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Santee Boulders

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Santee Boulders Rock Climbing 

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Location: 32.85052, -117.02223 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 95,664
Administrators: Marc Kajut, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: mschlocker on Feb 4, 2007

89° | 59°

89° | 58°

86° | 60°

88° | 63°

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94° | 65°
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Best climbs for YOU in this area
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Current San Diego County Advisories MORE INFO >>>


San Diego's most popular bouldering area. Just bring a crash pad and some shoes. Many of the problems are safe to do sans pad. Do not expect to be alone out here. Please respect the bushes and do not make the trails any wider than they already are.

Getting There 

Across the street from West Hills Park in Santee off Mast Blvd near the 52 freeway. Park in the park parking lot and play frogger to cross the street to the bouldering area that is visible on the north side of the road.

From Los Angeles and Orange Counties, drive south on the 5 until the exit for the highway 78 eastbound. Take the 78 east to the 15 and head south. Those coming from Riverside County will take the 15 directly. From the 15/78 interchange, drive 21 miles south to highway 52 and head east for 6 miles. Exit on Mast Blvd, taking a left at the light. One half-mile on the right hand side is West Hills Park.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.8 miles from here

114 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',4],['3 Stars',31],['2 Stars',61],['1 Star',16],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Santee Boulders

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Santee Boulders:
Mantle   V0- 4-     Boulder   Moby Dick Area : Lieback Rock
The Carousel   V0 4     Boulder   Synchronicity Area : The Carousel
Fingercrack   V0 4     Boulder   Moby Dick Area : Beehive Boulders
Flake   V0 4     Boulder   Moby Dick Area : Lieback Rock
Suzie's Mantle   V1- 5-     Boulder, 15'   Dog Pile Area : Suzie's Boulder
Sloping Disappointment   V2 5+     Boulder, 15'   Moby Dick Area : Lieback Rock
The Black Spot Problem   V2 5+     Boulder   Synchronicity Area : The Moon Boulder
Jumpstart   V3 6A     Boulder   Moby Dick Area : The Amphitheater
Bullet Hole Wall Crack??   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b V1 5     Trad, Boulder   Moby Dick Area : Bullet Hole Wall
The 5.8 Face   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, TR, 20'   Dog Pile Area : The Dog Pile
The Painted Crack   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c V-easy 3     Trad, Boulder, 15'   Hillside Area : Painted Crack Boulder
5.9 Face   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c     Trad   Dog Pile Area : The Dog Pile
American Express   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     TR, 15'   Moby Dick Area : Bullet Hole Wall
Masochist Crack   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a V0- 4-     Trad, Boulder, 10'   Moby Dick Area : Beehive Boulders
Lieback Rock Dyno   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a V0 4     Trad, Boulder   Moby Dick Area : Lieback Rock
Donkey Dick, Right Arete   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Trad, 17'   Hillside Area : The Donkey Dick Area
Traverse - right   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     TR, 8'   Dog Pile Area : 20 Point Boulder
The Ramp   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b V2 5+     TR, Boulder, 12'   Dog Pile Area : 20 Point Boulder
Lieback Rock Lieback   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Trad   Moby Dick Area : Lieback Rock
Twenty Point Problem   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a V3 6A     Boulder, 12'   Dog Pile Area : 20 Point Boulder
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Santee Boulders

Featured Route For Santee Boulders
Rock Climbing Photo:

Lieback Rock Lieback 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c  California : San Diego County : ... : Lieback Rock
The namesake of Lieback Rock.Lieback up a right facing rail where the rock splits from pink to grey. Get up to a finger pocket undercling. Follow undercling flake around right and then finish up the seam to the top.Classic. Feels more like an actual trad route than a boulder since it is so long and varied. Some start on the right side of the rail for added difficulty....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Santee Boulders Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: The black spot route 5.11
The black spot route 5.11
Rock Climbing Photo: Greg Epperson on "Epperson's Lunge" B1+ ...
Greg Epperson on "Epperson's Lunge" B1+ ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Rick Allenby on The curtis mantle V4/5
Rick Allenby on The curtis mantle V4/5
Rock Climbing Photo: Back of offwidth rock
Back of offwidth rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Some local SD crag ambiance for you.
Some local SD crag ambiance for you.
Rock Climbing Photo: Orion over Santee.
Orion over Santee.
Rock Climbing Photo: it was a really clear day
it was a really clear day
Rock Climbing Photo: Park in the park
BETA PHOTO: Park in the park
Rock Climbing Photo: Santee Boulders
BETA PHOTO: Santee Boulders

Comments on Santee Boulders Add Comment
Show which comments
By keli
From: San Diego, CA
Apr 16, 2009
This bouldering area is OPEN. NO access issues at this point in time.
By akforty7
From: seattle, wa
May 1, 2009
if you're looking to improve your fancy footwork, crimp strength, and balance for your granite climbing projects...this is the place to train! There's a good amount of highball options and some anchors for top roping as well.

Bees may like Lonesome and Mudball as much as a boulderer does, but they don't like people much.

Summer time: watch out for the occasional rattler sunning on/near the trail, there's a grand daddy of one near carosel boulder i've seen on many occasions. they'll give you a spot on light bulb boulder as well.

  • *if you're not familiar with snakes and their habits, it's the smaller ones that you should be most weary of...they tend to latch on giving you a longer dose of the stuff they're selling. the bigger ones will use it more sparingly seeing as you're not going to make a good snack.
From: Chattanooga, Tennessee
Jan 1, 2012
just moved to SD and really psyched to find this great little boulder field like 10 mins from my apt. Great setting easy approach many quality problems.

With that said the ratings here seriously SUCK. Having bouldered all over the country (Hueco, Bishop, Boulder, Yosemite, Chattanooga). I can say these ratings are in their own little world. 5th class ratings for boulder problems was probably common in the 70's or whatever, but V ratings are the accepted standard of boulderers everywhere now. (And the way the users of this site are pigeon holed into choosing their own "5th class rating" and V ratings are not even in the drop down list is also jacked.) On top of that the few V ratings that exist here are poor. Take Suzy's Mantle a classic V4 just about anywhere they have as V0?? Anyone who thinks this has not traveled much. You guys who think this is V0 should get out and see some other areas.

Aside from the myopic ratings this place is super sweet!
By Adam Kimmerly
Jan 16, 2012
I've found the Santee grades comparable to other SoCal areas with similar climbing like Joshua Tree and Black Mountain. Conversions to the YDS approximate well to those at Suicide Rock - a mecca of granite slab and thin face climbing. Hang out a bit and get used to the rock and the style before going too crazy on attempting to up-rate problems multiple grades.

I'll agree that it would be nice to consistently see V grades in the database here, perhaps mentioning the original B-grade or YDS grade. In the end though, is it really that hard to convert from YDS to V?
By steve richert
From: Taunton MA
Jan 19, 2012
Just a heads up, on the LEFTMOST of the mudball cracks, there is a bees nest. It is probably best to avoid this. I was initially told it was a wasps nest, but upon slightly closer inspection I saw a pretty extensive honeycomb in there! Bees are endangered right now, so I am giving them a wide berth...ish. We climbed the other two cracks and faces and didn't seem to stoke their ire.

pictures here on my blog
By ron amick
From: poway, ca
Feb 17, 2012
LOL welcome to san diego, T Bone. Ive been climbing in San Diego county for over 35 years, and Ive climbed elsewhere in CA yosemite, the sierra, idylwild, joshua tree etc. Ive also climbed all around the country, as well as in canada, mexico, finland and russia, and I have found a huge disparity in ratings from one place to another. Theres nothing you can do about it, so you dont whine, you suck it up and you go by the local ratings. I saw 5.9s in Germany that were 5.11+ to me. Ive also seen 5.12's that were 5.10+ to me. Whether or not you agree with it, it is what it is.

San Diego is a backwater, and we developed these climbing areas without much outside involvement. Our ratings may be a bit stiff, and were proud of that. A 5.9 here tends to be a real 5.9, and a 5.12 is hard as hell, not some cream puff job meant to inflate minor egos. Ive been to the sport areas where everything is "5.12", routes have bolts every 4 feet and half the lines are chipped, and I can tell you that San Diego is exactly the opposite of that. Thats the way its always been, and thats the way we like it.

San Diego has millions of rounded boulders and we turn out some of the best mantle climbers in the world. Suzys mantle is not anywhere close to V4, but Id say V1 is fair. Its a moderate Santee mantle and Im sorry but it would not be a V4 anywhere. Hone your technique, get strong and try it again. If you want gimmies, go to the gym.
By Adam Stackhouse
Feb 26, 2013
By westry whitaker
Apr 13, 2013
Bees are back at Mudball
By Eric Foss
Aug 28, 2013
Hi everyone,

So I made this overview video of the area for those of you who are thinking about checking out Santee Boulders. Have fun and please respect the area!

By HunterCody
From: San Diego
Dec 10, 2016

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