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Saddle Peak

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Block/Gully Var. S 
Christmas Chronicle S 
Last Dance S 
Richard's Rift T 
Route 1 - R.I.P Arete S 
Route 2 - The Roof Route S 
Route 3 S 
Route 4 S 
Route 4 1/2 T 
Route 5 S 
Route 6 S 
Route 7 T,S 
Route 8 T,S 
Route 9 S 
Xeno Dance S 

Saddle Peak  

Photos:  Recent | Best | Popular
Elevation: 1,000'
Location: 34.07931, -118.65877 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 14,558
Administrators: jt512, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: Michael Bartosek on Apr 4, 2009  with updates from Benjamin Chapman
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A 360x180 I from the top of the wall. Interactive ...

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Saddle Peak, located on Stunt Road, near the crest of the Santa Monica Mountains, is a north facing sandstone outcrop. While Saddle Peak receives modest traffic from climbers the rock exhibits a grainy/ball barring feel under foot and a considerable amount of lichen throughout.

Saddle Peak hosts fifteen bolt protected "sport" routes, which often take or may require supplemental traditional gear, depending on your abilities and head for run outs on moderate grades. Remember to bring a selection of cams and nuts for most routes.

The rock is sandstone and sandstone conglomerate, with aggregate, xenoliths, or pebbles protruding from the matrix, on many routes. While Saddle Peak seems to be the perfect low commitment sport crag, the north facing aspect makes it shady and cold in the winter and sunny and hot in the summer. The best climbing days are warm fall or winter days and cool spring days.

The main wall is referred to as the "Corpse Wall" as the route developers discovered a body at the base. The crag was developed in the mid-2000s.

Getting There 

Santa Monica Mountains. Park at the intersection of Stunt Road, Saddle Peak Road and Schueren Road hike up the Backbone trail to the west (towards water tower). The slabs are an obvious formation approximately 3/4 mile up the trail. The trail climbs for the first 1/2 mile and then descends slightly to the climbs - main wall to the left of the trail.

Climbing Season

Weather station 3.1 miles from here

15 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',4],['2 Stars',11],['1 Star',0],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Saddle Peak:
Route 1 - R.I.P Arete   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a PG13     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Route 8   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b PG13     Trad, Sport, 50'   
Route 5   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Route 6   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Route 3   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Xeno Dance   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Route 4   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Sport, 60'   
Christmas Chronicle   5.9+ 5c 17 VI 17 E1 5a     Sport, 50'   
Route 2 - The Roof Route   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Last Dance   5.10d 6b+ 21 VII+ 21 E3 5b     Sport, 1 pitch, 50'   
Browse More Classics in Saddle Peak

Featured Route For Saddle Peak
Yvonne leads Route 3 on a slightly cool and slight...

Route 3 5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c  CA : Los Angeles Basin : ... : Saddle Peak
Middle section of route feels a bit run out and wanders, looks like there are a couple of variations bolted on this route - but follow the left bolt line to the anchors. This is a fun route despite the wandering nature. I often wondered if the route was originally intended to be a mixed trad sport route as there are lots of cracks that could potentially be used for trad gear. Although, the rock is a sandstone/conglomerate and rock strength could be an issue....[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Saddle Peak Slideshow Add Photo
Sunset at Saddle Peak
Sunset at Saddle Peak
From the parking area go up the dirt path by the p...
BETA PHOTO: From the parking area go up the dirt path by the p...
Looking up routes 4 & 5.
Looking up routes 4 & 5.
Great Spring flowers in bloom at Saddle Peak.
Great Spring flowers in bloom at Saddle Peak.
Looking down from the anchor for routes 4,5,6 whil...
Looking down from the anchor for routes 4,5,6 whil...
Trailhead sign for the Backbone Trail which leads ...
Trailhead sign for the Backbone Trail which leads ...
Giant rock next to the wall. Looks like there is a...
Giant rock next to the wall. Looks like there is a...
Saddle Peak, Corpse Wall routes.
BETA PHOTO: Saddle Peak, Corpse Wall routes.
A cross erected at the base of the slab, to honor ...
A cross erected at the base of the slab, to honor ...
William Leventhal on the Roof Route 5.10a at the C...
William Leventhal on the Roof Route 5.10a at the C...
Toproping RIP Arete.
Toproping RIP Arete.
The Turnout/Parking for the Saddle Peak/Backbone T...
The Turnout/Parking for the Saddle Peak/Backbone T...
This is where you turn off the main approach trail...
BETA PHOTO: This is where you turn off the main approach trail...
Photo of the edge of the slabs as seen from the tr...
Photo of the edge of the slabs as seen from the tr...
Top roping "route 2"
Top roping "route 2"
Graffiti along the trail to Saddle Peak. Seems to ...
Graffiti along the trail to Saddle Peak. Seems to ...
Approach Trail Map  From the parking lot: Look out...
BETA PHOTO: Approach Trail Map From the parking lot: Look out...
Highliner high over the Corpse Wall at Saddle Peak...
Highliner high over the Corpse Wall at Saddle Peak...

Comments on Saddle Peak Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Apr 19, 2015
By benjamin malave
Jun 4, 2009
I just wanted to clear up some information about "the slabs." It is actually called Corpse Wall
due to the corpse we found at the bottom of the route "R.I.P. Arete" where the cross is located.
All the routes were put up by Abraham E. Benjamin M. Brahm H. Darren A. Mike O.
I also wanted to add that the corpse was a guy that committed suicide. We know this because he left a note.
There was a strong effort to make everything bomber. We did not put anchors on the top
of all the routes because it was not needed and would have been a much bigger footprint.

The routes have all been put up in the last 5 years. There are some more recent routes that
have not yet been bolted but can be TR.
I would also like to add that there are some random bolts on the wall that someone
put in for no known or obvious reason.
There are some routes that use pro as well as draws. In general. the routes were never intended to be sport routes.
If anyone's interested, I'll post the names and ratings of all the routes in the next couple of weeks.

Climb Safe and be good to our planet.

Benjamin M.
By steve edwards
From: SLC, UT
Jun 18, 2009
Might want to change the name to Saddle Peak, since that's where this is. This place was developed by the same guys who did Tick Rock but they've disappeared so no route info is known. Very cool place for what it is.
By steve edwards
From: SLC, UT
Jun 18, 2009
I think they had gear in mind between some of the bolts. I know I brought some, and maybe placed it. If the routes were at my limit I certainly would have. I recommend a small rack if pushing limits and onsighting here.
By Michael Bartosek
From: Los Angeles
Jun 30, 2009
Thanks Steve. Feedback appreciated. I need to get out there and get some beta on the other 7 or so routes. It is a fun area to climb in and the slabs are a nice break from the pockets and overhangs at MCSP.
By Michael Bartosek
From: Los Angeles
Jul 9, 2009
Benjamin - thanks for the clarification on Corpse Wall - I changed the name and it would be fantastic if you could update the information on that page..
By jt512
Apr 16, 2011
Changed area name to Saddle Peak per historical FA information from S. Edwards above.
By JeffMK
Jul 4, 2011
Not sure if it was done intentionally to keep this place quiet, but the "getting there" info is missing the turn to the right in the trail by the "boundary" sign.
By Eric Wilkins
Jan 29, 2012
Can anyone tell me if there is an easy approach to set up a TR here for the various routes?
By Jim H
From: Pasadena, CA
Jan 31, 2012
Eric, The approach for setting topropes is super easy. Just keep walking along the top of the cliff (instead of turning right and walking to the bottom of the wall). Some routes have bolt anchors (reachable from the top) and placing gear for the others is possible.
I think all of the routes are toprope-able (I haven't tried, but it seems pretty possible).
By Tristan B
From: La Crescenta, CA
Feb 6, 2012
If you're a skater, there is a sick clean empty pool right before the water tower. You might want to throw your deck on your pack and get a little session in on your way in or out.
By Maidy
Apr 7, 2012
All the routes can be TR'd and access to the topside is easy (follow Jim's directions). Some climbs share anchors and may need a directional clipped to a bolt. The (shared) anchor for the RIP Arete and the Roof Route requires extension with a cordalette to TR without major rope drag.

PS: @Benjamin- We are definitely interested in the real route names. If you have the time to send us the info, we'd love to edit the route index for this wall to reflect the names that were originally chosen.
By Wil Sterner
From: Topanga, California
Nov 27, 2012
I am wondering about the large formation directly across the trail from corpse rock or saddle peak. Never brought my binocs but there appears to be some shiny anchors on top? Also, I found a misterious bolt on top of another rock on the trail that covers the ridge that goes from the old foundation and radio tower trail over to the top of red rock. If anyone has any idea what I'm talking about I would love to know more about it.
By Brandon Riza
Jan 27, 2013
Hey everybody.
I've been climbing here a lot lately. Cool spot.
I shot this interactive photo from the top of the wall...not really a beta shot, but cool to look at.



Also here:

By Maidy
Feb 1, 2013
About the big slab opposite Corpse Wall.

Yes- there are anchors at the top of this formation.

This west-facing pocketed face rates 11-ish (?). Top-side access up the bushy south-face gully. Some 5.0 climbing involved to get down to the bolts. You'll need LONG webbing to extend the anchor since the rope drag is gnarly. We anchored and belayed off the boulder over by the RIP Arete to reduce rope drag. The rock quality is poor compared to Corpse Wall.

The north-facing big slab-climbs are a grunge-fest. Belay is only possible from the topside-down because of the manzanita jungle* at the base. The big gullies that split the slab make it less fun than it looks.

That being said.. it definitely will liven up your day if you are bored with the 5.9 slab climbing.

  • *Please note that cutting manzanita is against state law and the park service has prohibited any new access trails being created around the formation.
By Chris Owen
From: Big Bear Lake
Aug 10, 2013
Visited this place for the first time today - with Sara Susca. It was a perfect day.
By Maidy
Aug 13, 2013
Note: The topo for Corpse Wall in the most recent So Cal guide has a number of errors. Fortunately, since all the grades are moderate you won't really run into trouble. The info and topo here on MP is more accurate.
By Mia D
Dec 1, 2013
I went there today to check it out, and seems like there are spots to TR.

Gonna try it next weekend.

Brandon, can you post the names and ratings for me?

Thank you so much!
By Mia D
Jan 19, 2014
For routes 4,5,6 I was able to top rope it using the chains up top.
Fun routes, especially the crack climbing at the beginning
By Benjamin Chapman
From: Small Town, USA
Nov 27, 2014
Thanksgiving Day, November 27, 2014. Record high temps for the holidays at 86 degrees Downtown. Beautiful conditions at Saddle Peak with four parties of climbers and a group High-lining across the gap. Everyone having a great time. AWESOME!!
By madge
From: 1986 Toyota 4x4 P/U
Jan 6, 2015
Hi folks!
I'm gonna ge going to this spot this sunday and i've never explored these mountains and i would like some beta about stealth camping. the sites are expensive and i also have a dog. I looked on the NPS page and dogs are allowed in the park just not in the bc. is this spot considered bc or fc? I saw the approach is like 1/2 a mile long so whats the scoop. any advice would be swell. or at least a section where you know is decent and i could scope it out when i get there.
By hikingdrew
From: Los Angeles, CA
Jan 19, 2015
So a bunch of people were out at Saddle climbing today around 11 when a guy walks down the trail and tells us all that we're on private land, that he's the broker and the land was resurveyed. He didn't say we were trespassing and didn't ask us to leave. In fact he told us to take care. What's up with that?
By Jake Dunn
From: Los Angeles, CA
Apr 11, 2015
Was at Saddle peak today, talked to some folks who found a bolt with a loose nut. It was loose enough that the hanger came off. I believe they placed the hanger near the cross.

I also found one spinner.
By Maidy
Apr 19, 2015
It's difficult to tell who actually "owns" Corpse Wall. The hiking trail on the east side is a State Park boundary. It does not include Corpse Wall. A NPS boundary cuts directly across Corpse Wall lengthwise. Does this boundary include the cliff face itself and it's base has always been a question in my mind.

There are private property markers to the west and north and the remnants of a fence line not far from the base. Based on the location of the fence line and markers and the NPS maps, it *seems* like the climbs are on NPS land. Rangers I've run into out there while climbing never mentioned it being private land.

If the land has been resurveyed, that private property line may have been moved up to the the cliff itself. With the proximity to several heavy-use hiking trails, imminent domain already allows hikers to cross private land in at least one section of the approach BTW, but I'd just keep a low profile out there people. Stay clean and safe. Be polite with any person claiming to own the land - they may be telling the truth.
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