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Owl Tor

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Anchor Punch S 
Auto Magic S 
Better Than Life S 
Burly Shuffle S 
Chips Ahoy S 
Eudemonic S 
Gala Gala Happy S 
Hai Karate S 
Happy to be Here S 
Hell of Being Crushed Alive, The S 
Hell of the Upside Down Sinners S 
Natural, The S 
New Shatterhand S 
Old Pro Skill, The S 
Old Shatterhand S 
Power Of Eating (a.k.a. "Power"), The S 
Rubble S 
Spearmint Rhino S 
Strictly Ballroom S 
Super Crack S 
Terrible Angel S 
When The Sea Doesn't Want You S 
White Cougar S 

Owl Tor  

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Location: 35.11955, -120.10394 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 19,111
Administrators: andy patterson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: steve edwards on Jun 17, 2004
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The sportsman's paradise of the central coast. Steep burly routes of a manufactured nature on a fairly blank but very overhanging wall. The most purely physical climbing on the West Coast, Owl Tor has about a dozen route from 5.12 to 5.15. There is an 11d warm-up, but everyone calls it a sandbag.

Weather? The area around Santa Maria is subject to some extremes—freezing to sweltering—but the Tor is almost always climbable, even in 100+ degree heat. In heavy rain years, however, seepage eventually makes its way down the face of the crag, sliming pockets and jugs and creating a generally swampy environment. Still, you can often climb in a full-on downpour and have the smug satisfaction that you are probably the only person on the Central Coast climbing outside on dry rock.

Getting There 

From Santa Barbara, take the 101 North to Santa Maria, then exit the 166 and drive East. After about thirty minutes or so, take a left off of hwy 166 at Rock Front Ranch. Drive through a gate (usually open, unless it has rained a bunch) and go for about a quarter of a mile till the road suddenly shoots steeply up a hill. Park on the left. A small trail on the left will deposit you at the base of the crag after about 3 minutes.

Climbing Season

Weather station 14.7 miles from here

23 Total Routes

['4 Stars',5],['3 Stars',12],['2 Stars',6],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Owl Tor:
The Power Of Eating (a.k.a. "Power")   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Spearmint Rhino   5.11d 7a 24 VIII 25 E5 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Anchor Punch   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport   
When The Sea Doesn't Want You   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport   
Auto Magic   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ 25 E5 6a     Sport, 30'   
Hell of the Upside Down Sinners   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 60'   
White Cougar   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ 26 E5 6b     Sport, 70'   
Hai Karate   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport   
Old Shatterhand   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport   
The Old Pro Skill   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport   
Chips Ahoy   5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b     Sport, 60'   
The Hell of Being Crushed Alive   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ 29 E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Rubble   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ 30 E7 6c     Sport, 30'   
Better Than Life   5.13c 8a+ 30 X- 31 E7 7a     Sport, 60'   
Strictly Ballroom   5.14a 8b+ 32 X+ 32 E8 7a     Sport, 60'   
Browse More Classics in Owl Tor

Featured Route For Owl Tor
Old photo of Andy not sending on Chips. Yes, it is that steep.

Chips Ahoy 5.12d 7c 28 IX 28 E6 6b  CA : Central Coast : ... : Owl Tor
Another inimitable Perlin route. Some call it straightforward pocket-pulling, others call it the best route for hundreds of miles. Either way, it's no give-away and keeps you engaged for the whole pitch. Stout crimps lead to pocket after pocket after pocket... awesome!...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Owl Tor Slideshow Add Photo
Owl Tor Baby Rattler
Owl Tor Baby Rattler
Elijah demonstrates his newest route cleaning technology: an angle grinder tied to a wooden pole.  Genius.
Elijah demonstrates his newest route cleaning tech...
Phil crosstraining for Gala
Phil crosstraining for Gala
Much time is spent moving rocks. What? You don't do that on Saturday?
Much time is spent moving rocks. What? You don't d...
Someone said I look like Warren Harding in this photo.
Someone said I look like Warren Harding in this ph...
Martinis & Owl Tor. Always Classic.
Martinis & Owl Tor. Always Classic.
2013 Owltoberfest T-shirt
2013 Owltoberfest T-shirt
A rare siting of Turbo The Owl (and Owl Tor in the full sun)
A rare siting of Turbo The Owl (and Owl Tor in the...
Crux of Hell
Crux of Hell
Tom challenged everyone to a Strong Person Contest. He won.
Tom challenged everyone to a Strong Person Contest...
Me on the Chips Ahoy-Better Than Life linkup, 5.13a.
Me on the Chips Ahoy-Better Than Life linkup, 5.13...
Phil manning the martini bar at Owltoberfest 2013.
Phil manning the martini bar at Owltoberfest 2013.
The pristine beauty that is the Tor.
The pristine beauty that is the Tor.
Owltoberfest 2014 <br />Too much radness for 1 day. <br />Day 1 - Mr. Lee's Greater Hong Kong <br />Day 2 - Owl Tor
Owltoberfest 2014 Too much radness for 1 day. Day ...

Comments on Owl Tor Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Jul 3, 2014
By John M Ross
From: Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Feb 11, 2013
I wasted my time bringing a set of quickdraws, everything is fixed? im a fan of fixed draws but this place is crazy hahaa
By andy patterson
From: Santa Barbara, CA
May 12, 2013
Beware rattlers during the Spring months! Check carefully amongst the boulders before you settle in to a belay stance. This last week was kind of gnarly.
By Bob Banks
Oct 2, 2013
Vintage footage of The Owl Tor and The Castle on ESPN.

"Hollywood" Hans Florine (so cool he gets his nickname in FRONT of his real name) on The Natural and Chips Ahoy
Phil "Bambino" Requist on Strictly Ballroom

Unfortunately I can't be there for the first Owltoberfest, but this is my contribution.

Hans Florine at Owl Tor and The Castle - ESPN 1995
By Grover
Jun 18, 2014
California Climber NO. 07 Winter 2013, Owl Tor Feature: Quietly Local

By andy patterson
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jun 18, 2014
"lack of natural beauty"...

Hmmm. Disagree. Perhaps someone should un-invite the author to Owltoberfest.
By Bob Banks
Jun 22, 2014
Sorry if you wrote that article Grover, but that magazine (and the article) is wank. I hadn't seen a California Climber since the first crappy issue and had forgotten about it until now. Hasn't gotten any better. Had the author visited The Tor more than once? He couldn't pick up a guidebook, or use Google to find out how to spell Phil's name? "Anonymous locals?" (all of whom have names and are easily found in at least two guidebooks). Can be climbed in harsh winter conditions"? Ummm...huh? The place seeps like a sponge and can be totally shut down for 2-3 months after storms and if you try climbing in the rain you'll be in trouble at rain filled clipping jugs.

And The Brickyard article that follows it? Jesus, what a pile. The author spends 2 paragraphs waxing about how the devastating Jesusita fire burned down The Brickyard and unleashed it's "full potential". Except that The Brickyard actually burned over a year (and another fire) before that in The Gap Fire (which burned no structures and inflicted no injuries). I guess you can't build up the drama if you actually know what you're talking about. And saying it took a fire to realize The Yard's full potential might be the stupidest thing I've heard in years, evidenced by the fact that every photo and every problem recommendation are the same classics since the 90s. Anyways....rant off, the mag has nice photos, but that's about it.
By andy patterson
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jun 22, 2014
Bob, don't turn the rant off.

By the way, Grover didn't write the article; some out-of-towner did. Don't know him.

Grover loves the Tor.

To add to your comments regarding the B-yard: after the Gap Fire, the old B-yard trail disappeared and the new path hightailed it to the Yeti area. Basically, traffic at the Yard' thenceforth consisted of Yeti, Charlotte's Web, Grotesque Old Woman, Watch The Dog, Smooth Criminal, and Dancing Outlaw. Other areas fell in to relative obscurity. After the fire, the focus of climbing seemed to favor select classics, not the greater area. Prior to the fire, we were much more apt to explore, and thought of the Brickyard as a "circuit" area, like Font.

But this is just the anecdote of one aging climber. Maybe other climbers had a different experience.
By Bob Banks
Jun 22, 2014
Yes, no doubt The Brickyard is actually 'less' fully realized than before the Gap Fire. It's so overgrown you can barely get to The Far Left Area or The HST problems, all good stuff that used to be on the circuit, now never gets climbed. Every time I walk down there I miss the old trail. C'est la vie.
By Grover
Jun 22, 2014
The article is very shitty, but the pictures aren't bad, the grades and names of climbs sited on the pictures are almost all wrong. I probably shouldn't have posted it here out of respect for the Tor, but the pictures speak for themselves.
By Aaron InternetHardman Stireman
From: San Luis Obispo, California
Jul 2, 2014
The guy that wrote the Article is from the Bay Area. I thought the article was completely lame - he basically just talks trash, and posts some photos of his friends hangdogging up some hard routes. Maybe it's the fact that he has some injury that doesn't let him climb anymore (excuse) that he goes around shooting photos and writing articles about areas he doesn't climb at, or even research on mproject (not even a few clicks) for that matter. The keyboard can be quite shouldery after watching other people send - ask any serious climber. Perhaps working a route at the Tor would be exactly what he needed to appreciate the amount of effort involved in a serious redpoint, not to mention creating a route, not to mention the entire Tor with all its effort and beauty. I don't mean this in his defense one bit, because, well, if someone misquoted me and it was something that mattered to me, I would tell them to either correct it, or to print nothing. Basically, he said (when the article first printed I told him it was choss), that his article is at the whim of his editor. But, with any good excuse...it's still on him.
By andy patterson
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jul 2, 2014
It took a three-year off-and-on-again battle with Chips for me to appreciate the true nature of the Tor. And if you were lucky enough to watch Elijah wage war with Hardboiled (I was) then you really understand how long and protracted redpoint battles can be. The Tor is a brutal mistress, and will not be slandered.
By steve edwards
From: SLC, UT
Jul 3, 2014
I wish we'd taken photos prior to beginning work here. Poison oak running 40 feet up the wall that, when touched, rained sand like a Sirocco on the Sahara. I've never been as dirty in my life as after a work day at the Tor. It's the Taj Mahal of climbing, only we couldn't afford slaves to do the work.