch crag in San Diego county. Corte Madera has a history of both traditional and sport routes. The traditional routes will offer adventure with some en-route bushwhacking. The newer sport routes climb the clean faces of this impressive cliff. The climbs are most easily approached by hiking to the top of the cliff and rappelling to the base.

Getting There 

From San Diego, head out East on I-8. Exit Buckman Springs and head South of the freeway. Right on Corral Canyon road (Morena Stokes Rd on Google). Park 4.9 miles up the road and hike in on a trail to your right (1.5-2 hours). If you have 4WD then continue up the road. Head right onto a dirt road at the first intersection and follow this to within a 1/2 hour of the top of the cliff. I'll have to verify all of this next time I head out there, please check a map.


Please note that there is a voluntary seasonal closure of anything West (Climbers' Left) of the center of the main wall due to nesting raptors. Feb 1 - June 30.

Route Guides 

The latest (2006) Kennedy climbing guide is a vast improvement from the older guide for this area. It includes many of the newer sport routes. Currently this is the only printed guide (that I know of) for this area.

Climbing Season

Weather station 6.7 miles from here

34 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',16],['2 Stars',12],['1 Star',4],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Corte Madera

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Corte Madera:
Swoosh   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   El Nino Wall
Satellite Dish   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 125'   Solar Slabs
Sunset Streaks   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 5 pitches, 400'   Main Wall
South Buttress   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 4 pitches, 500'   Main Wall
Wish You Were Here   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   El Nino Wall
Candid Chimera   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 125'   Solar Slabs
Im Panadilla   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   El Nino Wall
Mud Slide   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   El Nino Wall
Pollo con Jelados   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   El Nino Wall
Close to the Edge   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   El Nino Wall
Pay Per View   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 90'   Video Dome
Technicolor   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 80'   Video Dome
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Corte Madera

Featured Route For Corte Madera
Rock Climbing Photo: South Buttress of Corte Madera

South Buttress 5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a  California : San Diego County : ... : Main Wall
This is a gear-protected route with gear belays. Pitch breakdown is subjective. Here's how I would do it next time...P1 5.10a 120': Scramble up the ramp, carefully stemming past the yucca to the steep OW and squeeze chimney. A cruxy section of OW & lieback moves gets you to a rest, then more squeeze chimneying and stemming gets you through a second crux and up to a nice belay (med. gear) just above an old bolt. P2 5.9 190' (or 2 pitches): Lieback up the flake to a wide crack. Face climb and ...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Corte Madera Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: An impressive and symbolic sunset after such a gre...
An impressive and symbolic sunset after such a gre...
Rock Climbing Photo: Corte Madera as seen from the approach trail.
Corte Madera as seen from the approach trail.
Rock Climbing Photo: Sign at the end of the road near the trailhead, Co...
Sign at the end of the road near the trailhead, Co...
Rock Climbing Photo: Here is a very rough overview of the approach to C...
BETA PHOTO: Here is a very rough overview of the approach to C...
Rock Climbing Photo: May 2009 Updated Closure for Corte Madera
BETA PHOTO: May 2009 Updated Closure for Corte Madera
Rock Climbing Photo: depends/cultier grove
depends/cultier grove
Rock Climbing Photo: cardiac arette, 10.c
cardiac arette, 10.c
Rock Climbing Photo: Corte Madera from the road.
Corte Madera from the road.

Comments on Corte Madera Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jan 21, 2016
By mschlocker
From: San Diego, CA
Nov 3, 2009
Now a new guide option is available. The Allied Climbers of San Diego have created a guide for El Cajon Mtn, Eagle Peak, and Corte Madera. It's quite a bit better than the SD climbing guide for Corte. I recommend you check it out at a local REI or better yet come to a member meeting. .
By T.J. Esposito
From: San Diego, CA
Feb 18, 2013
For anyone planning on War Paint (5P 12a), a key hold broke off the start of the 3rd pitch (12a crux). It's likely now hard twelve at least and impossible to french free it (the first bolt is about 12 feet up or so.) Those inclined can skip the start by going up the 5.easy gully to the right and clipping the first bolt and swinging back in to do the super fun original crux.
By Mannamedstan Smith
From: Carpinteria, CA
Sep 25, 2013
Any beta on the dirt road? How much ground clearance or can a Subaru make it?
By Adam T.
From: San Diego, CA
Oct 6, 2013
Hey Mannamedstan, a Subaru can definitely make it, but it will require a little bit of skilled driving. I personally wouldn't go for it, but my buddy Corey would eat it up. Definitely some large ruts and a few paint can sized boulders. We did it last month with a Toyota Tacoma pickup.
By jeffblankman
From: San Diego, Ca
Nov 3, 2013
RE: the 4WD road over Los Pinos

It was not very bad at all IMO. No real skill at off-road driving needed. A bit bumpy and a few scattered rocks and ruts, but I think even a slow and measured 2WD vehicle with decent clearance could make it. Of course, different story if it's rained recently.

From the saddle down the Espinoza road is not bad, either, until right before (2 min walk) the use trail to the toe of the crag (S Buttress route).
By Dan G0D5H411
From: Colorado Springs, CO
Jan 12, 2014
Jeff is right about the first portion of the dirt road...probably could be done in a sedan if you know how navigate burms. The espinoza portion however was in really bad shape when we were there a couple of weeks ago. We were in a "sport" suv and ended up doing a 20 point turn to reverse our course after only a couple hundred yards down the road. Instead we opted to continue onto the higher parking area, hike to the top of the crag and rap in. The hike was 45 minutes, well-worn and fairly moderate in nature.
By Salamanizer suchoski
From: Vacaville Ca.
Jan 6, 2015
Need some help with route identification as I don't have a guide for the area.
We drove down from northern Cali to sample some of the rock you guys have down there and climbed at El Cajon and Corte Madera for a few days last week.

At Corte Madera, not really knowing what we were getting on, we first climbed a route that starts out as thin slabby face with some solid .11+ moves to a tree where the route then followed a thin crack out left to the belay. Several mediocre and fairly contrived pitches after that lead to a big rotten overhanging arête (maybe .12a/b) with a big loose death block. I bailed off a bail biner that was left on that turd (didn't want to kill my belayer) and followed a short bolted and highly contrived route to the left that was easy stemming to basically the top, then took a weird, contrived hard right up a rotten kitty litter bulge past a bolt to the top. Anyone know what that route is called and want to add it to the Route DB if it's not already there.

Another route we climbed was near the center of the wall in kind of an alcove with lots of dirty cracks. It was like two short, well protected pitches (maybe low 5.10) to a good belay beneath a gear protected fist/chimney crack that turned into tight fingers up high and traversed left to another perfect hand crack (maybe .10a or .10b/c if you follow the finger crack too high). The next pitch was a tightly bolted face with a few lieback moves (maybe 5.11a/b) to a decent ledge. The final pitch was a short bouldery thing (maybe mid .10) to the top.

Both routes looked like they had pretty new bolts on em. The rest of the routes we climbed I found in the Routes DB, but these two I didn't see a description that I recognized. Anyone know what they're called and feel like adding them to the Routes DB? I can help you out as I have Administrative privileges but am not qualified to add things to this area as I'm not too familiar with it. It could use a more complete list of routes with better descriptions and some photos. I know you got em'. Upload your killer photos and make this area shine.

It's a great cliff and has some awesome climbing.
By alexandra.
From: san diego
Jan 7, 2015
LOST MY DAMN SHOE on the 2nd pitch of what I think was sunset streaks.
it's a very small sized moccasym vcs.
please email me if you find it, or drop it off at mesa rim!
i work there. :) thanks!
By R Dubs
From: San Diego, CA
Feb 1, 2015
Road condition updates:
We were out at Corte on 1/30/15 for the first time and I wanted to share some driving beta.

Approach beta: DON'T even think about the Espinoza Trail - it is in BAD condition. Take Los Piños. I would definitely recommend high-clearance. 4WD not needed if you're used to driving trails, but it certainly wouldn't hurt.

How bad is the Espinoza Trail? Initially tried to head down the Espinoza trail to approach the main wall from below. I have a 2WD 4Runner (same high clearance as regular 4Runner), and consider myself to be a very skilled offroad driver. After about a half mile of some VERY aggressive driving we decided to head back up, which required some serious bossing to get out. If you don't have experience driving on legitimate off-road conditions and know how to handle high clearance vehicles DO NOT take this trail. Even if you do, I don't think it's worth it. The hike in from the Los Pinos trail is easy and the road is 100% better.

Los Piños trailto the summit approach trail was fine.
By Eric M Parks
From: Campo, CA
Feb 23, 2015
Climber’s trail to base of Video Dome and Solar Slabs is now heavily over grown with brush, is very slow going and requires route finding skills.
By Kelly K
Oct 19, 2015
Climber's trail from Espinosa trail up to base of main wall is extremely overgrown and slow-going. The turn-off is almost impossible to find. If you want to torture yourself with steep uphill bushwacking, once you pass a set of large tanks on your left, go down a steep little rocky part in the road then look for a small pile of rocks on the right indicating the trailhead. That's where the adventure begins....
By Cameron Townsend
From: San Diego
Jan 21, 2016
Added a topo map with gps coordinates for the Espinosa trail approach. The trail is still pretty overgrown, but trail ducks will help guide you through.

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