|Mount Baldy / "old baldy"
The Baldy area is primarily a bouldering area with some sport and traditional climbing available. The rock is primarily granite and demanding on the tips. Bouldering is excellent during all times of year, except in the scorching heat of summer, where your fingertips are lost VERY easily.
Bouldering ranges from V0- to the upper limits of human abilities and pain tolerance. There are many classic problems to do and many that should be done in the future. Landings are generally excellent with a few exceptions. One or more pads and spotters are always recommended and encouraged.
From South Seas Area sign-in, walk to the right and make a quick left through a gully that leads downhill. A path is readily available at this moment, and leads to the east in an obvious line through the South Seas Area.
After about five minutes, this path intersects another path leading to the North or to the South. Take the right pathway (South), in the direction of Lonesome Boulder (?), for about ten minutes or less. On your left, another, less obvious, path will form in a bunch of smaller pine trees after a cool looking granite 'sculpture.' Walk this way and follow the path as best you can. It will lead up hill to the left, then flatten out, then uphill, again.
Generally, Baldy is teaming with boulders and if you get lost, there is always something to hop on. The most popular areas are to the South and to the West of the granite monstrosity, but explore, and you will find your own special playgrounds. There is obvious potential for crack-climbing and face-climbing in every area of Baldy, and many of each have been done in certain areas.
130 Total Routes
['4 Stars',28],['3 Stars',53],['2 Stars',33],['1 Star',15],['Bomb',0]
Browse More Classics in Mount Baldy / "old baldy"
Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Mount Baldy / "old baldy":
Featured Route For Mount Baldy / "old baldy"
Clayton Bigsby 5.13a/b 8a 29 IX+ 29 E7 6c SD
: Mount Rushmore National Mem...
: ... : Half Dome
Amazing powerful route that goes up the steep wall to the right of 'Watching The Wild Things' and surprisingly has great holds. The crux flows really well on holds all facing to the right and you have to climb to the left. For shorter folk, there is one stopper or impossible move involving a large span into a gaston. The large horn at the fifth bolt ends the powerful climbing, then head to the right for a technical redpoint crux on the slab. Highly recommended!...[more] Browse More Classics in SD
Latest Regional Forum Messages
|By blake workman|
Oct 22, 2002
Baldy has been seeing major development for the last 6 years or so. It was initially developed by Greg Parker and Dave Astrick. Just from those two alone there came about 50 maybe a little more in problems. Over the last couple of years myself, Mike Cronin, Travis Rypkema, Heather Henin, and a few others have really done some work. Now there is about 150 or so established problems worth lots more of potential. The grades range from V0 to V10-V11. I have a list and a map draw of the area with most of the problems on it. If you wish you can contact me for any bouldering beta.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Nov 9, 2002
Hey. This is actually Greg Parker. I'm not registered on this website yet, so I'm borrowing Anonymous Coward's name. Not to get picky, Blake, but Dave Asscherick and I have put up 117 problems up at Baldy.
|By blake workman|
Nov 10, 2002
Greg your right I should have looked at that guide you gave me more closely. So I was just guesstimating on how many we had. So we are looking at probably about 300 or so now since we have been developing down by the Black Jack Pots and around in another valley down there. Wow we have a lot.
|By Greg Parker|
Nov 11, 2002
Hey Blake. I didn't mean to sound like a little whiner. I'm just trying to get an accurate count of how many problems there are out there. You're right, there is alot now. This website is pretty cool. We should get some more information on here.
|By David Asscherick|
Jan 30, 2003
I'm not sure anyone will actually read this, but I cannot resist commenting on brother Blake's Mt. Baldy analysis. A few clarifications and observations seem to be in order. The area was originally developed by the Lewis brothers (et. al.), who put up, for example, the testpiece Hydra Crack. (The rating for this thing is "just" 5.11+, but it is stout, and quite tough off the ground.) After the Lewis brothers left the scene, Larry Schaffer was the next developer. He climbed there on and off for three years (at least) before I ever even saw the bouldering potential there. For example, it was Larry who first located and began working Seul Avec Dieux. He showed it to me, and immediately I was captivated by its beauty and seemng impossiblity. (I was climbing like 5.11 when I first saw it. It literally looked impossible, 'but', I thought, 'it does have some good start holds, so maybe, just maybe...) Larry also discovered and initially developed the Black Jackpot Boulders, in addition to many other boulders and areas in the vicinity of Baldy. Larry is the only one who has climbed the very high, very creepy direct route (and the only-a-little-less-scary right exit route) on the boulder just behind the Hueco Problem Boulder in the main area. The thing is terrifying, and I watched Larry send it sans pad and sans spotters!! It was at once a thing of beauty and terror. The grade for the direct route must be alteast V5. V10 without pad and spotter. Both of those lines remain unrepeated, and there is an even more menacing left route that Larry was eyeing, but so far as I know, never sent. Larry also put up the stand-up version of Orange Roughy, Exit Stage Right (another terrifying boulder problem, er, solo), Exit Stage Left and many others. Following Larry's reign, I climbed at Baldly more-or-less alone for nearly a year (hence the name, Seul Avec Dieux, which is Frech for Alone With God). I put up more than a few problems during that time, but when Greg and I started climbing together up there, things really got moving. The rest is, as they say, history. I tend to think that Greg's calcualtions for the number of problems at Baldy are dead on. First of all because Greg remembers every hold on every climb he has ever done, and two because it just sounds right. 50 problems Blake?! C'mon mate. In closing, I too, with Greg, would really like to have an accurate count on the number of problems up there. 300 sounds inflated. If so many new problems are going up, my question is: have most of the "old" ones been repeated (by someone other than Greg or myself)? I'm sure most of the sub V5 problems have been repeated, but what about the 7s, 8s, 9s and, gulp, even 10(s?)? New development is great, really great, but I'm hoping that both ratings and problem totals don't get unnecessarily inflated.Working and repeating the many "old" 7s and up will keep the area cutting edge and the "new" locals humble. We hope.
|By Dan Dewell|
Mar 29, 2003
Hey, Greg Parker, how in the hell did you do the V10 Prow? Can you give me some beta?Great line, but horrendously hard. Where did all the holds go? :)Thanks, man.
|By Greg Parker|
Apr 9, 2003
Hey Dan. I sent you an e-mail via this website that has all the beta for the prow (probably a little more than you wanted). Hopefully, you got it and hopefully it helps!
|By Dan Dewell|
Apr 29, 2003
Hey, Blake, Dave A., or Greg,
Do we have ANY kind of a guide book available for Baldy? I want to have something for when I go up there this summer, since there are obviously a load of problems I haven't seen nor done, and I'm sure none of you really want to play guide.
Holler back at me!
|By Mike Cronin|
Jun 11, 2003
I am wrinting this in regards to David Asscherick's comments. I want to thank David for his informative history lesson on the Mt. Baldy area. But I feel I must add to and correct some of it. The line on the boulder by the hueco problem was done 3 times by 3 different people last Aug. of 2002. It was the line that pulls out right at the top. We used pads and spotters. Hydra Crack has been done multiple times in the past couple years and it has the rating of 11a solo. There is now as I write this a crew from Colorado sending problems. Their primary goal is to make a film of unknow bouldering areas, put up new high ball problems. So I guess we will see what the potential really is when the new blood gets done with their assault. Will add more as it happens.
|By David Asscherick|
Jul 20, 2003
Thank you, Mike, for the info. It is good to know that the 'right exit' line on the boulder behind the Hueco Boulder has been done. You will, I am sure, join me in recognizing that the 'right exit' route is considerably less daunting than either the 'center' route or the 'left' route. Again, so far as I know, only Larry Shaffer has done the 'center' version. The 'left' route is undone (again, to my knowledge) and will probably remain that way for some time to come. To say that these two routes are "committing" would be an understatement.
As for Hydra Crack, I take issue with the 11a rating. Is that with or without the cheat stone? Either way, I have climbed the route several times (on loose top rop) and even had the fortune of on-sighting it. My humble offering? 11+, at least. Perhaps I am wrong here, but on the day that I on-sighted it, neither Pat Fleming nor Larry Shaffer could do it clean. Consider that Larry was routinely climbing 5.11 and 5.12 that summer (usually 25 feet or more above a bolt, or worse, a questionable piton, stopper etc.), it seems reasonable to me that the route is stiff 5.11. I am not dogmatic about this, of course. That is just my strong hunch. I had planned to solo it, but never got around to it. That is probably a good thing.
Thanks again for the info. Perhaps you could post an exhaustive listing of the exploits of the "Colorado Crew". Greg has communicated some info to me, but I can hardly wait to hear more.
Blessings, Courage,Keep looking up,David Asscherick
|By Mike Cronin|
Jul 30, 2003
Thanks for the response. I do agree that the right exit on the Larry boulder is the easy way out. Center and right exits have still been either not repeated or not done. Hydra Crack is still feel is 11a. Like all grade one could dispute all day. I solo onsighted it last summer. But like most onsights you are in go for it mode. They usually feel harder when you try to repeat it. Kurt Smith did it for the video during the assault on Baldy. Gregs prow was not repeated. They feel v11. Soleavec (wrong spelling) saw the first female asscent. Many new problems in the v6-v10 range were put in. The tall shallow open book right of the lilly pad was done and given v7/v8. It was ____ing crazy. The debut of the video will be at the Firehouse in RC on Sept. 16. One can purchase the video or DVD in mid Aug. I hope this helps with keeping you informed.
Take CareMike Cronin
|By David Asscherick|
Jan 8, 2004
As I begin to type this, I am traveling across cold and snowy Michigan with my family. The sun isn't shining. The roads are icy. It is fairly miserable outside. I am thinking about my time in South Dakota and, in particular, my short trip to Baldy. I had such a wonderful time that I thought it might be well to post a _trip report_ of sorts. If for no other reason, it will, no doubt, prove therapeutic for me! Hope you enjoy it.
Day One: Monday. What to do? The weatherman is saying better weather tomorrow, but the sun is shining today. I call Greg. He too is undecided. Already it is late in the morning_10:00ish. We defer to the wives. They both give the ok to go climbing. Surely this is a sign from heaven! We arrive at the South Seas parking area at about noon. We know that time is short. We have three and a half hours at the most. It is cold, but not that cold_ maybe 28 degrees. The sun is shining. We are psyched. Baldy again! Greg hasn't been here for two years! Me about the same! Much has happened since we were here last. New video, new problems, new locals and (as we would soon discover) new tick-marking techniques!
We warm up at the Lily Pad and scope some new problems in the area. Greg flashes Blake's variation of Polywogs. I get it second go. Feeling strong. We go to look at _I Know Tecate_. Ever since seeing the video of this thing, I have been looking forward to getting on it. It looks like my kind of problem_grovel and fight. Temperatures are perfect. We move the pads down and spy the upper moves. Looks thin and desperate, but not as thin as I had anticipated. We decide that I'll try it first. After pulling onto the rock, the _match_ hold looks quite far away! I pull up and throw. The hold sticks, and the match comes easier than I would have thought. The upper section is tough, but everything flows and I am able to get it first go. A flash! Feeling great! Greg's turn. He pulls up and looks solid. Gains the match, and starts moving up. He is pulling through the very last inch of the top out, and to my surprise (and his!) he comes shooting off and misses the pad! Argghh! (His back would nag him for several days to come after this fall.) Short breather. Regroup. He sends solidly second go. A great problem! Feels soft V8.
We head off to the _Nostril Cave_. Greg is telling me about a problem called _The Cheat_. It, like _Tecate_, was put in by the CO crew. The first problem we see at the cave is _Trogdor_. I boot up and pull up onto the starting jug. I jump down laughing. It feels like the crux would be not hitting your head on the roof while jumping 6 feet horizontally! I opt out. So does Greg. I wonder if Trogdor means _party trick_ in another language, or maybe _ridiculously hard_. I don't know, but either way I leave it alone half laughing and half in awe. _The Cheat_ looks great. Very unBaldy. This thing is made to order for Greg: steep on good crimps. The given grade is V7. I'm up to bat first. We had heard from Travis about a _hidden_ undercling, but couldn't locate it. I've already spied my sequence. I pull up and move quickly through the bottom moves, as the business begins up higher. I hit the first of the under-roof crimps and go again. Stick. Heel hook in a shallow cup out left. Move the left hand in. Stick. _This thing is steep_, I think as I gun for the top. Stick. Top out straight over. (Why traverse way over right?) A second flash! The temp is dropping, so I'm glad to be able to put my jacket on.
Greg finds the undercling and gives it three or four tries, yet can't seem to make the sequence work. Frustration sets in. Greg gets _cheated_ and we leave, but not before trying what I assume is a project in the middle of the cave between _Trogdor_ and _The Cheat_. Looks doable but very _muscley_. If this thing is indeed a project, and as yet unsent, I suggest a name of _Shoulder Soldier_. My shoulder was aching for some time thereafter...
One more thing...on the left exit to _The Cheat_ a large and very visible jug has three (count 'em, three!) foot-long _tick marks_ on it. Overkill would be understatement. C'mon the thing is a HUGE jug. It's the lip! What else is the _tick-placer_ going to grab anyway?! In fact, _tick marks_ are all over _The Cheat_. It looks like a child's dot-to-dot. I would soon discover that this is a harbinger of things to come...
Next stop: an open project in the Melon Patch. The thing looks V3. It isn't. We work it right, left and center. Get shut down. We make a little progress, but after 30 minutes of work, the sun is leaving and the temp is dropping, so we make our way to the final problem of the day...a project on the _Almost There_ boulders. The line is beautiful, and looks deceptively easy. I have tried it before, but just briefly. Greg likes the looks of it, and we boot up. It is cold and getting dark. The problem is fun and very Baldyesque. It goes without too much trouble. Greg gets the FA. I get the second. The sequence involves a very wide pinch with the right hand. We call it _Open Wide_. Grade it V5, stout. Nathan Renner snaps some good pics. An enjoyable _two star_ problem, well worth doing. Day one done.
Day two: Thursday. The weatherman is saying 50! Amen! Greg, Nathan and I meet in RC and drive up together. The sun is shining. We are together. Life is good, so good. We warm up at the Lily Pad. Another group shows up (Shannon, Carl, James etc.) They have lots of dogs. We exchange greetings, and head off, but not before Greg and I do a _newish_ problem to the right of _Exit stage left_. It is a sit down problem that is quite good. Feels V2ish. We head off to the Prow.
The Prow...wow. What a beautiful line! Save one thing...tick marks, huge ones! Two foot-long plus marks on the upper sloper. It looks ridiculous. The sloper already has plenty of chalk on it; only a blind man could miss it. The funny thing is this: when you're actually moving up the Prow and slapping for the high sloper, you really can't even look around the corner to see the sloper, you just aim high and look in the general direction. I am saddened by how totally unsightly and unaesthetic the right side of the Prow looks. Surely this is no way to positively impress the Forest Service. I shudder at the thought of them seeing this kind of a thing. A word to the wise: If you must use tick marks, then also use some common sense. Keep them small (dime-size), and remove them when you are done. If you absolutely have to employ them with such intemperate abandon, then I have a suggestion: back off a grade or two and learn to read the rock. There is more to climbing than just _connecting the dots_; Baldy is not a gym. Save such extensive marking for the indoors. Yikes! (We found the same kind of thing on _Flesh Wound_ and elsewhere...)
I send _Seul Avec Dieux_ while Greg and Nathan run around like kids in a candy shop. I love this problem. The movement feels so perfect. As I top out I think to myself, _I wonder if this isn't V6?_ I'm leaning there; though this will probably get me into some trouble...
The Prow is hard. I hit the upper sloper first go and fall on the _crux_ move__falling_ into the upper left side-pull. I give it two more tries and retreat. It feels possible, but not probable today. Plus, I've got plans today. Greg gives it a go or two. He confirms my sentiments: this thing is stout. It is very windy and shady to boot, so we head out, but not before Nathan wrestles with a Buffalo. What a classic problem!
We stop by a boulder that we have walked by a hundred times and finally do a problem on it. I thinks it is an FA, but it is tough to tell. V2/3. Fun. Greg gets it first. Me second. We make our way to the _Plum Line Cave_ (I'm not sure about the name). It is not easy to figure out what is what in this cave, but it sure is a cool piece of rock! Greg spies out what he thinks the line is. Greg boots up and pulls up and narrowly misses the flash. My turn. I misread the sequence and opt for a difficult heel-hook. I fall. Greg figures out the sequence and sends it second go. I too get it second go. It is tough to tell what line we have actually done. We have labored to keep our feet high, so as not to be _disqualified_. We are not sure if this is _Plum Line_ V8, and really there is no way for us to know. There appears to be three lines: one hard (the one Greg and I did), one easier (the one Nathan did). and one weird and contrived (the one none of us did). The line we did felt V6/7ish. Easier than _The Cheat_ for sure. We head over to the Backside, but first Greg has some unfinished business on _The Cheat_...
We arrive. Greg boots up. He jettisons the _undercling_ sequence, and just bears down on the under-the-roof crimps. Sends first try of the day. We leave, but not before spending some pretty serious time on the _Shoulder Soldier_ project...
The Backside...beautiful. The wind has died down. The weather is cold but stable. I'm thinking about the backside and wondering why it gets comparatively little action. There was not one problem on the Friction Addiction video from the BS, yet many of the highest quality hard problems are there. From what I understand the MN crew didn't really go back there much either. Some of Baldy's VERY BEST problems are back there: Wife's Wrath V8, The Calm Before the Storm V8/9, Scary Trees V8, Brilliant V9 plus many more! You would think that this would be one of THE places for visiting hard men to visit. Who knows? Either way, we arrive and then head immediately for the _The Calm_ Gully. The two lines on _The Calm Boulder_ are absolutely beautiful (and tricky!). 'Why have they not been repeated', Greg and I wonder aloud. _Calm_ has had only one ascent, Greg's, and I have come here hoping to change that. Again, this line is amazing! Such small and improbable-looking holds! NO feet. Tricky sequence. Very body tensiony. I pull up and feel good, yet misjudge the sequence. Same for tries two and three. Try four is different: everything comes together, and I am on top hooting and hollering. Greg, too, is on fire! A second for _Calm_! Finally! Josh Marcoe gets in place with camera and Greg sends it clean! I remain booted up despite the cold and send it again_back to back ascents! Feeling great! The pics turn out great. (Praise the Lord for digital cameras!) I suggest that we try _Wife's Wrath_ since we are right there.
I step up and send it first go! Greg is freaking out. So am I! What an incredible day this has been already. Greg steps up and also sends it first go! The air is electric. We feel unstoppable! Greg suggests a quick run up to Brilliant. It is cold, and the getting pretty dark...
We start working the first move of Brilliant. The thing is just plain hard. Especially for the right arm. Greg informs me of Blake's new beta, and I am psyched to try it out. Three times I gain and hold the left hand crimp! Using Blake's beta, I change the right hand into a sidepull and fight the right heel up. It sticks twice and feels really good both times, but I am spent and it is not to be. Greg on the other hand fights it out and sends it in near-dark! I am pleased with my personal progress on this desperate line, and Greg is psyched about his send. I am confident that it would have gone for me had we come here earlier in the day, but then again maybe something else wouldn't have gone...surely it will go next time. Good on ya Blake for figuring out the _short man's_ beta! Too, congratulations on your send of Brilliant! The thing is aptly named.
Thus ends our second day. I was both sick (I had been up all night the night before with food poisoning), exhausted and elated. Greg and I just exulted in the glory of Baldy. Till next year...
The recap: Two short days worth...
Blake's Polywogs Version V5/6, Greg flash; David 2nd goI Know Tecate V8, David flash; Greg 2nd go The Cheat V7, David flash; Greg 1st try of second day Open Wide V5, Greg FA; David second ascent Seul Avec Dieux V6, David first go (of the day)Plum Line Cave direct V7, Greg 2nd go; David 2nd go The Calm Before the Storm V8/9, David 4th go (second ascent); Greg sends again Wife's Wrath V8, David 1st go (of the day); Greg 1st go (of the day)Brilliant V9, Greg gets it again; David makes significant progress
Hats off to the CO crew and their new routes! Hats of to the MN crew and their many hard sends (especially the Prow! Oh how I wanted the second ascent...) Hats off to the new locals: keep up the good work, and slow down on the _tick marks_.
Hope you enjoyed the report,
|By Dan Dewell|
May 24, 2004
A rattlesnake has been spotted on Mount Baldy within the last two days around the Lillypad Boulder. Exercise caution when in that area. Keep your dogs on a leash, too; the local vets don't need anymore visits.
|By Mark Watson|
Sep 22, 2004
Just watched Friction Addiction and my entire mindset on boldering has changed from, I would rather gear up for a long route than touch a boulder to pumped up and stoked to go visit the small rock.
Question. How do the bolder ratings compare to 5. ratings?
|By Josh Theurer|
Feb 17, 2005
Hey all i need directions to 'knife in a gun fight', it is a problem that chuck does in friction addiction, any help would be frickin awesome, thanks guys
|By Greg Parker|
Feb 18, 2005
Knife In a Gun Fight isn't at Baldy actually. It's up at Iron Mountain. I don't really know how to describe how to get there. If you know how to get to the main parking of the Iron Mountain bouldering, the problem is pretty easy to find. Just head straight back toward the big lump of rock (which contains some bolted routes) and the problem will stick out plainly to your right. I still don't think anyone has done this from the lowest sit start. I don't think it will add any difficulty, but it sure adds to the line! Bring a spotter. I about killed myself swinging off the last throw. Dave A. fully caught me! Good luck.
|By Anonymous Coward|
Sep 11, 2005
I am new to the area and I am looking for climbers. Looking to boulder alot while my wife (primary climbing) is in Kuwait.I am buiding A wall in my garage that will be done soon. It is framed but still needs to be sheeted. It could get a little depressing to climbing in my garage by myself.I live off of ninth street a few blocks from downtown.
Also I am going to some of the Triple Crown bouldering comps in the south (where I am original from). Last year there were people from all over the country there. Is anyone going form the Hills.
I also went to the athletic center and looked at there wall. Looks pretty cool but no one else was there. I would like to know if other people climb there before I drop the money for a membership.
Anyone looking for partners (Rock, ice, trad, sport, bouldering, or backpacking) contact me at
|By Jon Marek|
Jan 25, 2010
any beta on pussyfingers/sports action arete boulder?
|By Greg Corn|
Mar 17, 2010
HOW DO YOU GET HERE?
I am collecting info for a family trip this summer.
It says park at South Seas, where is that for starters within the monument?
|By Dave Rone|
From: Eau Claire, Wis
Mar 17, 2010
The location for this area indicates it is a few miles west of the Mt. Rushmore faces, when in fact it's only about 1.5 miles. Park at the National Memorial Sign pullout on either side of the road, or better yet, continue west a couple hundred yards and park at the Wrinkled Rock trailhead parking area. This helps relieve congestion and the potential for crashes on the highway.
There is a well-traveled trail heading east out of the parking area that will take you to the South Seas in less than 5 minutes.
Mar 25, 2012
So I know that this has already been asked, but I don't believe that anyone answered it. Is there a guide book for this area? There appears to be a ton of great stuff, enough to warrant a book. If a book doesn't exist how easy is it for one of us not locals find our way around.
|By Mike Housiaux|
From: Rapid City
Mar 18, 2013
Black Hills Bouldering Guide Book is in the works through Sharp End Publishing. All of Rushmore will be included. If you have any information you can message me. Should have over 1200 problems in it.