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Central Coast

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Big Sur 
Camarillo Springs Boulder (Lonesome Cube) 
Carmel River State Beach (aka Stewart's Cove) 
Conejo Mountain 
Crab Town 
Gainsborough Boulders 
Hwy 166/Silly Rock 
Hwy 33/Ojai 
Panther Beach 
Pinnacles National Monument 
Point Mugu 
San Luis Obispo 
Santa Barbara 
Tar Creek (the Swimming Hole) 
Wagon Caves 
Rest Day:
Nearby Mountain Bike Rides

East West Ranch Access
Provides access to trails on east west ranch - great views of the ocean and pine forest. Near Morro Bay, CA
Oats Peak Trail
A climb to the highest ridge and peaks in Montana D'Oro SP. Near Los Osos, CA
Hazard Peak Trail
A relatively tame trail up to wonderful views plus a fast descent off the backside. Near Morro Bay, CA
Johnson Ranch Loop
A smooth loop trail popular with hikers and bikers alike. Near San Luis Obispo, CA
Lopez Lake Area Tour
A good longer ride around Lopez Lake Near Arroyo Grande, CA
White Rock Trail
A fun twisty trail dropping down the east flank of Figueroa mountain. Near Solvang, CA
From MP's sister site: MTB Project

Central Coast  


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Location: 35.2725, -120.6676 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 1,993,193
Administrators: andy patterson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: M.Morley on Feb 13, 2006
Forecast:
You & This Area
Best routes for YOU in this area
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Ken Klis on Edgeucation, Bishop Peak summit. photo...

Description 

Located between major urban centers Los Angeles to the south and the San Francisco Bay to the north, the quaint Central Coast of California spans a 300-mile stretch from the southern Santa Monica Mountains to the northern Monterey Peninsula. While known primarily for surfing, celebrities, exorbitant real estate prices, and wine-tasting (the movie "Sideways" was filmed locally), there is actually surprisingly good climbing to be found. The majority of rock around Santa Barbara, Ventura, and Ojai is medium-grade sandstone (i.e., a little friable), but there's also blue schist (Green Dome), andesite (SLO), and conglomerate (Silly Rock, Wheeler Gorge) out there. The climbing is by no means world class, but what it lacks in quality it makes up for in aesthetics. As a friend of mine would say, "maybe not 4-star climbing, but makes for a 4-star day!"

Areas like the Sespe Gorge (Black Wall) had established routes as early as the late 50s and 60s. Over the years, many well-known climbers have graced these small cliffsides, including the likes of Yvon Chouinard (Yosemite legend and founder/owner of Patagonia), Jonny Woodward (Black Diamond), Jim Donini and even Henry Barber!

Around Santa Barbara and Ventura, pioneers of the '80s and '90s included Kevin Brown, Kevin Steele, Steve Tucker, Menzo Baird, Bob Banks (author of "Ocean's Eleven") and Steve Edwards (guidebook author of "Rock Climbing Santa Barbara & Ventura"), who established many of the newer sport routes around Santa Barbara and Hwy 166/Silly Rock.

In San Luis Obispo county, pioneers include Rusty Garing, Dwight Kroll, Pete Gulyash, brothers Tim and Tobin Sorenson, Ed Sampson, Ken Klis, Tom Slater (guidebook author of "California Central Coast Climbs"), and Brandon Thau. Slater, Thau, and Klis are responsible for developing such crags as Cerro Romauldo, Cabrillo Peak and Big Rocks.

Former Access Fund director Reese Martin lived in the area for a time. Sadly, he was killed in a paragliding accident in July 2004 at the age of 49 (More...). Here is a link to some of his favorites along California's beautiful Central Coast.

Guidebooks 


  • Climbing in Santa Barbara, Ventura, and San Luis Obispo (1994), by Steve Tucker & Kevin Steele (out of print)

Getting There 

Hwy 101 is the major artery between Ventura and San Luis Obispo (and beyond). 99% of the routes described here lie either off the 101, 154 (San Marcos Pass), 33 (Ojai), or 166 (east of Santa Maria). Refer to specific area for details and directions.

This map will help get you oriented.

Climbing Season



Weather station 1.9 miles from here

1,389 Total Routes

['4 Stars',93],['3 Stars',501],['2 Stars',504],['1 Star',233],['Bomb',4]
['<=5.6',89],['5.7',78],['5.8',118],['5.9',106],['5.10',189],['5.11',116],['5.12',48],['5.13',21],['>=5.14',6],['',0],['<=V1',153],['V2-3',215],['V4-5',116],['V6-7',70],['V8-9',45],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',18],['>=V14',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Central Coast:
Goldak   V0 4     Boulder, 18'   The Lizard's Mouth : The Mouth
Lizards' Mouth Traverse   V0+ 4+     Boulder, 40'   The Lizard's Mouth : The Mouth
The Extremist   V1 5     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Extremist Boulder
Charlotte's Web   V3 6A     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Charlotte's Web Area
Yeti   V4 6B     Boulder, 15'   The Brickyard : Yeti Boulder
Smooth Criminal   V6 7A     Boulder, 12'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
Rattled by the Rush   V7+ 7A+     Boulder, 15'   * Santa Barbara Bouldering : Bay Tree Boulders
Dancing Outlaw   V8 7B     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
60 Seconds Over Soledad   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Bishop Peak : Cracked Wall
Portent   5.6 4c 14 V 12 S 4b R     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 120'   East Side : Discovery Wall
Shadow   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b R     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 80'   Bishop Peak : Shadow Rock
Ending Crack   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 200'   Hwy 33/Ojai : Sespe Gorge (Black Wall)
P-Crack   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 80'   Bishop Peak : P-Wall
I Wanna Be Your Pussy Cat   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 65'   Panic Town : Wall 3
Permanent Income Hypothesis   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 180'   The Fortress : Right Side Gully
The Wet Kiss   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   East Side : Discovery Wall
Great Race   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   Santa Barbara : San Ysidro
Camel   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 50'   Bishop Peak : Cracked Wall
T-Crack   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Gibraltar Area : Gibraltar Rock
Post Orgasmic Depression   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ 22 E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   East Side : Monolith
Browse More Classics in Central Coast

Featured Route For Central Coast
Menzo Baird hiding behind the trees en route to th...

Fantastic Coffee 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  CA : Central Coast : ... : Wall 2
The first, far right long crack on Wall 2 - a great route to get acquainted with the wall. Take the crack straight up over a few lips, then decide which diagonal crack line you want to take to the oak on the ledge up left. Excellent pro throughout. Rap off the ring.)...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Central Coast Slideshow Add Photo
The Central Coast offers outstanding rest-day oppo...
The Central Coast offers outstanding rest-day oppo...
Young Elephant Seal. Photo by Blitzo.
Young Elephant Seal. Photo by Blitzo.
You can't beat the winter sunsets, driving home fr...
You can't beat the winter sunsets, driving home fr...
Of all of the Central Coast's amazing native anima...
Of all of the Central Coast's amazing native anima...
California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
A Western Gull stands guard over a Central Coast c...
A Western Gull stands guard over a Central Coast c...
Over-wintering Monarch butterfly, Central Coast of...
Over-wintering Monarch butterfly, Central Coast of...
California gulls-the State Bird of Utah. Photo by ...
California gulls-the State Bird of Utah. Photo by ...
Beautiful scenery just a mile east of Gilroy.
Beautiful scenery just a mile east of Gilroy.
Tidal Pool-Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
Tidal Pool-Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
Burned leaves from a coast live oak--photographed ...
Burned leaves from a coast live oak--photographed ...
A little cliff along the beautiful highway 152.  T...
A little cliff along the beautiful highway 152. T...
Starfish. Photo by Blitzo.
Starfish. Photo by Blitzo.
Pt Mugu NAS from Mugu Peak. Mugu marks the souther...
Pt Mugu NAS from Mugu Peak. Mugu marks the souther...
I think the sea lion, the starfish and the butterf...
BETA PHOTO: I think the sea lion, the starfish and the butterf...
The city of Ventura was once home to several nice ...
The city of Ventura was once home to several nice ...
California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
California Central Coast. Photo by Blitzo.
Emma Wood State Park. Just north of the Ventura ri...
Emma Wood State Park. Just north of the Ventura ri...
Montana de Oro Beach, near Morro Bay. Photo by Bli...
Montana de Oro Beach, near Morro Bay. Photo by Bli...
Still feeling nostalgic--here's one more shot of t...
Still feeling nostalgic--here's one more shot of t...

Comments on Central Coast Add Comment
Show which comments
By EricT
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Feb 14, 2006
Nice work Mike, and a good description of the central coast as well.
By Slater
Oct 7, 2009
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