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Tollhouse Rock

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Tollhouse Rock 

Tollhouse Rock Rock Climbing 

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Elevation: 3,891'
Location: 37.033, -119.387 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 41,179
Administrators: M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: ClimbandMine on Feb 8, 2003
This Afternoon

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Tollhouse Rock is a 600' granite dome located about an hour northeast of Fresno, at 4000' in the foothills between Fresno and Shaver Lake. A stellar winter weekend destination (or daytrip for us locals), it has some of everything -- sport routes, multipitch trad and runout face, and a little bouldering. The views of the Sierras and the valleys unfolding below the dome are fabulous, and definitely make a belay on top of another stellar pitch all the more enjoyable. Routes range from 5.5 to 5.12. If you plan on camping, it is possible at Tollhouse, but watch out for drunk rednecks with guns. With a 4WD you can get to the top of Tollhouse Rock and access some hidden spots, though.

The crag Squarenail, just down the highway from Tollhouse rock, is also included in this area due to its proximity. It contains primarily sport routes from 5.7 to 5.12, although a few cracks are available, as well as a boulder with some aid routes.

Getting There 

From Fresno, the most straight-forward route to Tollhouse Rock and Squarenail is to follow HWY 168 east (if coming from outside Fresno, take the Shaw Ave. Exit off 99 East to 168) past Prather. Its about 35 miles to Prather. Two miles or so past Prather is a stop sign where 168 turns left - follow it.

5.2 miles up the highway (this section is known to locals as "the 4-lane") is a sweeping left hand curve, and roadcut, and a pullout on the right side (hop the curb). This is the pullout for Squarenail. A trail to the cliff starts at the beginning of the roadcut and a slabby rock, and is kind of hidden by brush. It will take you to the top of the cliff. Scramble down the gully on the left to access climbs on the main face, or continue across the top and follow the trail and gully down to access climbs on the left side of the cliff.

To access Tollhouse Rock, continue up the 4-lane for a few miles. Right after it ends, turn right on Tollhouse Road. About 1-1.5 miles down the road, a saddle is reached with an obvious dirt road and parking area on the left. With 4wd or moderate clearance, follow the road under powerlines and park. A serious 4WD road leads up to the top of the descent slab/trail. This is taken to Sunday Slab and the main wall.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.3 miles from here

36 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',18],['1 Star',2],['Bomb',0]

Classic Climbing Routes in Tollhouse Rock

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Tollhouse Rock:
Tollhouse Traverse   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 4 pitches, 600'   Tollhouse Rock
Old Fart's Edge   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 600'   Tollhouse Rock
Seven Bolts   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 83'   Hippo Wall
Free and Easy   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 3 pitches, 400'   Tollhouse Rock
Hippo in a Bathtub   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Hippo Wall
Nuts and Bolts   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 400'   Tollhouse Rock
Elephant Walk   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   Tollhouse Rock
Trauma Dogs   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   Hippo Wall
Fabulously Fresno   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   Hippo Wall
Platinum Plus   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Tollhouse Rock
Wish Sandwich   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 2 pitches, 250'   Tollhouse Rock
Beginner's Delight   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches   Tollhouse Rock
Taking a Bath With Strangers   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Hippo Wall
Art Baker Memorial   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 350'   Tollhouse Rock
Wandering Taoist   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 350'   Tollhouse Rock
Sunset Strip   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 110'   Tollhouse Rock
Shining Path   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 600'   Tollhouse Rock
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Tollhouse Rock

Featured Route For Tollhouse Rock
Rock Climbing Photo: Dave leading Elephant Walk, 2003

Elephant Walk 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  California : Southern Sierra : ... : Tollhouse Rock
Continue through the scrub past the Tollhouse traverse and find three Yosemite-like finger cracks with large truck-sized boulders at the base. Elephant Walk is the middle, and best of the three. Climb it. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Tollhouse Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Greg following up at Tollhouse
Greg following up at Tollhouse
Rock Climbing Photo: kings canyon rd, fresno ca
kings canyon rd, fresno ca
Rock Climbing Photo: Tollhouse Rock showing the Tollhouse Traverse. A g...
BETA PHOTO: Tollhouse Rock showing the Tollhouse Traverse. A g...
Rock Climbing Photo: Tollhouse rock - Tollhouse Traverse is the obvious...
BETA PHOTO: Tollhouse rock - Tollhouse Traverse is the obvious...

Comments on Tollhouse Rock Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated May 17, 2017
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 19, 2004
Just a neighborly comment...we rednecks have to watch out for drunken climbers with 4WD trucks! My dogs dodge youse guys all the time!

Signed: A denizen of the area
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 31, 2006
Tollhouse has some great climbing to offer. I had the pleasure of climbing here over a 2-year period in '98/'99 while working for the old Pacific Crest Outward Bound School "PCOBS", which had a basecamp further up Hwy 168 at the Sierra Summit ski area. After a long day of climbing, no trip to Tollhouse was complete without indulging in a world-famous malt at the Hungry Hut up the road in Shaver!

For first-timers, the Tollhouse Traverse is not to be missed. The bolted lines tend to be fairly runout, and many of the bolts were in bad shape, although someone may well have replaced these over the past several years.

Dave: thanks for adding this area to the db and helping to jog some good memories!
By M. Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
May 9, 2006
44 bolts on many routes were replaced March 2000 by members of the Southern and Central Sierra Climbers Associations. More...
By usetob
From: Visalia, Ca.
Apr 10, 2009
Recently climbed here for the first time and in comparison to yosemite, J-tree, Tahquitz and Suicide climbing definite sandbagging going on. Probably about a grade higher than stated. Great climbing however with solid granite. Will visit many times to come...
By Dave Daly
From: Kernville, CA
May 17, 2010
@ BoBBa -

Actually, the grades are spot on and have been that way since they were FA'd. The times have changed but the ratings have not. Bolt placements may be far out there and that may make 'em feel a bit tougher (heady). Then again, it is slab after's not for everyone.
By usetob
From: Visalia, Ca.
May 28, 2010
Dave you obviously have never been to Suicide or the Apron.
By Dave Daly
From: Kernville, CA
Mar 9, 2011
@ usetob-
I have been climbing in all areas (including Suicide and Tahquitz...which are now just outside my back porch) since 1990. And, of course, I was once a local around Tollhouse as well. I support the grades of the FAist to this day. I first started climbing steep slab in the Valley, Courtright, Suicide and Tollhouse. They all have solid ratings for sure. You want to really put your head in check, climb at Looking Glass in NC. Scariest slab climbing on the planet hands down. 50 to 60 runouts the norm. You don't know what sandbagging is until you've been there. Soooo...."obviously", I have climbed beyond your narrow blind statement....

Run along now.
By Chad Namolik
From: Three Rivers, CA
Apr 20, 2012
Right On for Tollhouse! Just spent my first full day there. Led Beginners Delight, TR'ed Shining Path, then led the first pitch of Wandering Taoist(heady), then we finished the day up on 4 pitches of Beginners Right into Elephant Walk. Last pitch in headlamps with the Fresno lights shining bright. Had a blast and will go again soon. The road in is pretty gnar at that one bad spot. You'll need some burly high clearence 4wd to get up and down that.
By Topher42
May 9, 2014
is there still access land dispute in the area? Do I access it from the top or Bottom paved road?
By limpingcrab
From: Visalia, CA
May 11, 2014
The only issue is that one of the gate above is occasionally closed, but either way it's better to access from above.
By Mark Fletcher
Mar 17, 2015
From comments above, some people may think that you need a 4 WD to climb at this location, which is not true. Except when the dirt Burroughs Mountain Road is very wet (you probably don't want to climb at Tollhouse Rock in these conditions), I am able to get my Prius to parking spots along the road below the buzzing power lines. From there it is only a 10 minute hike to the top where you start descending to the base of the rock. A 4WD is necessary to drive up the very steep and rutted road from Burroughs Mountain Road to the top. Also, if you find that you are hiking or trying to drive through a gate, then you are going the wrong way and are going onto private property. The road to the top does not have any gates on it.

I believe all of the old Spencer homemade-type angle iron hangers have been replaced in the Storm Warning Wall earlier this year. Give the Spencer routes some love!
By Aaron Slaven
From: Fresno, CA
Nov 20, 2015
The road is in one of the best conditions I've seen in some time. Looks like this past summer it got graded again. The "crux hill" for us 2WD cars in much more mellow. Like Mark said above, short of it be very wet (also ice from melted snow), the road is very nice all the way back to the power line for 2WD cars.
By Brianna Chrisman 1
From: Mountain View
May 17, 2017
If you don't have a high clearance vehicle, I would just recommend camping on the pull out directly off the side of the actual (paved) road. It's kind of awkward and feels like maybe you shouldn't be camping there because you're so close to the road, but there are no signs saying anything and we had no problem.

Even trying to get down the initial 1 mi dirt road that mountain project says you go on before you need the 4WD to get up to the rock, we got my car stuck and had to push for two hours to get it out of a ditch. The winter storms have really wrecked this road. And anyways, there's not really anywhere to camp by that gate at the end of the road and I don't think you would save that much time walking up to the rock anyways if you made it to the end of the road (before the turnoff).

For driving to the top of the rock, it seems to me that you would need one HELL of a 4WD to get up there. Like maybe a monster truck or ATV?!

Tollhouse rock is beautiful, with a fairly miserable approach (but getting to the top of the rock is really gorgeous), and some seriously sandbagged routes (non-locals, beware!).

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