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Holcomb Valley Pinnacles

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* Holcomb Valley Bouldering 
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Holcomb Valley Pinnacles 


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Elevation: 7,500'
Lat, Long: 34.3124, -116.8804 Map Incorrect?
Page Views: 499,203
Administrators: C Miller, Adam Stackhouse, M.Morley, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: C Miller on Mar 12, 2006
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Randomly named Speed "HUMP" Taking advantage of th...

Description 

The Holcomb Valley Pinnacles are located just north of Big Bear Lake in the eastern end of the scenic Holcomb Valley, an area rich in history and diversions for the outdoor enthusiast. Popular for it's numerous sport routes, this area is a moderate mecca with 75% of the 300+ routes being 5.10 and under in difficulty.

Although the elevation of the Holcomb Valley Pinnacles (HVP) is 7500 feet it's not just a summer climbing area, with good climbing available all year-round depending upon the severity of the winter. Summers can sometimes be hot, making those shady climbs all the more attractive, while early and late season climbing can be ideal with relatively few climbers and few distractions but the sound of the wind in the pines.

The rock at the Pinnacles is a heavily-featured granite that ranges in quality from excellent to fair with the majority of it being quite good. Routes that look difficult often go at a moderate grade because of the highly-featured rock - a good example of this is the popular Coyote Crag.

Here's a list of sport routes in the area from 5.3 to 5.12d (click to activate).


Getting There (Southern Parking Area) 

These directions will get you to the southern parking area, which is recommended if you are driving a low-clearance vehicle, and/or planning on climbing at the southern/central Pinnacles.

  • Van Dusen Canyon Approach - This, the most popular approach, is up scenic Van Dusen Canyon (3N09) which is quite rocky and sees a fair amount of traffic on the weekends. Just past the pavement's end (about 0.5 miles up) is a gate that gets locked after the first snowfall and that re-opens in the Spring when the road is dry enough.

Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a left (heading west). Drive 0.6 miles, passing the Holcomb Valley Campground on the right, and make a right onto 3N07. Drive north along 3N07 passing Wilbur's Grave, a Boy Scout Camp and several dips in the road (often several feet deep with water in the early spring) until you can make a right which parallels a fence on the right. Follow this road until it ends at a large parking area just below Parking Lot Rock.

  • Baldwin Lake Approach - Useful if coming from the desert via Highway 18 out of Lucerne Valley.

Highway 18 to Big Bear and then make a right (staying on Hwy 18) heading towards Baldwin Lake. Circle around Baldwin Lake (often dry in the summer) and then make a right onto Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09). Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a left (heading west). Drive 0.6 miles, passing the Holcomb Valley Campground on the right, and make a right onto 3N07. Drive north along 3N07 passing Wilbur's Grave, a Boy Scout Camp and several dips in the road (often several feet deep in the early spring) until you can make a right which parallels a fence on the right. Follow this road until it ends at a large parking area just below Parking Lot Rock.

  • Polique Canyon Approach - A faily direct, but bumpy approach that is open all year depending upon the road conditions. This way avoids the traffic of the more popular Van Dusen Canyon and is faster if coming from the west.

Take Polique Canyon Road (2N09) north as it climbs along it's scenic namesake canyon, crest a hill and then descend the backside to a long straightaway which passes a large Boy Scout Camp. Make a right onto 3N16, go up a small rise and make an immediate left onto 3N07. Drive north along 3N07 passing Wilbur's Grave, a Boy Scout Camp and several dips in the road (often several feet deep with water in the early spring) until you can make a right which parallels a fence on the right. Follow this road until it ends at a large parking area just below Parking Lot Rock.


Getting There (Northern Parking Area) 

These directions will get you to the northern parking area, which is recommended if you are driving a higher-clearance vehicle, and/or planning on climbing at the central/northern Pinnacles

  • Van Dusen Canyon Approach - This, the most popular approach, is up scenic Van Dusen Canyon (3N09) which is quite rocky and sees a fair amount of traffic on the weekends. Just past the pavement's end (about 0.5 miles up) is a gate that gets locked after the first snowfall and that re-opens in the Spring when the road is dry enough.

Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a right (heading east). Drive 1.4 miles and make a left onto 3N32. Follow this as it winds it's way north and then eventually west until you come to a fork in the road with a cairn. Make a left here, right takes you onto the John Bull Trail, and continue as it heads west and then back south. The last bit of the road passes between some boulders which larger trucks/SUV's may not fit through, so drive at your own risk (parking is available along the road before the boulders if needed). Continue a short distance to a large parking area near Wilbur's Tombstone.

  • Baldwin Lake Approach - Useful if coming from the desert via Highway 18 out of Lucerne Valley.

Highway 18 to Big Bear and then make a right (staying on Hwy 18) heading towards Baldwin Lake. Circle around Baldwin Lake (often dry in the summer) and then make a right onto Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09). Take Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09) to it's end at a junction with 3N16 and make a right (heading east). Drive 1.4 miles and make a left onto 3N32. Follow this as it winds it's way north and then eventually west until you come to a fork in the road with a cairn. Make a left here, right takes you onto the John Bull Trail, and continue as it heads west and then back south. The last bit of the road passes between some boulders which larger trucks/SUV's may not fit through, so drive at your own risk (parking is available along the road before the boulders if needed). Continue a short distance to a large parking area near Wilbur's Tombstone.

  • Polique Canyon Approach - A faily direct, but bumpy approach that is open all year depending upon the road conditions. This way avoids the traffic of the more popular Van Dusen Canyon and is faster if coming from the west.

Take Polique Canyon Road (2N09) north as it climbs along it's scenic namesake canyon, crest a hill and then descend the backside to a long straightaway which passes a large Boy Scout Camp. Make a right onto 3N16, go up a small rise and continue east (passing the Holcomb Valley Campground on your left) for 1.8 miles until possible to make a left onto 3N32. Follow this as it winds it's way north and then eventually west until you come to a fork in the road with a cairn. Make a left here, right takes you onto the John Bull Trail, and continue as it heads west and then back south. The last bit of the road passes between some boulders which larger trucks/SUV's may not fit through, so drive at your own risk (parking is available along the road before the boulders if needed). Continue a short distance to a large parking area near Wilbur's Tombstone.


Camping 

Camping is free and legal almost anywhere in the forest surrounding the Pinnacles, but there are a number of already established campsites near the northern and southern parking areas, as well as scattered sites to the west of Parking Lot Rocks. Fire restrictions are commonly in effect during the summer months, meaning no open fires, but stoves are usually not a problem.

As an alternative there are numerous pay campgrounds in the Big Bear area, with the Holcomb Valley Campground ($14 a night), being the closest to the climbing area.


Climbing Gear 

If sport climbing nothing more than a dozen draws are needed and if climbing some of the traditional routes a standard rack to 3" should suffice for the majority of the routes.


Guidebooks 

Hidden Treasures East is the only comprehensive guidebook for this area and includes the majority of new routes in the area.

The Southern California Sport Climbing Guide has a limited amount of information on the area making it more of a "select" guide, but be warned that it's full of errors (and not just the Holcomb Valley section).


315 Total Routes


['4 Stars',3],['3 Stars',69],['2 Stars',149],['1 Star',92],['Bomb',2]
['<=5.6',32],['5.7',29],['5.8',33],['5.9',37],['5.10',124],['5.11',33],['5.12',10],['5.13',0],['>=5.14',0],['',0],['<=V1',2],['V2-3',8],['V4-5',6],['V6-7',1],['V8-9',0],['V10-11',0],['V12-13',0],['>=V14',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Holcomb Valley Pinnacles:
Gold Standard   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Central Pinnacles : Gold Wall
Psychedelic Sluice   5.6 4c 14 V S 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 50'   Motherlode Rock : Motherlode Rock - East Face
Bye Crackie   5.7 5a 15 V+ MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Central Pinnacles : Coyote Crag
Shoot at Will   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 45'   Central Pinnacles : Tombstone Pit
Coyotes at Sunset   5.8 5b 16 VI- HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Central Pinnacles : Coyote Crag
Golden Poodle   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 75'   Central Pinnacles : Coyote Crag
Black Magic Poodle   5.9 5c 17 VI HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Central Pinnacles : Coyote Crag
Vertical Epic   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Pinnacles North : Stone Wall
Claim Jumper   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Central Pinnacles : Claim Jumper Wall
Ricochet   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Central Pinnacles : Pistol Whipped Wall
Pistol Pete   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Central Pinnacles : Doc Holiday Wall
One Armed Bandit   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Central Pinnacles : Claim Jumper Wall
Powder Keg   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Motherlode Rock : Motherlode Rock - North Fac...
Tombstone Shadow   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Central Pinnacles : Tombstone Pit
Lost Orbit   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- E2 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   Lost Orbit Rock : Lost Orbit Rock - East Face
Doc's Holiday   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   Central Pinnacles : Doc Holiday Wall
Coyotes in the Henhouse   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Central Pinnacles : Claim Jumper Wall
Arrogant Bastard   5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   Pinnacles North : Stone Wall
The Incinerator   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 40'   Central Pinnacles : Incinerator Wall
Road Crew   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   Lost Orbit Rock : Lost Orbit Rock - East Face
Browse More Classics in Holcomb Valley Pinnacles

Featured Route For Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Pulling into the crux on Arrogant Bastard.

Arrogant Bastard 5.11a 6c 22 VII+ E3 5c  CA : San Bernardino Mountains : ... : Stone Wall
Boulder up onto a small ledge, clip a bolt and then climb thin face up to a huge, hanging flake which is liebacked up the overhanging face. The crux comes above the flake, where a tricky sequence on smallish holds gains a jug and somewhat easier climbing. Stays interesting all the way to the anchors, especially if pumped.For the grade as good as any route at the Pinnacles, with steep climbing on good holds and fun moves throughtout. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

News and Events For Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Photos of Holcomb Valley Pinnacles Slideshow Add Photo
Rustic cabin in Holcomb Valley, Big Bear
Rustic cabin in Holcomb Valley, Big Bear
Taking in the view of Holcomb valley after a top out on the central pinnacles
Taking in the view of Holcomb valley after a top o...
So many routes
So many routes
Holcomb Valley Central Pinnacles from on top of Vertical Epic in the north.
Holcomb Valley Central Pinnacles from on top of Ve...
Keli Balo climbs Coyotes in the Henhouse (5.10d), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Keli Balo climbs Coyotes in the Henhouse (5.10d), ...
My first TR 11a The Long Arm of the Law, Motherlode, Central Pinacles in Big Bear.
My first TR 11a The Long Arm of the Law, Motherlod...
Winter road conditions, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Winter road conditions, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Clouds on a warm Summer's day at the Pinnacles.
Clouds on a warm Summer's day at the Pinnacles.
Indian say "this way"
Indian say "this way"
Cyclops is ever watching. Photo by Ginny.
Cyclops is ever watching. Photo by Ginny.
Wilbur's grave on 3N07 heading into the Pinnacles.
Wilbur's grave on 3N07 heading into the Pinnacles.
Snow and boulders, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Snow and boulders, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
This sign is visible just after you turn onto Van Dusen Canyon Road (3N09).
BETA PHOTO: This sign is visible just after you turn onto Van ...
Just below the crux on Deer Lick (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Just below the crux on Deer Lick (5.10a), Holcomb ...
Fire after thunderstorm - Sept. 1, 2007
Fire after thunderstorm - Sept. 1, 2007
Route from the South Lot - March 23.
Route from the South Lot - March 23.
Darkness falls, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Darkness falls, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Mandie rapping off Coyote Wall, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Mandie rapping off Coyote Wall, Holcomb Valley Pin...
Mountain Desert Sage (Salvia pachyphylla), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles.
Mountain Desert Sage (Salvia pachyphylla), Holcomb...
Pistol Pete (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles.
Pistol Pete (5.10a), Holcomb Valley Pinnacles.
Not sure exactly which route, but it's right around from lizard head rock.  Pretty tough cutout
Not sure exactly which route, but it's right aroun...
Mild winter conditions, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Mild winter conditions, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
Tandora leading Smackdown.
Tandora leading Smackdown.
Holcomb Valley Pinnacles, North parking area- Ben and the Stormtrooper... and and a beautiful day.
Holcomb Valley Pinnacles, North parking area- Ben ...
leading "Lost orbit" <br /> <br />photo by Adam Kimmerly
leading "Lost orbit"

photo by Adam Kimmerly
A girl named Jenny
A girl named Jenny
Holcomb Valley Pinnacles from 3N16, Big Bear.
Holcomb Valley Pinnacles from 3N16, Big Bear.
Looking into Holcomb Valley from the Pinnacles, Big Bear
Looking into Holcomb Valley from the Pinnacles, Bi...
Comments on Holcomb Valley Pinnacles Add Comment
Show which comments
Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 31, 2013
By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Mar 10, 2014
CONDITION REPORT 

As of March 8 several very big deep pools of water on Holcomb Pinnacles Camp Road, three of them were unavoidable, high clearance 4x4 necessary.

By susan peplow
From: Joshua Tree
2 days ago
CONDITION REPORT 

As of April 11th. 2-14 - Van Dusen Canyon Rd gate is open with dry travels all but one small puddle along the way. At the T intersection we opted for the eastern 3N16 > 3N32 access which was also bone dry all the way to the Central Pinnacles parking area. Can't speak for going around the campground and approaching from the west but there were others in the area that had used that access.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Sep 4, 2006

One of my favorite areas locally in SoCal. I have many happy memories of this place. My only complaint is that some bolts have been placed where natural protection could have been afforded easily.

By Adam Stackhouse
Administrator
Apr 28, 2007

With a high concentration of well protected, mostly moderate climbs, this fun area is very unique for many a SoCal climber. Highly recommended for the intermediate climber; with good holds, and great protection, no matter what the grade (e.g., 5.6 through 5.11).

By Jordan Ramey
From: Calgary, Alberta
Aug 6, 2007

Van Dusen Canyon Approach speedometer marks: After turning onto Van Dusen Canyon Rd it's 3.5 miles from pavement's end to 3N16. Head right. We didn't see a sign for 3N16, but it cuts out into an open meadow after a hundred yards or so. 1.5 miles to 3N32 (labeled) and turn left. 1.5 miles to the Northern Parking area (turn left at small rock pile).

Can be done in a regular car up to the narrow boulder passage if driven very carefully. Our subaru had no problem. Depending on your speed it's about 20-35 minutes driving on dirt roads, with only 1.5 miles of somewhat slow driving.

By sam.f
From: Santa Cruz, CA
Sep 8, 2008

I had a blast here this past weekend. It was my first trip to the area. With loads of moderates, my fiancee was kept happy as well. While we were roped up the whole time, one thing I noticed in particular, was the nearly unlimited and untapped potential for bouldering here. I saw 1000's of boulders, less than 1% of them with developed problems. If someone were motivated to explore and do some minimal cleaning of the boulders this could be a HUGE bouldering area, with lots of quality rock.

By bcsing
From: Lake Arrowhead, California
Sep 22, 2008

New book to this area and all of the Big Bear Basin called Hidden Treasures East, Rock Climbing in the Big Bear Basin, by Brad Singer available at the Discovery Center in Big Bear or at Nomad Ventures.

By BGraham
From: Fullerton, CA
Dec 16, 2008

Is HVP doable in the winter? How is access when theres some snow? I want to get up there in a couple weeks and dont want to get shut down. thanks!

By C Miller
Administrator
Dec 31, 2008

Climbing is possible every month of the year as long as you wait a few days after a storm and have 4wd to get back there.

The best way in is via Polique Canyon Road, but in a high snow year (this year might qualify) you might not make it due to accumulated snow on some of the north-facing slopes midway on the drive up the canyon.

By SteezeMeggie
From: Big Bear City, CA
Apr 13, 2010

I hiked from Van Deusen Canyon in Big Bear City to the Holcomb Valley Pinnacles on 04/10/10. It was a sunny, yet windy day. The Pinnacles are located in a sunny and secluded area. There were two other people there, serious climber/campers. I climbed Coyote Crag only, the rock was strong and had great holds. It is a great place to go for beginner climbers. The winds were around 40mph, but that was a special occasion since we had storms blowing in. I would suggest the Holcomb Valley Pinnacles for all levels of climbers, there is something for everyone and enough room for it all. You're in the middle of no where, it's great!

I hiked out from Van Deusen Canyon in Big Bear City, went left on Holcomb Valley Rd. (3N16) took 3N07 past Wilbur's grave, looped right from 3N43, took me around four hours to get there. Climbed. Headed home and took the trail across to the cabin to 3N16 to Van Deusen, hike home was around two hours.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Jul 19, 2010

3N16 has been resurfaced with a new gravel bed - very smooth now. The road along the fence to the south parking lot is the same but many north roadside camping areas have been blocked off with boulders - no complaints from me.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Sep 7, 2010

Polique Canyon road has also been resurfaced with new gravel - and IMHO is now the road of preference over Van Deusen.

By jack howard
Mar 27, 2011

one of the best sport areas in socal. a must for climbers 5.10-12 range. motherload wall, doc holiday wall, and claimjumperwall best. those walls have 2 days worth on them. many others too. lost orbit good too

By RAZORsharp
From: Carlsbad CA
Jun 27, 2011

The North Parking lot is riddled with camp fires. NO CAMP FIRES. it is a national forest with signs posted everywhere! stoves are okay, charcoal and firewood collecting are ILLEGAL. Lets keep the access we have to this beautiful crag by respecting the rules placed by knowledgeable rangers. Gusting winds and dry pine needle beds do not mix well!

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Jul 4, 2011

I'll second that. 4x4ers and climbers alike. Any climbers camping there should educate.

Just try to imagine this place being gutted.

By Derrick
Aug 30, 2011

Wondering how close you can park up to the Central Pinnacles area. Going camping soon, first time at the Pinnacles. Let me know if anyone has info on where the closest parking area is.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Sep 1, 2011

Derrick you can get pretty darn close if you have a high clearance 4x4, by taking the northern approach you can park at Wilbur's Tombstone and camp thereabouts. Otherwise, if you take the southern approach you'll be camping about 20 minutes from the central area.

By Derrick
Sep 1, 2011

Thanks for the help! Would a 4x2 suv make it through the northern approach to the Central Pinnacles?

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Sep 2, 2011

As long as you have good clearance you should be okay if you drive carefully.

By Joseph Stover
From: Batesville, AR
Jul 9, 2012

Not sure how the 4x4 road is, but it looked possible to drive in a ways and camp closer to the central area - there was a small camper parked about halfway between parking lot and central area. Getting to Parking Lot Rock is fine for any vehicle probably. Polique Canyon Road approach was easy and smooth. It was hot, but compfy in the shade and cold at night. Neat area.

By Paul Doherty
Nov 25, 2012

Here is a map I made for the area - should be helpful.

By Chris Owen
Administrator
From: La Crescenta and Big Bear Lake
Jan 15, 2013

Paul thanks for the GIS map - Thunderbird Wall is mis-located; it should be opposite Claim Jumper Wall. Either that or rename it as Skyy Slab.

By OlgaMP
From: Studio City, CA
Jul 10, 2013

Is the Hidden Treasures East guidebook out of print? I can't seem to find it anywhere...

By Derrick
Jul 31, 2013

The Hidden Treasures book is way outdated, if you have a smart phone get the mtn proj app. Or just print pics and route info from here.