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...
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.
Weather station 3.3 miles from here
53 Total Routes
['4 Stars',1],['3 Stars',9],['2 Stars',26],['1 Star',12],['Bomb',1]
Browse More Classics in El Cariso
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for El Cariso:
unknown slab 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b
PG13 Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 30'
Featured Route For El Cariso
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
Local Information for El Cariso
BETA PHOTO: El Cariso Bouldering from the Craig Fry Southern C...
BETA PHOTO: looking at the aid hill from the next hill over SW...
BETA PHOTO: moby dick to grumpy man
BETA PHOTO: grumpy man to aid hill
BETA PHOTO: parking and first hill beta
monkey wrench stopper... i would clip
late night bouldering, just learning photoshop
plein air cariso; the weather can change fast
El Cariso can get snow, this is a view of the firs...
coolest rattler I've seen out here, I have never s...
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!