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Auburn Cliffs

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Scale Wall 
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Twin Towers  
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Auburn Cliffs 


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Location: 38.912, -121.0352 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: Aron Quiter, M.Morley, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Rough on Jan 20, 2003
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Auburn Cliffs
Auburn Quarry Open Daily 'til Sundown! MORE INFO >>>

Description 

FREE GUIDE CAN BE Downloaded from URL below:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-JljyzNho-YVzZwbVVWd1FwTmM/>>>

Within the boundaries of the Auburn State Recreation Area (ASRA) is the remains of an old limestone quarry, formerly the Spreckels quarry. The quarry was bequeathed to the Bureau of Reclamation after the Teichert Inc. had determined that the lower quarry had yielded as much material as was financially feasible. The new land was then included in the State Recreation Area for management by the SRA for the Bureau of Reclamation. The SRA allows recreational usages include hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, camping, mountain biking, gold panning, equestrian/horseback riding trails, off-highway motorcycle riding, and whitewater, with Class II, III and IV runs. Ironically enough, climbing was not addressed in the recreational usage plan despite the quarries large rock cliffs being ideally suited for technical rock climbing.


History 

Technical rock climbing has been practiced in the Old Limestone Quarry located in the ASRA since the late 1980ís. The original climbers established approximately seven rock climbing routes, which required some amount of fixed protection; pitons and protection bolts. From all accounts, early climbers were not discouraged or refused recreational opportunities at this time. Early climbers included Dale Christenson, Eric Kohl, Kirk Arens, and the Hatchet Brothers. On November 18th, 1998, Kirk and friends were practicing rope jumping on an elaborate rigging system. Kirk misjudged the length of his rope jump and was killed in the resultant impact. From this point forward till 2003, climbers were discouraged from using the Auburn SRA for technical rock climbing, but it was not technically illegal to climb there. In 2004, the ASRA created a memorandum banning technical climbing which was in effect until October 2012, where through the hard work of CRAGS (Climbing Resource Advocates for Greater Sacramento), the Access Fund, and local climbers the ban was lifted and climbing could legally resume in the Quarry. Climbers in the early 2000ís started re-exploring the area for rock climbing routes and currently there are almost fifty established routes within the Auburn State Recreation Area. These routes cater to climbers of all levels from easy, moderate, and hard levels of climbing.


Climbing 

The remaining rock cliffs left after the conclusion of active quarrying present a perfect opportunity for performance of technical rock climbing. The rock is highly featured limestone along with other sedimentary rock mixed in. The actual quarrying process itself has created large features, which are ideally suited to climbing.
It is not uncommon to see the Placer County Sheriff use the Old Quarry as a practice grounds for their Search and Rescue Team. So don't be surprised if on occasion you see a large group of folks rappel and jugging the Scale Wall. Please respect their right to use the area for this purpose and find a different wall to climb on until they are done!


Getting There 

  • Highway 80 to Auburn.
  • Exit Elm Ave (exit 119c), and stay left at the fork.
  • Turn left on Elm.
  • .2 miles later, left on El Dorado St (also Hwy 49).
  • Turn right to stay on highway 49, head down the hill and cross the bridge towards Cool (there's a sign.)
  • About a 1/4 mile later, park in the street or in the paid lot on the left (it's hard to see, but it's a VERY wide pull in)

From the parking lot (I advise bringing a bike!!!): Walk about 1 1/2 miles down the main trail (which heads more or less East out of the lot) way above the creek. You'll come to a large fort-like structure with a very wide trail heading straight up a steepish hill right of the main trail, which ends up taking you to the right of the fort. Walk another 150 yards to the FIRST fork, and go right. Follow this still wide (though often quite leaf-covered) trail trough another bend to the left, and you'll pop out at the entrance to the climbing area, with Scale Wall right in front of you.

Approach to close walls : 30 minutes (8 minutes by bike)
Approach to furthest bolted walls: 45 minutes


59 Total Routes


['4 Stars',2],['3 Stars',24],['2 Stars',27],['1 Star',5],['Bomb',0]
['<=5.6',3],['5.7',3],['5.8',5],['5.9',5],['5.10',16],['5.11',12],['5.12',9],['5.13',1],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',0],['V2-3',4],['V4-5',0],['V6-7',0],['V8-9',1],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Auburn Cliffs:
Diagon Alley   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Horseshoe Canyon
M+M   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Scale Wall
WMD's and Tinker Toys   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Twin Towers
Uncomfortably Dumb   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Horseshoe Canyon
Sneaky   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   Memorial Wall
Vacavillain   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Horseshoe Canyon
Obliteration Divine   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   Wreckage Wall
Hunger Pains   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Wreckage Wall
Unknown   5.10c 6b 20 VII E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Scale Wall
Howler Monkey   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Wreckage Wall
Let's Roll   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Twin Towers
Therapy Session   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   The Patio
Bionic Bitch Slap   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Wreckage Wall
Mr. Wipple's Wild Ride   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 80'   Wreckage Wall
Destructomatic   5.11b 6c 23 VIII- E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Wreckage Wall
Release the Lions   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 100'   Twin Towers
Human Oddity   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Horseshoe Canyon
Chariots on Fire   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 200'   Twin Towers
Triathlon   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Wreckage Wall
Bat Karma   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Horsepoo Canyon
Browse More Classics in Auburn Cliffs

Featured Route For Auburn Cliffs
The lower tricky crux of Triathlon.

Triathlon 5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b  CA : Sacramento Valley/Foothills : ... : Wreckage Wall
Start to the right border of the large overhang on the Wreckage Wall. Start up an easy bolt to a vertical low crux on smooth rock. Hit the middle portion of the climb following larger holds to a techy microcrux as the wall steepens. Once over the bulge, easier climbing to the anchors....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

News and Events For Auburn Cliffs
Photos of Auburn Cliffs Slideshow Add Photo
overlook at the cliffs on a beautiful spring evening, first bit of th Wreckage wall can be seen on the right of the frame.
overlook at the cliffs on a beautiful spring eveni...
morning sun
morning sun
Seriously people! Important to look out for Rattle Snakes! <br /> <br />My climbing partner almost walked right onto this guy. It was right in front of Scale Wall.
Seriously people! Important to look out for Rattle...
Josh Horniak clawing his way up Release the Lions .11c. Wreckage Wall. Auburn Quarry, CA.
Josh Horniak clawing his way up Release the Lions ...
A view of the cliffs from the mouth. Photo by Travis Mortz
A view of the cliffs from the mouth. Photo by Trav...
Please don't sack line at the Quarry. This activity could result in the area being shut down. Thx.
Please don't sack line at the Quarry. This activit...
do NOT be tempted to poach any of the illegal routes unless you have a deep pocket for the fine!
do NOT be tempted to poach any of the illegal rout...
From the ledge overlooking the Wreckage Wall and down and left you can see the Scale Wall.
BETA PHOTO: From the ledge overlooking the Wreckage Wall and d...
auburn quarry
auburn quarry
Upper section of Auburn cliffs.
Upper section of Auburn cliffs.
The new sign: Cave Valley Climbing Area.
BETA PHOTO: The new sign: Cave Valley Climbing Area.
bill price lacing up for pitch 2, twin towers. auburn quarry.
bill price lacing up for pitch 2, twin towers. aub...
afternoon sun
afternoon sun
this sign no longer exists
this sign no longer exists
The Colosseum - right side.
The Colosseum - right side.
Great local crag for Sac locals.
Great local crag for Sac locals.
Auburn Cliffs
Auburn Cliffs
Bill Price working his project
Bill Price working his project
A panorama of the left half of the entrance area.  Watch out for rattlesnakes!  If there's anything I can add or need to change, pm me.
BETA PHOTO: A panorama of the left half of the entrance area. ...
Great local crag for Sac locals. Lets keep it clean and ethical!
Great local crag for Sac locals. Lets keep it clea...
Bill Price on, Hunger Pains. 5.10b
Bill Price on, Hunger Pains. 5.10b
auburn quarry
auburn quarry
Crazy looking slab in the back of the quarry. Any routes on it?
Crazy looking slab in the back of the quarry. Any ...
Comments on Auburn Cliffs Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 17, 2014
By Rough
Aug 8, 2012

Brennen, It is great to hear people are being allowed to climb out there already, but I can tell you officially from the ASRA perspective the things you listed are not their "only concerns". A couple of quick reminders about Auburn and things you can do to ensure it stays open:

- Be respectful of other user groups (hikers, mtn bikers, equestrians)
- Avoid Boom Boxes. The canyon echoes like crazy and your loud music will be enjoyed / have to be tolerated by everyone.
- Clean up all trash you see, yours or otherwise. Climbers have a tradition of being the driving force for keeping the Quarry clean. Let's keep it up!
- No camping / leave by dark. This is an official park rule.
- Try to use the porta potties on the way and pack out all human waste in plastic bags. This is one of the ASRAs biggest concerns and hence while CRAGS is required to provide a bathroom if Auburn is to stay open.

So! Let's keep Auburn open by being an example user group that the park sees as self managing. We are in a 2 month "trial" period where the ASRA will re-evaluate things / access after 2 months. It is critical we put on the best face possible during this time!

By Rough
Oct 12, 2012

Any wall facing East will get afternoon shade: Memorial Wall, Extension of Surf Tower, Horseshoe Canyon, and several completely untouched walls. The wall by far with the most potential is the extension or farther right area of the Wreckage Wall.

By Justin Smestad
From: San Jose
Oct 12, 2012

Hello Nor Cal climbers! I just recently moved to the Bay area and I have been trying to look around for some good sport climbing crags. From researching, looks like Auburn Cliffs is a good place to go especially now that it is open to climbers. I was wondering if there are any guide books out there for the area and if so, where can I buy one.

And if anyone needs a partner on a weekend, I have a rope, draws, anchors webbing, ect for climbing. just shoot me an email at inde_rida2000@yahoo.com or text me at (701)340-1966.
My name is Justin

By Rough
Oct 13, 2012

I just want to say thanks to the Sac/Bay climbing community. How awesome it has been the last few weekends seeing everyone enjoying themselves and climbing routes. These last few weekends have been everything I thought Auburn could be, and now is. For that, I want to say thank you :)

By booster
Oct 29, 2012

I was wondering if there is any kind of bolting protocol in effect now that this place is newly "opened"
If you want to put up routes can you just go for it? or do you guys want to let the access issues simmer for a while?

By Rough
Oct 29, 2012

Booster,

There are no restrictions on bolting. Myself and a few others are rebolting some climbs that got vandalized over the closure years, and putting new ones in as well.

Most of the routes in the Quarry are mine, and I am certainly open to others jumping in and adding routes. A couple of recommendations from me would be:

- Be prepared to clean...A LOT! This isn't a granite area and each route takes quite a bit of time to clean as much loose rock / debris as possible.
- Be careful! Coming in from the top of any of the cliffs is a lot more tricky than it looks due to loose rock, scree, and cliff length.
- Use 1/2" if you can afford it, but at least 3/8" x 2.75". Preferred stainless.
- Paint any anchors you put in to help minimize visual impact.
- Try to drill on Fridays or Sundays if you can. Saturday is definitely the busiest day in the quarry for sure.
- Have at least one other person in group dedicated to keeping people clear of the area you are working on due to guaranteed rock fall.
- Given the amount of potential for new routes, I would suggest working on new formations / walls, not just adding more routes squeezed in between existing routes.

Hopefully you have previous bolting experience before you start. If you don't, consider getting someone who is experienced to help you with your first one or two routes to get a feel for it. Developing new routes is not rocket science, but it does have quite a bit of necessary knowledge to keep safe and put up good routes.

Have fun and feel free to email me any new info / routes you put up! I have a topo I am in the process of updating and will be releasing shortly.

By Salamanizer
Administrator
From: Vacaville Ca.
Oct 29, 2012

Hopefully you have previous bolting experience before you start. If you don't, consider getting someone who is experienced to help you with your first one or two routes to get a feel for it. Developing new routes is not rocket science, but it does have quite a bit of necessary knowledge to keep safe and put up good routes.


I have to second this comment. I watched recently as several people who obviously had no idea what they were doing were in the beginning stages of putting up a new route out there. Topropeing an obviously dangerous and loose section of crap (assume they picked that spot because it had a convenient place to anchor to on top) and trundling blocks while the belayer was in the danger zone for falling rocks. They then began marking where bolts might go before any proper cleaning was done with several of those marks on loose blocks and in ridiculous and poorly chosen spots that left the leader in danger of taking big falls onto ledges. It was a total junk show.

I've also witnessed the destruction, poor bolt locations and ugliness left behind by someone who doesn't really know what they're doing out at Pine Canyon as well. Poorly placed bolts in bad locations, second guessing bolt placements and moving them leaving the old bolts studs sticking out and a mess of glue oozing out from everywhere.

It's an obvious example of some of the things that can occur when you're new to the game. If you don't really know what your doing, ask someone who does to give you a hand for the first few. I've placed hundreds of bolts and still manage to screw something up from time to time.

Just ask, chances are there are several people with experience willing to help out with not only knowledge, but tools, drills, ropes and all sorts of stuff.

The last thing the climbing world needs is another ugly botch job or squeeze job.

By Imatzu
Nov 12, 2012

We are coming from Idaho to visit family and would love to try out the Auburn Cliffs- we will be there Nov 19-23... does the area get enough sun to be warm enough?

By Rough
Nov 12, 2012

As long as it hasn't rained in two days, you should easily be able to chase the sun throughout the day and stay cozy! I would suggest layering to make sure you stay warm.

By Rough
Feb 13, 2013

I have linked the free topo in the description as well as here:

https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B-JljyzNho-YVzZwbVVWd1FwTmM/>>>

By mike carville
Feb 16, 2013

Hello Aaron,
Ran into John Robinson at the Auburn Quarry yesterday. We climb there a few weeks ago for the first time and had fun. On the way out we looked at Wreckage Wall and big cliff to right - wow! Also checked out the Well area. John said you are the guy to talk to about new routes. Wanted to let you know that we started a couple lines on the big wall. Release the Lions .11c goes to old anchors center of wall. Just to the left of that is Chariots on Fire .11bish. Both lines are about 100 ft.

To the left of those lines, we fixed a 200 ft line. We have TR the moves, done some cleaning and drilled a couple bolts. Should come in at mid 5.11. As the local guide book author we wanted to introduce ourselves (Mike Carville/Josh Horniak) and let you know what we've been up to there. Should be a great winter cliff. We may be out there Sunday. If you're around come up and jump on the new lines. Cheers, Mike

Release the Lions .11c. Twin Towers, Auburn Quarry, CA.
Release the Lions .11c. Twin Towers, Auburn Quarry, CA.

By Rough
Feb 18, 2013

Looks awesome Mike! Thanks for the heads up, I'll update the topo and welcome to Auburn!

By John M Ross
Mar 12, 2013

If anyone ever needs a partner for here, im free every Sunday and most Saturdays, i climb here often and am very familiar with the area. just looking for people to climb with since i lost my partner!

By Mathew G
Mar 20, 2013

I've seen significant climber-induced rockfall every time I've been here. Belayers use lots of caution!

By Grumpy Gym Climber
Mar 23, 2013

Just went out today for the first time. A great area, but a couple of comments/cautions. The online guide (link in the description above) is very helpful but not always up to date. There were several climbs that were missing bolts and several others that are in the process of having bolts replaced (Thank You!). We found one loose bolt, as we were cleaning a 5.9 on Scale Wall. Speaking of cleaning, be ready to deal with dirty climbs (mud appears to run off of the top of Scale Wall). We also cleared a loose cobble sized rock and numerous other smallish rocks and dirt.

By Sam Prentice
From: CA
Mar 31, 2013

A buddy and I back in 2001-ish used to come here and clip bolts on the DL. Western slope so desperately needed a sport place.

So sweet to see the ravine finally get green-lighted for climbing! Thanks much to all who put in the effort with Auburn SRA bureaucrats.

By Mr Snrub
From: Bishop, CA
Apr 6, 2013

Spent a good amount of time here when I first started climbing 10 years ago. Not a bad place to learn some good sport techniques, but once you venture out to Tahoe, Yosemite, Sonora and other classic areas you'll never come back to Auburn. I'm glad they opened it though, it beats sneaking around fo sho.

By John M Ross
May 25, 2013

Does anyone know about the anchors right below the tunnel/cave that about chest height? for people that have been climbing here for years are these the anchors for the well that you used to have to Rap into in order to climb?

By Rough
May 25, 2013

Brennen,

Yeah those would either be the old anchors to Blasting Chamber 5.12d, Bonk 5.13, or Well Deserved 5.10b. Those routes used to be full sport pitches till they bulldozed the earth in. I should probably go in there to at least get my hardware back now that the lines are ruined :(

By John M Ross
May 26, 2013

wow such a bummer i wish i could have seen those lines!!! thats alot of earth they have moved in there!! i hope it stops soon, there is some beautiful lines up in there! yeah those hangers are right at chest height could grab them with ease!

By Rough
May 26, 2013

Hey Brennen, If you don;t mind grabbing them, please do! I'll PM you to hook up and get them from you at some time. This way that hardware will be used to support more routes at Auburn!

By John M Ross
May 26, 2013

sure next time i get out there, hopefully monday, ill pull em off

By Rennie Putnam
From: Davis, CA
May 28, 2013

Was out at the Quarry today climbing at Wreckage wall and had a chance to look at the 6 or 7 new routes which have gone up to the right (this is called Twin Towers area, I believe?) They appear to be real gems.

Many thanks to those taking time (and money) to safely develop this humble crag. You are appreciated.

By John M Ross
Jul 8, 2013

Just Spoke with the Rangers today, PLEASE PLEASE DO NOT CLIMB DURING THE WEEK, repeat DO NOT CLIMB DURING THE WEEK, he said they are stepping up patrol/enforcement and WILL start ticketing next week, as well as if people continue to climb during the week, we WILL lose the quarry for climbing FOREVER! if you hear about people climbing during the week pass this info along, i do not want to lose this spot. again, DO NOT CLIMB AT THE QUARRY DURING THE WEEK! Fri-sun and holidays ONLY!!!

By Steve Montesanto
Jan 22, 2014

What's the word on when the quarry will start being open to climbing 7 days a week?

By Matt Franklin
Apr 7, 2014

Open for climbing 7 days a week as of this past Saturday:

norcalcrags.org/category/news/

By Coco Bell
2 days ago

Now that it's open 7 days a week who wants to go after work? looking for a partner M-Th around 5 who is motivated to get in a couple quick routes before dark!