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El Cariso

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
1st Problem 
5.7 Finger crack T 
A Bachelor No More S,TR 
A Couple Good Moves 
A Few Good Moves 
Another fun crack 
another warm up 
Big Day At Pink House 
Brain, The 
Burn Victim 
Corner, The 
Easy Squeezy 
El Chorizo 
el diente  
Fire hose 
Foot Loose 
Girl in the Curl V1 T 
Grumpy Man (aka old man) 
Grumpy Man Reverse 
Her Scar 
Holy Crack! 
Kat, The 
Left mini arete 
Lost and Losing 
Mohawk Kid 
Nice Warm Up 
no shoots just ladders  
Not So Tight Squeeze  
Off Camber 
Pip-Boy 3000 
Pipe Around 
Pipe Down 
Pizza Face 
Reverse Traverse 
Seam to Seam 
Shin Splints 
Shocker , The 
short off width 
slabby face S,TR 
Slim Jim S,TR 
Switch Hitter 
Thin Slab  
Un-named 5.9 Slab 
unknown slab S,TR 
unnamed  S 
unnamed B1 
warm up crack 
Washed Out 
Unsorted Routes:

El Cariso  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 3,000'
Location: 33.65301, -117.40964 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 14,857
Administrators: jt512, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Ronnie St. Jean on Aug 23, 2012
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80° | 48°
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Access Sensitive MORE INFO >>>


This is the most secluded climbing i have come across in orange county. I have heard it is written about in an old school climbing guide and it appears in the "Southern California Bouldering Guide" written by Craig Fry. El Cariso seems to be almost forgotten about. When my friend Jeff Mumaugh and I first started climbing there it was completely covered in chaparral growth. Slowly but surely the climbs started to appear and now it is my favorite bouldering spot in the O.C. The Climbing sits on top of three main hills. Numerous Granite boulders make for seemingly endless bouldering. The first two hills have a lot of previous burn so access is easy. The third hill has the largest boulders but a lot of bushes stand in the way of some classic climbs. There are a few really fun sport climbs which I'm guessing Craig Fry put up. Also There is the Aid Boulder which is covered with old pitons and a bolt ladder for aid climbing. The surrounding hills to the west have even more bouldering and potential for sport, top rope, and maybe trad but, be quiet as you go that way because you will be going right next to private property. NOTE: you cannot enter through the neighborhood. The first hill on that side is worth it but it's not really worth going to the far hill yet…
Lets keep this place clean and accessible; please be respectful, pick up trash, follow all general climbing rules, and Don't play loud music! this area echoes and we don't want to piss anyone off! lets all do our part - thank you

Getting There 

If driving from O.C. you pass the Ortega waterfall and make your first left on forest route 3S04. drive past mystic oaks and park at the top of the hill. The parking spot is right before your next left turn that goes to the fire station (vehicles must display forest pass). the approach is a 30 min walk from car to the aid boulder. The first bouldering area is less than a 5 min. walk toward the fire station and head up the dirt road hill that goes to some electrical boxes. pass them and stay on the trail to the boulders on the left.
I have sorted the routes left to right, the left most route are nearest the car and the first problems you will encounter. The right most climbs are toward the end of the trail. The unsorted routes are the routes on the other hill to the west again the first climbs are closer to the car.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.3 miles from here

54 Total Routes

['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',10],['2 Stars',27],['1 Star',11],['Bomb',1]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for El Cariso:
Elysia    V1 5     Boulder   
Pizza Face   V1+ 5     Boulder   
Grumpy Man (aka old man)   V2-3 5+     Boulder   
The Brain   V3 6A     Boulder   
Pipe Around   V3-4 6A+     Boulder   
El Chorizo   V4 6B     Boulder, 8'   
unknown slab   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'   
Slim Jim   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 25'   
slabby face   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, TR   
Browse More Classics in El Cariso

Featured Route For El Cariso
at the crux

Heelnasium V4-5 6B+  CA : Los Angeles Basin : ... : El Cariso
Start with matched hands on either side of where the roof pinches the other large boulder. walk feet up and move up and out across the roof, use a heel hook and mantle up. then its friction to the top. I should add this is a classic for the area, as most of the ratings go for el cariso... they are all rated relative to the area ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of El Cariso Slideshow Add Photo
coolest rattler I've seen out here, I have never s...
coolest rattler I've seen out here, I have never s...
area map
BETA PHOTO: area map
looking at the aid hill from the next hill over SW...
BETA PHOTO: looking at the aid hill from the next hill over SW...
moby dick to grumpy man
BETA PHOTO: moby dick to grumpy man
grumpy man to aid hill
BETA PHOTO: grumpy man to aid hill
parking and first hill beta
BETA PHOTO: parking and first hill beta
plein air cariso; the weather can change fast
plein air cariso; the weather can change fast
late night bouldering, just learning photoshop
late night bouldering, just learning photoshop
monkey wrench stopper... i would clip
monkey wrench stopper... i would clip
to be climbed...
to be climbed...
El Cariso Bouldering from the Craig Fry Southern C...
BETA PHOTO: El Cariso Bouldering from the Craig Fry Southern C...
El Cariso can get snow, this is a view of the firs...
El Cariso can get snow, this is a view of the firs...
The Ortegas got dumped on!
The Ortegas got dumped on!

Comments on El Cariso Add Comment
Show which comments
By Kevin.Riley
From: Laguna Niguel, CA
Jan 15, 2013
Little video showing some new problems...

By Matthew McMillan
From: Orange, CA
Jan 16, 2014
A buddy and I went here a few months ago and felt a little lost. Would anyone who knows the spot well be willing to make a trip here on a weekend sometime? We have plenty of sport climbing gear and boulder pads. Please just post here or message me. Thanks!
By Dean Goolsby
Jan 21, 2014
Hi Matthew. I am one of the original developers of the area. We did most of the developing in the early 90's. Be glad to give you a tour of the place. I also sent you an e/mail. Let me know.
By Matthew McMillan
From: Orange, CA
Feb 3, 2014
Hey Dean, I got your email and finally responded. Me and a buddy are headed to Cariso this weekend and would really appreciate a tour. If you or anyone else (especially someone who knows the area) would like to join us that'd be great.
By Ricky McFerrin
From: San Diego, California
Oct 30, 2014
How is the snake/poison oak situation here? Also, is there anyone available to show me and my friends around? We have plenty of crashpads and psych!
By Ronnie St. Jean
From: Orange County, CA
Dec 30, 2014
Sorry i have not logged on in a while but to answer your question Rick, the poison oak really isn't that bad, however make sure you are familiar with what all stages of the plant look like because it is there. The first and second hill don't really have any poison oak at all from what i've seen. but its around in the wooded areas like the aid hill, and the sport climbs. There is so little of it though, that it can easily be avoided. Steve's Suggestion area has more poison oak but its still easily avoidable. As far as snakes ~ there's not many, i see more at the ortega waterfall, but like most places in so cal, you have a good chance of seeing one on hot days. I usually see them just before sunset as they are trying to catch the last of the days warmth by sitting in the middle of the trail. Remember dog owners - don't let them wander too far because they will be curious if they hear/see a rattler.
also I'm down to show you guys around i will email you when i go this week or next.
I heard the bushes filled the trail in a little bit so it would be helpful if you had a pair of garden sheers or loppers just incase.
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