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Toxic Waste Wall

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Chemical Warfare S 
Hazardous Waste T 
Stimpy on Crack T 
Toxic Socks S 
Two Stone Wipe S 
Wasted Effort TR 

Toxic Waste Wall Rock Climbing 

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Location: 34.4767, -119.6792 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 4,698
Administrators: andy patterson, M. Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer suchoski, Justin Johnsen, Vicki Schwantes, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M. Morley on Feb 3, 2006


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BETA PHOTO: Two Stone Wipe on Toxic Waste Wall


Toxic Waste Wall was developed as a high-quality sport climbing crag almost entirely by the efforts of Pat Briggs & Tony Becchio during 1991/92. Also involved were local guidebook author Steve Edwards, Tim Brown, Dave Griffith and Scott Buchanan.

I think of Upper Gibraltar and Toxic Waste Wall as basically the same crag. I typically start at the left end of TWW and work my way right towards Upper Gib. There aren't too many places within an hour's drive of SB that you can knock out a half dozen or so pretty good routes in a half day. As I have mentioned in several route descriptions, take a light rack to supplement bolt protection, and you should be fine. There may not be a bolt every body length, but I certainly wouldn't call it overly runout, dangerous or scary (if you are looking for that, go lead some of the routes at San Ysidro!).

All routes face due south, making it a great winter destination and fairly miserable during the summer months. Spectacular ocean views. As with most areas around Santa Barbara, watch for poison oak at the base of the routes and on the approach.

Getting There 

From the Sheffield Reservoir at the NE corner of 192 and Mountain Drive, drive north along the winding Gibraltar Road for several miles (~15-20 minutes). Just before reaching the Main Gibraltar Rock, there is a hairpin turn to the left. Park here in the established pullout on the right (east) side of the road. If you pass under an obvious bolted face (the old Bolt Ladder) directly above the road, you've gone just a bit too far.

Note: it is possible to hike all the way from Skofield Park up the Rattlesnake Canyon Trail (~1.5 hrs) should Gibraltar Road be closed due to rockslides/construction or if you're just looking for a little extra exercise. The hike is beautiful and highly recommended.

Climbing Season

For the Gibraltar Area area.

Weather station 3.0 miles from here

6 Total Climbing Routes

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

Classic Climbing Routes in Toxic Waste Wall

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Toxic Waste Wall:
Two Stone Wipe   5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   
Hazardous Waste   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Trad, 1 pitch, 80'   
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Toxic Waste Wall

Featured Route For Toxic Waste Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: Two Stone Wipe on Toxic Waste Wall

Two Stone Wipe 5.9- 5c 17 VI 16 HVS 4c PG13  California : Central Coast : ... : Toxic Waste Wall
This is the seam/crack between Chemical Warfare and The Crockostimpy. A good warm-up route with easy 5.6/5.7 moves to a diagonal crack/flake you reach by climbing out of a grainy pod at the top (the 5.9- move).Staying on the face left of the pod and directly above the hole (and committing to the thin crimps) raises the grade to 10c.Following the crack the entire way (left side) brings the whole climb down to 5.7 (and that's being generous)....[more]   Browse More Classics in California

Photos of Toxic Waste Wall Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Toxic Waste Wall
Toxic Waste Wall
Rock Climbing Photo: View from the crag. march 2012
View from the crag. march 2012
Rock Climbing Photo: The key routes at Toxic Waste Wall
BETA PHOTO: The key routes at Toxic Waste Wall

Comments on Toxic Waste Wall Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Feb 26, 2015
By Stephen Pratt
From: Goleta, CA
Jul 10, 2006
It seems like the two right-most routes and also that route on the left with the red webbing needs permenant anchors placed above them. The bolts seem just fine, but the anchors on top are pretty shady or non existant. I know I'd appreciate if someone took the time and effort to do that. If I had the gear I'd do it myself, but I'd need someone to teach me how first... anyone?? :-D
By Stephen Pratt
From: Goleta, CA
Jul 30, 2007
My friend and I were climbing at Toxic Waste over the weekend and we replaced the old red and black webbing above Toxic Socks with a new black piece of webbing. We didn't have any tan sandstone colored webbing to match the rock, but we figured that it was pretty neutral (sandstone rock there has black marks) and having a new anchor was most important.
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Aug 11, 2008
"High-quality" and "sport climbing" are misleading. At this stage, most of the lead bolts demonstrate significant corrosion. Nearly all of the top-anchors are of poor quality. Even more importantly, there seems to be no relationship between bolt placements and crux moves or bolt placements and good clipping stances.

The crag feels like it was developed by 5.12/5.13 climbers for whom the bolted protection was merely incidental. Most routes will be hair-raising for anyone who isn't super solid at the grade.

The top-anchors are inexplicable.
By steve edwards
From: SLC, UT
Aug 12, 2008
Terrifying is probably a stretch but I'm sure the place is in need of the renevation after all these years. The anchors were always a bit strange, as this was old school first generation sport climbing. Holds also tend to break, so it is possible the the bolts aren't all in the right places anymore as well. This entire area could be retro'd in an afternoon for less than $100 total. Someone should probably take the time to do it. I would if I were still in the area.
By Jon Hanlon
From: SLO
Aug 12, 2008
I have climbed here lots, and never noticed anything much beyond a bunch of good climbs and fun adventures.

Steve Edwards, could you be a little more specific with your comments? You have said some things that I suspect may result in the area getting "fixed", which in the past has entailed moving bolts, cutting vegetation, relocation of anchors, addition of toprope anchors, and generally making the area toprope ready and safe for the children. Specifically, you said the area could be retro'd. Is this what you are advocating? I guess you have some say in it since you were there for lots of it, but at some point routes belong to everyone. I personally would not like to see Toxic Waste Wall emasculated and "improved." Replace bolts? - Yes, slight adjustment of bolt location due to rock breaking? - Usually. Anything beyond this, in my opinion, No. This sh1t is stealing the soul of climbing.
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Aug 24, 2008
To be clear, Jon, I am not advocating "fixing" anything. I am simply asking for truth in advertising. This is not a modern "sport crag" and should not be referred to as such. True sport crags do not usually have areas where a routine fall will result in a broken ankle

I would prefer if the Area Description used Steve's words:
"old-school, first generation sport crag."
By Jeff Mahoney
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 8, 2008
Having run all these routes again yesterday I agree with Jon that, no, nothing should be retro'd. All the bolts are still in good shape (no spinners, no movement). The runouts are part of the "spice" of the wall, which I quite enjoy; if you're concerned, place a piece in between (a #1 or #.75 is all you'll need for any of the routes). However, I disagree about the top anchors which are just a plain pain in the ass; those should be replaced simply to get rid of all the rat's nests webbing, cord & tat that keeps accumulating. It's kind of a stretch to say that by putting in better top anchors this is going to turn into a "kiddie wall."

On a related note, there's been plenty broken off of Toxic Socks to warrant a 9+ (well, if you stay on the face all the way up).
By Richard Shore
Aug 22, 2009
I used to climb here back in my college days at UCSB. Went back up to the Toxic Wall on 8-8-09 and was very disappointed to see that the wall has essentially been destroyed by recent fires. The face of the wall has literally been baked off. The approach is littered with sharp, angular fragments of rock that came off the wall. On closer inspection, large flakes can easily be pulled off the face wih minimal force. Bolts remain, but their security is highly questionable. Maybe it will clean up years from now and someone can redevelop the whole face. Who knows what climbs exist under the trashed face.

EDIT to add: I finally reclimbed hazardous waste and chemical warfare in may 2011 and was surprised to see that these routes have cleaned up well since the fire. Good fun, though the anchors could use some chains.
By andy patterson
From: Carpinteria, CA
Jun 30, 2011
I think most climbers around here would appreciate some chains on the anchors. Plated steel chains should be fine. Fixe anchor rings are the gold standard, but I believe that some hefty (at least 5/16") chains are sufficient for Toxic Waste wall, especially if you aren't top-roping directly off the chains and are using them only to "extend" the anchor or rappel. Some organizations believe in eliminating the use of chains altogether in favor of Fixe anchor rings (or similar products) but—anectdotally—beefy plated steel chains are quite strong. All in all, I suggest checking out the ASCA website.
By SmartRockClimbing
From: Oceano, CA
Feb 25, 2015
Hi everyone,
I'm thinking of visiting the Toxic Waste Wall or Upper Gibralter area. It sounds like it was affected by a fire a while ago. does anyone have a more recent conditions report (the last comment about these areas are from a while ago).


By andy patterson
From: Carpinteria, CA
Feb 25, 2015
Besides the brush growing mostly back, I don't have any updates on the climbing at Toxic and Upper. Some buddies of mine recently headed up to Upper Gibraltar and had a good time, so I'm going to assume that things are at least climbable.
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
Feb 26, 2015
Upper Gibraltar is in pretty fine shape. A Route Runs Through it has seen many of its lead bolts and 3//8" coldshut hangers replaced. And the rock on this formation was never seriously damaged by the Jesusita Fire.

At last check, the story at the Toxic Waste Wall was another matter. Tons (literally) of rock was blasted off this wall by the rapid expansion of water under the intense heat of the fire. Any bolts that have not been replaced since the Jesusita fire should be treated with suspicion.
By Jan Roestel
Feb 26, 2015
I have climbed up here a few times since the fires, but it has been half a year since I have been up to Toxic Wall. At that time I noticed "Toxic Socks" has had one of the "old chain link on a stud between washers with webbing threaded anchors" replaced with a beefy Rawl and chain.

'Hazardous Waste' and 'Chemical Warfare' had serviceable anchors. Though the webbing on the 'CW' anchor was sun bleached.

'Two Stone Wipe' has a post fire two bolt anchor with chain links which is in an excellent position for rappelling but not toproping unless you extend and add some gear directionals. Best done as a lead, bring up the second, then both rap scenario. TSW's original anchor was a few pieces of webbing around some stout Manzanita. After the fire, well... no Manzanita. It seems that even now, there still isn't much anchor worthy vegetation here.

We didn't climb it but I looked at 'Crock-O-Stimpy' towards the right end of the wall and I decided I didn't want to use myself as a test dummy on the anchor bolts....even if I could get some webbing threaded through the single chain link on threaded studs and washer combo.

In regards to the rock and climbing the routes themselves, it seemed most have achieved a steady state near the same pre-fire grade.

Some lead bolts may feel solid, but they all have been super-heated by the fires and integrity of any installation should be seriously questioned.

BTW, the "access tree" at the start of the wall/trail is hanging on by the last of its roots.

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