Lost Rocks is one of the most unique climbing areas in the country. On a coastline hundreds of miles long that is covered with chossy boulders, this string of beaches somehow has solid spectacular rock. The setting here is tranquil and peaceful despite the pounding surf, none of the boulder problems have been given grades and very few are named, and the shifting sands can change the landscape overnight.
The metamorphic boulders vary from blocky overhangs to crimpy faces and smooth slabs. All of the climbing is on the beach so crashpads are rarely (if ever) needed.
Climbers have been coming to Lost Rocks for many years but only recently has word really gotten out about this amazing area. It has become the 3 day bouldering trip for Portlanders due to the fact that it's an easy 6hr. drive away. There are dozens of classic problems here and none of the attitude found at other bouldering destinations. It truly is all about the climbing and the beauty of the location.
Driving time is approximately 6 hours from Portland, and about the same from San Francisco.
From Crescent City, CA:
Drive South to the town of Klamath. Just after the exits to Klamath you will go over a bridge with two golden bear statues-- you will want to take the first exit after this bridge (the Klamath Beach exit). Take a left at the stop sign at the end of the off-ramp and drive for approximately 3 miles. There is a beach access gate and a large campground here, but it is all on private property and it is heavily used by the Yurok tribe. Due to some confrontations with the land owners it is no longer acceptable to use this as an access point to the beaches. Instead, follow the road uphill for another few hundred yards to the camping area and take a trail down from there.
See Rick Shull's comment below for more information.
Do not camp at the campground at the parking area. This belongs to the Yurok tribe of Native Americans and it is on private property. Due to access issues climbers shouldn't use this area to access the beach, and we really shouldn't camp here.
From the gate the road turns left and goes uphill. After 1/3 of a mile or so there are camp sites on the bluff overlooking the ocean. There are no facilities here so bring water and pack out your waste.
The bouldering here is gorgeous. There is only one restriction: the first group of boulders (near the lagoon and the Yurok campground) and the first problems on the next set to the south are off-limits to rock climbers. These boulders are on private property and the Yurok tribe and the property owners request that you not climb on them (despite the fact that there are some great looking problems...). Put your blinders on as you walk by them and head South down the beach for a quarter mile or so to the next great set of boulders. From here, there are two more groups of rocks over the next 1/2 mile of beach.
There are two more beaches to the South that can be approached by some easy scrambling. Your feet might get wet at high-tide but it's certainly do-able. The best bouldering at Lost Rocks is at the final beach although there are plenty of classics in the other areas as well.
One thing that really makes this place unique is the sand. It provides the world's best landings to the problems, but it also changes the very problems themselves. Due to the powerful tides at this beach the sand levels can change up to 5ft. over just a couple of days. Highballs turn into normal problems, and starting holds can disappear completely.
Start on the prominent undercling with polished feet reach to a good flake then pull on some incut crimps, from the crimps make a move to a dicey sloper. Matching the sloper is the crux once you get it fire up to good holds and top out. Very fun moves and high ball depending on sand levels....[more]Browse More Classics in CA
By Rick Shull Administrator From: Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV Oct 7, 2006
Currently, it is best to park at the Flint rock trail head or the High Bluffs trail head. Due to access issues with the Yurok tribe, please do not park and walk through the ceremonial campground. The Flint rock trail drops onto the beach at the north end of the "legal" climbing. Just up the beach, a freestanding boulder with an obvious flake on the south face, marks the northern boundary. The High Bluffs trail comes out one cove south. Reducing climber visibility in Yurok tribal areas is very important if we want to see this area stay open. Enjoy!
I was there last August (2007) and it was simply amazing. I was incredibly sad that I only had one day... If you're anywhere near northern California, this area is totally worth the trip. Plan to spend at least a whole day. Bonus - it's not far from the Redwoods Hostel.
The fluctuating tides and sand levels, some problems were possible to climb, others not. The sand can make a V4 into a V8, therefore no accurate guidebook exists for the beach boulders. No other medium in climbing besides ice changes as much as the water, sand and rock of bouldering on the coast. Redwood National Park
I stopped by this place on my way North from Jtree about two weeks ago. Excellent beach bouldering and the scenery is truly awesome. The sand cushions almost better than a pad! Three logistical items to note: while the temps and sun were great (tshirt conditions) for early January, the access to the main area was not; even at times of lower tide I found the waves were crashing too high to even contemplate scrambling over there. Second, the camping mentioned above is for Flint Ridge campground, an official NPS campground located 1/4 mi from the parking area; I.e., if you're van-based, it's illegal to camp there unless you leave your van and hike into the campground. Also, note that dogs are prohibited at this campground. Here is the link to more info: www.nps.gov/redw/planyourvisit/backcountry-campsites.htm. Third, while this should go without saying in NorCal, watch for ticks! The trail is overgrown with thorns and brush, and I'm thankful to have only received one bite.
Lost Rocks is a place to lose yourself in the fog, and perhaps find yourself in the movement of fluidity on the rock over a perfect sand landing. I haven't been here in a few years, but every time I see pictures, I remember the days of spending time with my ex-brother-in-law :( enjoying the amazing scenery, bouldering, and just hanging out enjoying company.
It's funny how human relations can screw up a place that is so amazing. I haven't back since since their divorce and I don't know if I ever will, but that doesn't mean that this place isn't one of the best, if not the best when you consider all variable, places to boulder on Earth.
Is the access really still a problem? We followed the directions to park at the top and walk down and it was pretty steep and overgrown which wouldn't have been a big problem really except we had a three year old with us and many of the steepest sections were pretty slippery. There were plenty of non-climbers down at the beach and we talked to a couple people and they all said they came in the other way so we walked down there to see what it was like when we were leaving and sure enough it was the area where, here in these comments, it says not to use but everyone was certainly using it including people opening the gate and driving there trucks/dune buggys/4 wheelers thru. I even talked to a yurok tribe family who was fishing for salmon and didnt get any inclination that it was wrong to use that path, they were more concerned with salmon prices dropping (buy salmon from these guys! can't get it any fresher or cheaper).
Anyway, I'm certainly not gonna encourage everyone to use that entrance but it doesn't seem to be an issue anymore. Oh and btw, the experience was super awesome, I wouldn't say the bouldering itself is world class or anything but it certainly is solid and there are a number of great problems with scenery that really can't be beat!
By Rick Shull Administrator From: Arcata, CA & Dyer,NV Jul 8, 2013
Although people tend to use the road frequently, it is private property and the family that owns it has had issues specifically with climbers. The tribe and family members use the road for OHV access and they actually rode up to me and ordered me down from a boulder citing liability issues. Some years, no one seems to care and then there is a flare up. Climbers have even had shots fired over their heads but that hasn't happened for a while.....