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One day to climb in Cleveland National Forest
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By gabemcg
From Phoenix, AZ
Jun 19, 2013

Hey there,

My girlfriend and I are heading from Arizona to San Diego this weekend. We are leaving Friday early afternoon, and hoping to find (nice??) free camping in Cleveland National Forest for Friday night. We would then like to climb most of a full day on Saturday before heading to San Diego for Saturday night and Sunday. Sunday is all booked.

Can anyone suggest a camping and climbing combo? I have been looking at the Descanso Wall, El Cajon Mountain, and Eagle Peak...a range of difficulties is ideal, sport and/or trad, single pitch or multipitch (Eagle Peak seems to skew towards harder climbing). Bear in mind that we climb in Arizona so we have a healthy respect for the sun, but are ok with being hot. I've also heard there is a good brewpub in Alpine for a possible Saturday dinner on the way to San Diego...

Many many thanks for any suggestions.

Gabe


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By Ryan Strickland
From Idyllwild, CA
Jun 20, 2013

I don't know if you are dead-set on the Cleveland National Forest or not but Idyllwild (Tahquitz and Suicide) is definitely on the way to San Diego from Arizona and has excellent climbing.

Idyllwild is located about 30 minutes south of the 10 freeway by taking the Hwy 243 Exit in Banning, CA. Tahquitz and Suicide offer world class trad climbing. There are many bolted routes, but I wouldn't call them sport. There is some free camping and numerous pay camping locations. It normally takes me 2 hours with traffic to drive to San Diego.

Stop by Nomad Ventures in Idyllwild for route recommendations and to inquire about free camping possibilities.


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By dholte
Jun 20, 2013

I'd highly recommend the El Cajon mountain / Alpine Beer combo.

1. The climbing at el cajon ranges from easy to hard, there is sport as well as trad (admittedly I've only climbed there once, but it was great), mostly multipitch, but a lot of it is bolted.

2. Alpine beer is the best beer in San Diego. Go ahead, debate me I dare you. I've got a growler of Nelson waiting for me now.

3. If you don't feel like camping in Cleveland National Forest, you can camp for free anywhere in Anza Borrego State park (there are pay sites too). My friends and I like to drive out there from san diego, pull off someplace random, walk into the desert, and get rowdy... there is no one for miles.


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