Sonora Pass (Hwy 108)
Submitted by: M.Morley
DescriptionThe Sonora Pass area is a short drive from Northern California's major population centers, yet offers rock like Tahoe AND Yosemite without the crowds of either destination.
It includes many diverse climbing areas along highway 108. They span from the San Joaquin Valley to the west, up over the Sierra crest at Sonora Pass itself, and down into the Great Basin to the east. Climbs of every style and difficulty can be found along the width of the mountain range.
Approaches range from roadside pullouts with painted grades (established by the US Marines on public land near their Mountain Warfare Training Center), to remote and wild alpine lines requiring both luck and determination to climb successfully.
In the fall, Table Mountain, especially around the Grotto, is one of the most beautiful places in the state. However, learn about its paradoxical access issues before visiting the Gold Wall or Jail House Rock areas there. They contain some of the finest climbing around, but aren't documented online or in guidebooks.
A 2013 edition of "A Climber's Guide to the Sonora Pass Highway" may increase visits.
Other updates beyond the book can be found at the Sonora Pass Climbing website.
Getting ThereFrom the west, head east on Hwy 108 from the small community of Sonora.
From the east, head west on Hwy 108 from Bridgeport at the junction of Hwy 395.
Note that the highway is closed in winter, generally November through May. Check dot.ca.gov/hq/roadinfo/sr108 for road conditions and closures.
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