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The Grotto

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Air Ranger S 
Crash Test Dummy S 
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Garden of Expectations S 
Intensity S 
Junior S 
Little Giant S 
Lowrider S 
Mirror of Erised S 
Miss Pacman S 
Mystic River S 
Nimrod S 
Puffing Hunchback S 
Rats & Bats S 
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Stairway to Heaven S 
Stinger S 
Stubby S 
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Unsorted Routes:

The Grotto Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 34.1254, -118.92762 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 15,750
Administrators: jt512, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Art Morimitsu on Feb 26, 2007  with updates from Benjamin Chapman


81° | 61°

90° | 66°

90° | 66°

91° | 68°

92° | 69°
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BETA PHOTO: This is a rough map of the grotto. The rest of Ech...

  • Emergency Closure to Protect Sensitive Plant Species MORE INFO >>>
  • Grotto and Lookout closed MORE INFO >>>

  • Description 

    The Grotto is a wonderful place to climb in the summer, under the shade of a group of huge Sycamore trees. Located upstream from the base of the Drainage descent trail, the Grotto lies at the western end of the cliff band of Echo Cliffs. Due to canopy created by the Sycamore trees the Grotto enjoys mixed shade all day long. Routes in the Grotto range from 5.7 - 5.12b. There is typically a good flow of water during the winter and spring, but dries up by early summer.

    Getting There 

    the first climbing area encountered on the approach trail

    Climbing Season

    Weather station 2.7 miles from here

    23 Total Climbing Routes

    ['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',6],['2 Stars',13],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

    Classic Climbing Routes in The Grotto

    Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for The Grotto:
    Little Giant   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   
    Mystic River   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
    Junior   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 30'   
    Miss Pacman   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   
    Superfly   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 65'   
    Garden of Expectations   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   
    Lowrider   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 45'   
    Slammer   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   
    Wonder Woman   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
    Air Ranger   5.10c 6b 20 VII 20 E2 5b     Sport, 65'   
    Intensity   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- 23 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   
    Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in The Grotto

    Featured Route For The Grotto
    Rock Climbing Photo: The block with Junio & Little Giant.  Stubby is on...

    Junior 5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  California : Los Angeles Basin : ... : The Grotto
    Climb up the left side of the block, to the left of Little Giant, past three bolts....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

    Photos of The Grotto Slideshow Add Photo
    Rock Climbing Photo: The climber's trail through the Grotto passes over...
    The climber's trail through the Grotto passes over...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Grotto approach boulders, winter 2010, after h...
    The Grotto approach boulders, winter 2010, after h...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Grotto at flood stage. Pretty tough conditions...
    The Grotto at flood stage. Pretty tough conditions...
    Rock Climbing Photo: If you're going to do "personal maintenance&q...
    If you're going to do "personal maintenance&q...
    Rock Climbing Photo: The Grotto, Winter 2010, after 7 days of heavy rai...
    The Grotto, Winter 2010, after 7 days of heavy rai...

    Comments on The Grotto Add Comment
    Show which comments
    By Simon Hatfield
    From: Oakland, CA
    May 1, 2010
    I Climbed Mystic River and Garden of Expectations with a few friends today and were approached by a group of concerned park rangers. Apparently, these routes cut through one of the world's 3 remaining populations of a critically endangered succulent. After the rangers identified the plant for us it was obvious that activity by climbers has destroyed much of this population. They mentioned that Echo was almost closed years ago in an effort to protect this specific plant. We convinced them that the climbing community is not only passionate about preserving the environment, but respectful towards rules, especially when access was contingent on them.

    Please help the park service to preserve this species by not only discontinuing climbing in the northwest of the grotto, but making sure that other climbers know that the routes in the area run through critical habitat. As continuing to climb this route will likely lead to closure of the whole area, it is better to climb routes that do not promise to cause the extinction of a species.
    By Benjamin Chapman
    From: Small Town, USA
    May 3, 2010
    The Park Service has closed all routes of the south side of the Grotto. Signs have been posted and bolts/anchors removed from the five affected routes. This was done to protect endangered plants. (although nothing was stated about threatened or endangered plants existing in the Grotto during the discussions of 2002).
    Climbers have been largely ignored, but due to an increase in litter, tissue/feces, dogs at the base of the cliff, and camping, rangers will be monitoring climber's activities more closely. Rangers have expressed concern that climbers have been inaffective at self-policing regarding these impacts at the cliff.
    By BP29
    May 16, 2010
    Was it really necessary to remove the route descriptions of the affected climbs? While they may be currently closed, they will hopefully be available to climb next year.
    By Brian Hench
    From: Costa Mesa, CA
    May 17, 2010
    Those climbs will never be open for climbing- ever! They were all erased!

    Those routes were on north-facing cliffs- precisely where Dudleyas prefer to grow. There are a lot of different Dudleya species at Echo. If I remember correctly, the ranger said the endangered one was D. moreliana, named for its tendency to hold onto its dead leaves.

    This web site has a long list of Dudleya species.
    By mtrox713
    Jan 11, 2011
    The routes at the grotto were not very good either way, (no offense to the guys who bolted them.) there is plenty of great moderate climbing at the Left Flank, and the Far Side.

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