A premier bouldering locale of southern california, the granite boulders call out to any climber who visits this area. A variety of boulder problems are found, both in terms of steepness and grades. Located at 7500 ft, bouldering here is in a beautiful mountain setting - pine trees are as plentiful as the boulders are.
Most newcomers to Black Mountain quickly notice two things: 1) the problems here are often tall and off-the-deck 2) the ratings are HARD for the grade. Fear not - many of the most visible problems are indeed tall (20+ feet in Boulder Basin), but shorter problems can be found if one looks close enough. As for the grades, I'd suggest leaving your egos at home...
The area is primarily a summer and fall destination site. The rangers lock the gates to Black Mtn during the winter and early spring months. Call the Idyllwild Ranger Station (909-382-2921) regarding questions about access to Boulder Basin campground if in doubt.
Weekends can be crowded, especially in Boulder Basin with many families (read: groups with kids) running around. Please be courteous and ask for permission before climbing on any problems that are in someone else's campsite.
Pit toilets are available in Boulder Basin. Although water (technically not drinkable...) can be piped into the campsite, spigots are shut off during drought seasons. Be sure to bring your own water just in case.
Camping: $10 dollars per night for a site in Boulder Basin Campground.
Parking outside of the campsites is extremely limited. Be Green and carpool if at all possible. In addition, cars parked outside of paid campsites require an Adventure Pass - contact the rangers in Idyllwild for more information.
From L.A., take Interstate 10 east. Get off at highway 243 and head south towards Idyllwild. After about 30 minutes, turn left onto Black Mountain Road (look for a sign that says "Boulder Basin Campground").
After about 5 miles, you will arrive at OK Corral. A little less than a mile up the road, take the left turn towards Boulder Basin.
Please note that the 6 miles of dirt road is rough. Each year the road is in varying states of "drivable conditions". Generally, although it is possible to make it up the dirt road, I would highly recommend a 4x4 vehicle. Please drive slowly on this road as it narrows in places.
This is a proud face problem on the north side of the Kong Boulder. The holds are all slopers and smears, and require dry fingertips as well as an almost irrational trust in one's sticky rubber shoes. There's a definite crux - a bulge 10' up - but the whole thing is pretty entertaining. An old-school masterpiece....[more]Browse More Classics in CA
CRUXMedia and HairlessMonkeyFilms bring you the first episode of "Crimpin' Aint Easy." Episode 1 features professional climbers Roland Wagner and Chris Lindner and was shot on location around several well known rock climbing havens in Southern California including: Mt. Woodson, Black Mountain and Tramway.
Parking beta: pay to park in the lot by the campground if you're not camping. On 8/24/13 I parked near the gate on the road that leads to the Rounded Boulders and fire lookout, and got a $125 ticket. There are no parking signs on the gate itself, but I was 80 feet from it, and completely off the road.
I spoke to the ranger who gave the the ticket. He was pretty unreasonable, claiming that no parking signs apply as far as you can see them, that the existence of a parking lot down the road implied that it was illegal to park anywhere else, that I should have read the campsite rules board even if I wasn't camping, etc. But then he called me a couple of days later to tell me that he revoked the ticket. He also said that they would put up clearer signs.
Also, the National Parks pass with hang tag that used to work as an Adventure Pass (which don't exist any more, apparently) is not an acceptable substitute for paying the $5 to park in the lot.