Located far into Northern California, Castle Crags is a unique and enormous area that consists of fair to excellent quality granite spires, domes and walls, most with views of Mt. Shasta. Climbs range in height from 20 feet to over 900 feet.
The majority of the climbing is trad, but there is a small sportier area known as the Pin Cushion Wall. Pretty cool white / light grey rock that's overwhelming in quantity. Most the cracks are pretty easy to protect. Venturing out onto the dikes, where more solid rock can be found can require more creative placement than the mindless cam-to-crack-ing that can occur on your way up your average crack.
You can camp year-round in Castle Crags State Park either in the designated camp-sites ($14/site with running water and showers) or near the rock (where you have to pack in water) a 1.5 hour hike uphill from the camp. Fires are usually not permitted in the back country during the summer months, so consider that in your planning.
Also, the nearby town is supposed to be cute - but I didn't visit it. However, my friends did and it seems Dunsmuir has most camping necessities available.
Other than being a really long ways from the Bay Area (3-5 hours, depending where you live), the only other negative to this excellent climbing area is the minimum 1 hour (and sometimes 2 1/2) hour steadily uphill 1500 - 3000 vertical feet gain approach. If you're not warmed up by the time you're at your route, you're insane.
From the Bay Area (or almost anywhere in California) get on 5 Northbound. About 45 miles north of Redding you'll get one Warning Sign 'Castle Crags State Park - Next Exit'. About 3/4 of a mile further, exit and hang a left. Follow the signs to the Park, then depending on your agenda park either near the campsites or up at Vista Point (also known as Viewpoint in Davis' Classic Rock Climbs). If you're staying backcountry overnight you must park at the State Park Scenic Overlook (near the campsites). Day Parking permits are $4/day, or if you're paying to camp, you park for free.
Check out that Map! Pretty bleak, huh?
6 Total Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',1],['2 Stars',3],['1 Star',1],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Castle Crags
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Castle Crags:
Featured Route For Castle Crags
Cosmic Wall 5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b
: Shasta Cascade
: ... : The Ogre aka Mt. Hubris
Excellent route up the East face of Mt. Hubris. The climbing stays pretty easy but is run out.Pitch 1: 190' 5.5Start at a low point along the East face at a large pine tree below a huge right facing corner. Start out on easy ground up the corner, pass a tree continuue up the face above and belay on a good ledge with a tree.Pitch 2: 110' 5.6Move up and right following broken rock in a dyke system. When the face nears vertical step right to a bolt anchor on a comfortable ledge.Pitch 3: 150' 5.6 Ma...[more] Browse More Classics in CA
Local Information for Castle Crags
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 16, 2004
This area is fun to explore and wasn't very popular when I was last there (over 15 years ago). The rock is limestone which varies in quality, some of it is amazingly sharp, like limestone can get.
|By George Bell|
From: Boulder, CO
Jun 23, 2004
Granite!! Really? Yikes, I guess my neurons are getting so old, every climb today is an onsight. I remember where that sharp limestone was?
|By Adam Hicks`|
Aug 28, 2004
_castle Crags is a granite pluton that has been exposed by years of erosion as well as uplifted a wee bit. The area is different than Yosemite in that it has not been polished by glaciers and in that it is an exfoliating pluton, meaning much of what you touch will soon fall.
Dunsmuir is cute, and is getting cuter by the day, but the best camping is either at the state park proper or up the road at Lake Siskiyou. There's more camping even higher by Castle Lake, which is also a prime point to begin a long and very arduous backside (and thus free) approach into Castle Crags.
I don't mean to plug shamelessly, but Shasta Mountain Guides has an infinite wealth of knowledge on the Crags and are worth contacting for information. They do, of course, also guide there.
|By Patrick Sawyer|
From: Californian Living in Ireland
Aug 4, 2005
I first climbed in Castle Crags in 1974 and a bit in 1975. I haven't been back since but I am surprised the area isn't a bit more developed, though I do remember that the granite wasn't the best in places. That said, there must be enough solid rock there. I have googled for a site dedicated to the Crags but nada. Summit.org and Rockclimbing.com had the best information.
I just registered so my name won't appear, so I guess I'm in at anonymous coward (not too far off from the truth). Patrick Sawyer, Walnut Creek/Lafayette and now Dublin, Ireland