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The Balconies
Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Brosseau Finish, The T 
Desperate Abandon T 
Gold Line T 
Inn Crowd, The T 
Lava Falls T 
No Sense of Measure S 
Powers That Be, The S 
Premeditated T 
Shake-N-Bake T 
Unsorted Routes:

Lava Falls 

YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a R

   
Type:  Trad, 2 pitches, 250'
Consensus:  YDS: 5.9 French: 5c Ewbanks: 17 UIAA: VI ZA: 17 British: HVS 5a [details]
FA: Holmgren, Matthews, Vandevere, 1982
Page Views: 3,115
Submitted By: Jon Hanlon on Sep 26, 2007

You & This Route  |  Other Opinions (21)
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BETA PHOTO: Balconies as seen from top of Machete.

Emergency Closure Announced - Resurrection Wall MORE INFO >>>

Description 

Two magnificent pitches of wild stemming up a spooky black groove on the Balconies. Pitch one involves steep knob climbing between sometimes sparsely-placed bolts. An occasional knob can be tied off, but the steep crux comes between a gap in protection opportunities.

Pitch 2 requires more hip-cramping stemming up the water-hardened chute. This pitch is not to be missed.

At the time of this writing, not all bolts are inspiring, and some loose rock is present.

Location 

Lava Falls can be found in the middle of the Balconies. The route starts in a stand of trees just uphill from the Smiling Simian. Follow the black gully that pinches off at the top.

Protection 

Quickdraws and full length runners for tying off knobs and clipping wandering bolts. Bolted anchors on both pitches.


Photos of Lava Falls Slideshow Add Photo
Lava & Shake
BETA PHOTO: Lava & Shake
Note that the mid-point anchor on Lava Falls is located OUTSIDE and right of the "lava tube". My partner missed the anchor and kept going till he ran out of rope. THAT turned out to be a fun adventure.
Note that the mid-point anchor on Lava Falls is lo...
Stemmin' up pitch 2.
Stemmin' up pitch 2.
Ladies and Gentlemen...Lava Falls.
Ladies and Gentlemen...Lava Falls.

Comments on Lava Falls Add Comment
Show which comments
By Kyle Queener
From: Monterey, California
Jan 30, 2009

Re-bolted in January 2009. Expect "bomber" bolts.
By Julie Silvestro
From: Surprise, AZ
Nov 8, 2009

Bring TWO ropes...
By aaron hope
From: Walnut Creek, CA
Aug 28, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

Well protected. Except for the crux.
By Colin Simon
From: Boulder, CO
Oct 5, 2010
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

This was my first lead ever, in April 2008.

I was terrified. I had done a bunch of gym climbing but only toproped outside about 5 times.

This route still feels special, and defined me as a climber.
By Owen McGrath
Jan 16, 2011

Just climbed the first pitch today. Didn't make the second as we were benighted.

Bolts are really solid, except at the crux, place extra slings on nobs or be ready for a decent whipper.

All told, an amazing climb. Great stemming route, and an even more epic view.

Was my first time to Pinnacles. Can't wait to get back.

Also, anyone have beta for those wanting to camp and climb only on the West Side? Is it cool to leave a car overnight and trek to campground on the east side? Anyone tried to ask some of the ranches on the way in if it would be cool to pitch a tent for a night's sleep?
By beachplus4
From: So San Francisco
Jan 16, 2011

I was told no cars over night on the west side by Ranger Mark. Camping on th east is so easy and its a short hike to any of the climbs on the west.
By kovarpa
Jan 17, 2011

You can rap off with a 70m rope if you are willing to downclimb the last approx. 10 feet to the ground.
By Matthias Gottmann
Nov 11, 2013
rating: 5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a R

Found (by missing the middle belay station) that the two pitches can be combined with a 70m rope. Distances between bolts are substantial, but I felt that the hardest moves were well protected.
By Simon W
Jan 7, 2014

Really fun route, but I wouldn't recommend it for the new 5.9 leader.

Most of the bolts are in good shape, but in most spots you wouldn't really want to use them. (Due to big air potential and rock that isn't quite steep enough.)

I counted bolts and still almost climbed past the first belay. Look for a manky old SMC hanger out right when you're at the 10th bolt or so and you should notice the chains just outside of the chute.
By Joe Forrester
From: Ft. Collins, CO
Apr 7, 2014

Great line and an exciting amount of distance between bolts. You can rap with a 70m in 3 raps, but you have to be willing to equalize bolts 2+3 on the first pitch, then climb back up and get your stuff. A whip at the crux would be exciting.