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Santa Barbara

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* Santa Barbara Bouldering 
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Santa Barbara Rock Climbing 

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Location: 34.4477, -119.68 View Map  Incorrect?
Page Views: 897,271
Administrators: andy patterson, M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: EricT on Jan 31, 2006
You & This Area
Best climbs for YOU in this area
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BETA PHOTO: Looking out at Santa Barbara (mainly UCSB) and the...

Getting There 

Santa Barbara is a low-key town an hour north of Los Angeles. Take the 101 north and you go right through town.


Santa Barbara has a large number of short cliffs scattered about the ridgeline behind the city. The rock is dense sandstone of mixed quality and primarily bolted. Like San Luis Obispo, it's not a destination area, but good routes exist.

The rock is soft, and softer when wet, so please respect the one day of drying for each day of rain rule.

Guidebooks currently available in local stores:

  • Rock Climbing Santa Barbara & Ventura by Steve Edwards (well put together and still quite complete, covers roped routes as well as the major bouldering areas)
  • Ocean's Eleven - Bouldering around Santa Barbara by Bob Banks (brand spankin' new!)

And a guidebook not currently available in stores, but obtainable on Ebay, Amazon, etc:

  • "Climbing! Santa Barbara, Ventura, San Luis Obispo" by Steve Tucker and Kevin Steele. A fabulous text that pays ample homage to Santa Barbara's traditional roots. A little outdated in some areas, but a gem of adventurous and off-the-beaten-track routes nonetheless. It's out of print, so happy searching!

Here's some additional climbing related links with a local flair:

  • catalogue of climbing and assorted adventure from guidebook author Bob Banks.

  • let burly sport climber and Owl Tor afficionado Elijah Ball show you what's rad, and what's not. Topics range from climbing to freediving to weightlifting.

Climbing Season

Weather station 2.9 miles from here

643 Total Climbing Routes

['4 Stars',48],['3 Stars',249],['2 Stars',220],['1 Star',93],['Bomb',2]

Classic Climbing Routes in Santa Barbara

Mountain Project's determination of the classic, most popular, highest rated climbing routes for Santa Barbara:
Goldak   V0 4     Boulder, 18'   The Lizard's Mouth : The Mouth
Lizards' Mouth Traverse   V0+ 4+     Boulder, 40'   The Lizard's Mouth : The Mouth
The Extremist   V1 5     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Extremist Boulder
Breathless   V2-3 5+     Boulder, 18'   The Lizard's Mouth : Meilee Area
Shaken, Not Stirred   V3 6A     Boulder, 14'   The Lizard's Mouth : Femme Fatale Area
Charlotte's Web   V3 6A     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Charlotte's Web Area
Watch the Dog   V4 6B     Boulder, 12'   The Brickyard : Soot Patrol Boulder
Yeti   V4 6B     Boulder, 15'   The Brickyard : Yeti Boulder
Smooth Criminal   V6 7A     Boulder, 12'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
The Tempest   V6 7A     Boulder, 17'   The Lizard's Mouth : Smokeys Cave
Gangster Hippie   V7 7A+     Boulder, 20'   The Lizard's Mouth : Top of the world/Entry way
Dancing Outlaw   V8 7B     Boulder, 20'   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
No Pigs For Rent   V8+ 7B+     Boulder, 15'   * Santa Barbara Bouldering : Hat Creek Cattle Company
Purgatory   V9 7C     Boulder   The Brickyard : Dancing Outlaw Boulder
First Come First Served   V10 7C+ PG13     Boulder, 30'   * Santa Barbara Bouldering : The Creamery
I Wanna Be Your Pussy Cat   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 65'   Panic Town : Wall 3
Great Race   5.10a 6a 18 VI+ 18 E1 5a     Sport, TR, 1 pitch, 70'   San Ysidro
T-Crack   5.10 6b 20 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 60'   Gibraltar Area : Gibraltar Rock
The Nose   5.11 6c+ 23 VIII- 23 E4 5c     Trad, TR, 1 pitch, 100'   Gibraltar Area : Gibraltar Rock
Makunaima   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- 24 E4 6a     Trad, 1 pitch, 90'   Gibraltar Area : Cold Springs Dome
Browse More Rock Climbing Classics in Santa Barbara

Featured Route For Santa Barbara
Rock Climbing Photo: Beta photo for Watch the Dog.  Most folks finish a...

Watch the Dog V4 6B  CA : Central Coast : ... : Soot Patrol Boulder
Squat start and move out of the cave on cool slopers and edges. Ends on the giant jug hueco unless you are feeling ballsy......[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Santa Barbara Slideshow Add Photo
Rock Climbing Photo: Sunset over the Santa Barbara Channel. Santa Cruz ...
Sunset over the Santa Barbara Channel. Santa Cruz ...
Rock Climbing Photo: Wild turkey - looking more Montecito than Santa Ba...
Wild turkey - looking more Montecito than Santa Ba...
Rock Climbing Photo: Mission Santa Barbara
Mission Santa Barbara
Rock Climbing Photo: Tarantula, photographed on a climbing outing in Sk...
Tarantula, photographed on a climbing outing in Sk...
Rock Climbing Photo: Pelicans near Santa Barbara. Photo by Blitzo.
Pelicans near Santa Barbara. Photo by Blitzo.
Rock Climbing Photo: Beautiful Santa Barbara
Beautiful Santa Barbara
Rock Climbing Photo: Looking east from near La Cumbre Peak, above Gibra...
Looking east from near La Cumbre Peak, above Gibra...
Rock Climbing Photo: Climbing at the Splashzone
Climbing at the Splashzone
Rock Climbing Photo: Coast Live Oak, following one of the recent fires ...
Coast Live Oak, following one of the recent fires ...

Comments on Santa Barbara Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 14, 2014
By Nathan Fisher
Feb 2, 2006
Nice to see Santa Barbara make it here. I first climbed here when my brother introduced me to the sport in 1984. Man that was some years back.
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
May 16, 2006
For single-pitch sport climbing, you've got several options in and around SB:

  • Wheeler Gorge - on the way to Sespe along Hwy 33 - a good variety from 5.8 to mid 5.11 on 3 distinct rock types. Nice when it's hot, right along creek. About an hour or so from SB.
  • Little Lebowski - a good half day's worth. Short routes. A 15 min walk, just off W Camino Cielo.
  • Fire Crags - a good half day's worth. Nice views. Short routes, short approach. Right off 154 at Painted Cave.
  • Crag Full 'o Dynamite - zero approach, about a dozen short, fun routes literally right on the road. 15 minutes drive past Upper Gibraltar.

An hour and a half to the north, San Luis Obispo has some fun climbing on entirely different rock than the Santa Barbara/Ojai/Ventura variety. The best routes are on Bishop Peak and the [currently closed] Cerro Romualdo.

Pretty much the only multipitch climbing within 3 hours of Santa Barbara is at Sespe Gorge. Ending Crack is the best of the lot. Tahquitz/Suicide offers many fantastic multipitch routes, but it's a 3.5 hr drive from SB directly through L.A. Tollhouse Rock is another option for multipitch, but again, it's a good 5-hr drive, you're almost better off going to Yosemite.
By andy patterson
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Jun 19, 2007
Actually, there are a number of awesome multi-pitch routs in S.B.: Cathedral Peak (adventuresome 3 pitch 5.7), Upper Gibraltar (2 pitch 5.10b), and a number of others...
By Adele
From: Golden, CO
Sep 20, 2008
Has anyone found any new rock since the fire?
By andy patterson
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Oct 29, 2008
As of Fall 2008, much of the climbing on West Camino Cielo is closed due to some sort of post-fire mulch operation instituted by the Forest Service. Lizard's Mouth is still open, but places like the Brickyard and the Playground are off-limits until (apparently) next Fall. Please respect the Forest Service's wishes and don't climb the closed areas. There's plenty of other rock in the area.
By Matthew Fienup
From: Ventura, CA
May 27, 2009
The Jesusita Fire, which destroyed more than 8700 acres, has had a dramatic effect on Santa Barbara climbing sites. Upper Rattlesnake and Upper Cold Springs Canyons suffered severe damage. The entire Gibraltar Area, including Cold Springs Dome, has burned.

To see photos of the Gibraltar Area after the fire, click here
By Rob Riggleman
From: Santa Barbara, CA
May 28, 2009
There is a trail restoration day planned for June 13th for many of the trails affected by the Jesusita fire. Not too many details on the organization of the day yet, but the general plan is to meet at Skofield park and then set out to work on the Jesusita, Tunnel, Rattlesnake, and the West Fork of the Cold Springs trails.

Check this blog for further updates.
By burlap submariner
Jun 25, 2010
coming to santa barbara this winter to surf and looking to climb in the san ysidro area and other surrounding crags. Is there relative cheap camping/blm land in the immediate area or close buy? Also where is the best good eats/beers nearby? Muchas gracias.

By andy patterson
From: Santa Barbara, CA
Sep 9, 2010
An update from Bob Banks:

C'mon, people. Spread the wisdom.
By Jan Roestel
Sep 20, 2010
Bob and Andy are spot on. Post the link on the Brickyard and Lizard Mouth pages.
By Chris Morissette
From: Santa Barbara
Mar 14, 2014
I was up at Fire Crag yesterday and saw two baby rattlesnakes on the trail between the lower and the upper crag. There must be a den near there. They were extremely camouflaged so be careful.

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