|Hospital Rock Area
BETA PHOTO: Hospital Rock main wall. Large photo, zoom in. L...
From the 1993 Southern Sierra SEKI climbing guidebook, pg 281:
This quartzite band hosts a number of two-pitch routes of moderate difficulty. The fairly solid quartzite provides an interesting contrast to the predominant granite, and when the upper elevations are snowed in, it is sometimes possible to rock climb here in relative comfort. Park at a turnout .4 mile above the parking lot for the Hospital Rock Indian Display, and walk directly up a steep trail to the base of the popular Lunch Bucket Ledge route (2-3 pitches, 5.6-5.8, many variations). Pick your line almost anywhere on the rock; it's difficult to find a route harder than 5.9.
This area has seen a little bit of development since, but not much.
There is a lot of potential here.
Routes are short (1-3 pitches), varied in difficulty, and most of them can be top roped.
Although not abundant, more difficult routes and projects have definitely been found.
Good to keep in mind as a plan B for when the weather on Moro turns ugly, but there is enough climbing to fill a day here. The weather is tolerable pretty much all year, it's never really crowded, easily accessible, and only a short walking distance to bathrooms and picnic tables. Excellent spot for an afternoon of climbing, swimming, and barbecuing.
There's some bouldering throughout the area, but the river boulders are best reserved for mornings or winter, as this is the only spot that can become crowded during tourist season. Drownings occur every single year at this spot, please don't test the river.
Bears, mosquitoes, poison oak, ticks, and rattlesnakes all exist here, so take necessary precautions. Rock fall has also occurred here, and it's still occasionally shedding its skin. So be weary, as you would be at any developing climbing area, and keep yourself and others safe.
Bear boxes are provided by the parking lot. USE THEM.
Camping can be found nearby at Buckeye Flats from spring to fall, or Potwisha campgrounds back toward the 198 entrance. Check at the entrance for availability or call the visitors center.
(Quick note: The names and grades given to all the routes are arbitrary and purely for informing anyone curious about the area. Although I've searched far and wide, original FA information is basically non-existent. If anyone has information, by all means, send me the info, please. However, it's very likely that the Yokuts were anti-campusing this whole thing centuries ago, so the easy FA's will likely never be known. Enjoy and respect the area, and if you come across something worth climbing, please share.)
From Visalia/Three Rivers, take the 198 up through the park entrance. Only a short distance from there to the Hospital Rock parking lot. Look for the sign, hard to miss.
There is a decent climber's trail breaking off of the Middle Fork Trail (north-west of the parking lot). Hug the base of the cliff to avoid various trails to nowhere.
Note: The turnout the SEKI guidebook refers to can only accommodate 1-2 vehicles, and the approach directly up the hill is steep and through some nasty weeds.
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