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Mount St. Helena

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Mount St. Helena Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 2,408'
Location: 38.65267, -122.59982 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 196,253
Administrators: Aron Quiter, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Brian Quiter on Jun 17, 2002


70° | 63°

80° | 67°

83° | 67°

80° | 64°

76° | 60°
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: Satellite Image (with Z) from Google Earth: Mt St ...


Overlooking Napa Valley, Mount St. Helena is about the most scenic climbing in the Bay Area. If you're willing to hike there's a ton of trad climbing in the area, but thus far, I've been too lazy to get anywhere but the three sport climbing areas. The rock is volcanic in origin, and ranges widely in forms, thus specific descriptions will be saved for each crag. Recently, Aron and I discovered that Forrest Shute has been hiding in the Los Angeles area. He mentioned that he had about half of all the first ascents on the Mountain, and that there's a lot more climbing past the Far Side than just that available in guidebooks. Hopefully, we'll be able to share a little more of his wisdom in the future.

See the Robert Louis Stevenson State Park website for more information.

Getting There 

From the majority of the Bay Area, it is quickest to take 80 East (though it goes mostly north) PAST highway 29, and take 12 west until it intersects 29 at a stop light.

Here, go right and drive through wine country (buy wine too).

In the town of Calistoga, 29 takes a right at a stop sign.

Continue on 29 out of Calistoga where it begins to get windy.

The road proceeds up the shoulder of Mount St. Helena.

At the top, there will be a pedestrians crossing sign promptly followed by parking areas on both the right and left sides of the road, they're pretty easy to fly by, but that's where you park.

You can park on either lot, and then which way to hike from there depends on your specific destination.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.0 miles from here

222 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',83],['2 Stars',96],['1 Star',37],['Bomb',1]

Classic Climbing Routes in Mount St. Helena

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Mount St. Helena:
Table Scraps   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 65'   Table Scraps Pinnacle
Shute-Mills Route   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Far Side
New Tradition   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 75'   The Far Side
Face, The Bubble Mt. St. Helena   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   The Bubble
Kola   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   The Far Side
Aperitif   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Table Scraps Pinnacle
Hailstone Arete   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Satellite Rocks : Hailstone Rock
Mystery Hole   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 40'   The Far Side
Old Ladder Route   5.10a/b 6a+ 19 VI+ 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   The Bubble
Silverado Squatters   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Bear
Kidnapped   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   The Bear
Jesus Christ Superbolter   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Table Scraps Pinnacle
Rampage   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 60'   The Bear
Solar Power   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 40'   The Bubble
The West Face   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b R     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   The Bubble
The Ladder   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   The Bubble
Black Hole Sun   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Bear
Bubble Boy   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   The Bubble
Beast of Burden   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   The Bear
Treasure Island   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   The Bear
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Mount St. Helena

Featured Route For Mount St. Helena
Rock Climbing Photo: Eric Berghorn leading Rampage

Rampage 5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b  California : San Francisco Bay Area : ... : The Bear
Rampage!!!!This is sport climbing. Slightly overhanging wall, big holds, big moves! Head up out of the tree, pull a bulge, pinch some tufas, dream of Spain, head left and up to the shuts. A crag highlight for sure!Bolted on the tight side of necessity to avoid a fall into the tree. A great lead for those looking to break into the grade....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Mount St. Helena Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Overview of some of the crags in relationship to o...
BETA PHOTO: Overview of some of the crags in relationship to o...
Rock Climbing Photo: Somewhere else on the Mt.  3 pitches up, and one t...
Somewhere else on the Mt. 3 pitches up, and one t...
Rock Climbing Photo: Great late afternoon light up at the Bear Crag. ph...
Great late afternoon light up at the Bear Crag. ph...
Rock Climbing Photo: Early morning hike into the crag has the most amaz...
Early morning hike into the crag has the most amaz...
Rock Climbing Photo: St. Helena overview map.
BETA PHOTO: St. Helena overview map.

Comments on Mount St. Helena Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Sep 27, 2017
By Anonymous Coward
Sep 18, 2003
Plan for an extremely hot hike that strenuous on warm days. Our crew concluded that these climbs would be a million times better if it were a cloudy cool day. The hike took so much out of us that many were unable to climb once we got to the far side.... For those who did, it was splendid! Amazing views and fun volcanic rock with lots of little holes.
By Smitty
Mar 24, 2004
We climbed up on the main rocks not to long ago in a quest for long sport routes. Was stoked to see a few two pitch routes, although the pitches we kinda short. We did Mikes Moderate and it was pretty fun. The approach was a MF and the rock was a bit chossy but all in all it was a good day. I do feel that if you are going to drive this far from the bay area you might as well go to the leap. I mean its a 1.5 hr drive and an hour approach for a handful of routes. Also beware some of the bolts up there we manky.
By Jerry Dodrill
From: Bodega, CA
Jan 19, 2008
Random/relevant info:
Parking Lot Elevation: 2408'
GPS: N38.39.146 W122.35.960
By Avery
Mar 30, 2009
The approach to The Bear is significantly different and easier than the description in Bay Area Climbing. The guide says to go ~1/4 mile past the bubble, and then hike up a loose steep slope toward The Bear. If you continue past 2 "trails" up the road cut that fit the description in the guide book, you will come to a good real trail in another couple hundred yards. This trail starts well past the Bear and traverses the hill to approach The Bear from climbers right.
By Giulio Del Piccolo
From: Fort Collins, CO
Jun 3, 2010
What is the guide book for this area called?
I thought it was wine country rock, but i couldn't find it
By Jerry Dodrill
From: Bodega, CA
Jun 4, 2010
Wine Country Rocks is out of print. Not sure about the status about other books, but this site has the most accurate and current info, though lacks topos. There are rumors of a new Bay Area Climbing book from SuperTopo due out next year.
By Bob Hulsy
Jun 4, 2010
Bay Area Top Ropes is now in print. Check the touchstone gyms in the Bay, where it just landed on the shelves.
By Mark K. Howe
Jun 9, 2010
To Smitty above: That would be Marks Moderate
By Renzo
From: Davis, California
Nov 14, 2010
I used the Bay Area Topropes guide when climbing at the Far Side and didn't find it very helpful. There is one picture of the area that looks like it was taken from across the valley, making it difficult to locate specific routes. Also, many of the routes are not listed. If you are leading I would suggest the Bay Area Climbing book from Falcon.
By Jared W.
From: Oakland, CA
Aug 19, 2011
I would only use the Falcon book for a fairly decent topo that it provides of The Bear. However, Falcon's topo is outdated. Routes seem to have changed, and there are more now. Until a better, up-to-date guide book comes out, I'd recommend sticking only to the information found here on There's sufficient to finding the routes on The Bear and much better topos.
By Jerry Dodrill
From: Bodega, CA
Dec 9, 2012
Hey folks,
Conditions have been great lately and lots of people are visiting the park. Please keep in mind that there are no bathrooms at Mt. St. Helena/ R.L.S. State Park. Please poop in town before driving up. The parking lot is becoming a disaster of toilet paper behind every bush. If you really have to go when up on the mountain, bring a WAG BAG, or at least dig a deep hole out in the woods away from climbing areas and do NOT burn the paper! If you are really feeling like a rock star bring a couple trash bags and help by pick up some trash in the parking lot before driving down the hill.

Thanks a ton, and enjoy!
By andand89
From: Berkeley, CA
May 14, 2013
On the subject of guidebooks: I just picked up a new copy of "Bay Area Rock" and it has pretty good topos/route descriptions for the Far Side, Table Scraps, and Table Rock (the latter two aren't even mentioned in the Falcon guide).

Is there any chance at all of finding a copy of "Wine Country Rocks"? I'm curious if there's more info there that's not in guidebooks or on this site.
By Justin Johnsen
From: Nor Cal
Feb 10, 2014
Thanks Dodrill, I used your parking area coordinates as the location for main Mt St Helena page, since most first-time visitors will be looking for the parking area.

I'll work on getting the actual crag coordinates for each sub area of MSH.
By Tony L
Jan 12, 2015
Here is a Spherical panorama of the Bubble Wall on Google Maps
By Sergey Shelukhin
From: Seattle, WA
Jan 27, 2015
There's a (new?) good shortcut trail that can be taken both up and down to avoid switchbacks to the "book" clearing (much better than old shortcuts between switchbacks and around them). It goes entirely to the left of the switchbacks if facing up, and starts almost immediately off the normal trail; it's pretty obvious on the left. As you start on that trail, very soon you'll see some fallen trees that were sawed to clear it, that's the right trail.
Easily saves 15 minutes or so.
By Phil Chan
Mar 26, 2015
Thanks Sergey. Great tip.
By James Cranston
From: Boulder, CO
May 24, 2015
Anywhere to recommend for a post- Mt. St. Helena climb beer?
By splitclimber
Oct 20, 2015
Volunteers with BACC and RIM club did trail improvements and maintenance on the trail to the quarry and the climber's trail next to it that goes up to the fire road on October 17. We also blocked the shortcuts on the main hikers trail with all of the switchbacks.

After taking the climbers trail from near the parking lot to the "book" monument, follow the well defined trail to the right of the quarry up to the fire road. Please stay on this newly improved trail to avoid further braiding of trails and erosion.
By splitclimber
Feb 23, 2016
Jim Thornburg updated his Bay Area Rocks guidebook and included Black Tower, next to Kimball Crag, which was included in the previous version.

However, the Black Tower climbs are listed in reverse order in the guidebook. The correct order from left to right is:

south face
Corkscrew - 5.9+

Barrel Roll - 5.10a/b

east face
Sky Raider - 5.8

Wingman - 5.8

you can use a 60 meter rope on the two 5.8's, but you better tie a knot in the ends when rapping. I really recommend belaying from above when belaying a follower. If the rope doesn't run through draws, a 60m rope does just reach the ground and you can top rope them, but barely and lowering the last 20 feet is awkward and will abrade the rope.
By Kelley Gilleran
From: Sacramento, Ca
Mar 29, 2016
@James Cranston La Prima Pizza at the bottom of the hill. Good beer, great pizza, but kinda pricey. But hey you're in Calistoga....
By FourT6and2
From: San Francisco, CA
Apr 18, 2016
I've climbed The Bubble and a few routes at Far Side. But on the hike to/from Far Side, you can see two free-standing rock formations up the hill a ways, between The Bubble and Far Side. What is this? We could clearly see a bolt glinting in the sun on one of them. But I don't see either of these crags in any guide book, nor here on MP unless I'm just confused at what I'm looking at. Here's a photo:

Rock Climbing Photo: What crag is this?
What crag is this?

Is this Hailstone/Hole in the Wall? The topos make it seem like they are up and to the right of The Bubble. But this formation is closer to being toward Far Side, in the opposite direction.
By J. Albers
From: Colorado
Apr 18, 2016
That's Hailstone at the top I believe, so yes, you have identified those correctly. And they are in Jimi's recent book, check it out:
By FourT6and2
From: San Francisco, CA
Apr 18, 2016
Oh, you're totally right! I just figured out you can click the GPS coordinates here on MP to get to Google Maps haha. Thanks for the confirmation!
By Shaniac
Oct 24, 2016
WARNING: Car break-ins were common at the trail head parking lot on 10/23/16. When we came down from our climb, 6 cars had been broken into including my friends Honda. They were grabbing electronics, as his phone was gone, but I would not recommend leaving anything visible in your car at this location. I have been climbing here for years and have NEVER seen it this bad. Hopefully this will help someone.
By Joel.Perkins
From: SLO
Sep 25, 2017
Can confirm. Car was broken into while we were up on the mountain 9/23/17...smash and grab for a backpack...they got my friend's credit card and spent $1000 at WalMart...please heed these warnings, dont be like me
By Isaac Snow
Sep 26, 2017
Any suggestions for avoiding getting your car broken into other than leaving things visible in your car? Like alternative parking locations or something? Planning on going there this weekend and want to avoid that.
By caughtinside
From: Oakland CA
Sep 27, 2017
When the lot fills up, people park on the shoulder of the highway. Might be better? it's right next to the road so it would be pretty bold to smash and grab on the shoulder of a busy highway

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