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Solar Cave

Routes Sorted
L to R R to L Alpha
Clovis Hunter 
ILL (Ian and Lance Line) Route, The 
Intelligent Design 
Native Rituals 
Natural Selection 
Quest for Fire 
Survival of the Fittest 
Tribal Moves (aka Sacred Stone) 
Voyage of the Beagle 

Solar Cave 

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Administrators: Aaron Hobson, Jason Halladay, Anthony Stout, LeeAB, Marta Reece, Kristine Hoffman
Submitted By: Anthony Stout on Mar 6, 2006
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  Print a Mini-Guide with routes

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Aaron on "the Ill"....Solar Cave.
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Quote from random climber while working one of the routes in this area: "this is good choss!"

The routes here may look a little crumbly, but the rock is quite solid! Home of the most difficult climbs in Diablo, exciting and overhung routes will push you to the limit!

Getting There 

Walk down to the arroyo and head straight as if going through the canyon between the cliffs. Before you enter between the cliff walls you will see a trail off to the right, heading up toward an obvious south facing area with overhanging rock on the north side of the canyon. The area is adjacent to Sun Devil on the same cliff band.

Climbs, left to right (see Aaron's topo for details) 

Voyage of the Beagle 5.11b/c
Hominid 5.11b/c
Intelligent Design 5.11c - shares most of 1st pitch with Hominid, move right to belay, then go up 2nd pitch
Natural Selection 5.12+
Survival of the Fittest 5.13a
Project (possibly not cleaned/finished)
Project (possibly not cleaned/finished)
Project (possibly not cleaned/finished)
Mastodont 5.13b/c
Evolution 5.12c
Lucy 5.12a - start shared with Cro-Magnon, then left
Cro-Magnon 5.12a
Meanderthal 5.11+ - start shared with Cro-Magnon, then move right into Neanderthal
Neanderthal 5.12b
Sapien 5.12c/d
Erectus 5.12c - start as for Sapien, then right
Clovis Hunter 5.12b
Native Rituals 5.13b
Tribal Moves (aka Sacred Stone) 5.12d - start shared with Native Rituals, then right
The ILL (Ian and Lance Line) Route 5.12c
Decomp 5.13a - listed in book, but some bolts chopped/missing hangers
Suicidal Society 5.11c - 2 pitches

18 Total Routes

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

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Solar Cave:
Voyage of the Beagle   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 100'   
Hominid   5.11b/c 6c+ 23 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   
Intelligent Design   5.11c 6c+ 24 VIII- E4 6a     Sport, 2 pitches, 150'   
Lucy   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 90'   
Cro-Magnon   5.12a 7a+ 25 VIII+ E5 6a     Sport, 90'   
Clovis Hunter   5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b     Sport, 80'   
Sapien   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b     Sport, 80'   
Erectus   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 60'   
Evolution   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   
The ILL (Ian and Lance Line) Route   5.12c 7b+ 27 IX- E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 70'   
Tribal Moves (aka Sacred Stone)   5.12d 7c 28 IX E6 6b     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Survival of the Fittest   5.13a 7c+ 29 IX+ E6 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Native Rituals   5.13b 8a 29 IX+ E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 85'   
Mastodont   5.13b/c 8a+ 29 X- E7 6c     Sport, 1 pitch, 80'   
Browse More Classics in Solar Cave

Featured Route For Solar Cave
Ed moves past the crux roof & gets ready for the tough corner <br />Clovis Hunter (5.12)

Clovis Hunter 5.12b 7b 26 VIII+ E5 6b  NM : Santa Fe Area : ... : Solar Cave
Start on broken rock that is harder than it looks, reach good holds and set up for the small roof and overhang. Original finish heads right with technical face climbing. A new alternate finish heads straight and pulls the next roof. Both finishes are supposed to be the same grade.Edit: After some additional cleaning and holds breaking, this line is now considered 12b, perhaps even on the stiff side....[more]   Browse More Classics in NM

Photos of Solar Cave Slideshow Add Photo
sketch topo of the routes in the cave
BETA PHOTO: sketch topo of the routes in the cave
Picture of Solar Cave from <a href='/v/the-grotto-aka-the-notch/105803240'>The Grotto (AKA: The Notch)</a>.
Picture of Solar Cave from The Grotto (AKA: The Notch).
Comments on Solar Cave Add Comment
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By Aaron Miller
Jun 28, 2006

This cave was named "Solar Cave" due to its passive solar properties with south-facing aspect and good canopy angle which provides sun in the winter and some shade in the summer. In teh winter, climb mid-day, in the summer, climb early or late.

good progressive design to a climbing area. Every area should have this luxury.

By Monomaniac
From: Morrison, CO
Apr 6, 2007

Anyone know what the furthest right route in the cave is? Is this the first pitch (11c?) of Suicidal Society? The rock seems especially nasty.

By DisturbingThePeace
From: Albuquerque, NM
Dec 7, 2012

Does anyone know the story behind Decomp 13a? It is listed in Jemez rock as a 4 star route "Steepest and most sustained climbing in Solar Cave. Follow bolts to shared anchor with Suicidal Society". Is this the same route as the ILL line? Did it fall down? Did Jemez rock invent a route? Is it there and I just can't find it?

By LeeAB
From: ABQ, NM
Dec 9, 2012

DTP, I think what happened is that the book went to the published at about the same time as those two routes over there were being bolted, ILL and Sacred Stone/Tribal Moves (though neither of these names are what was given by the FA as far as I know. ILL is what I called the route on the right because of who put it up and I think Arron started calling the other one Sacred Stone or Tribal Moves or whatever, Lance bolted it and gave it to me after he found out that others were trying to steal the FA without asking).

Anyway, I think is was just sort of a way to say that there was something hard over in that area, so yeah it is not a separate route and the one that most closely resembles it is ILL.

By DisturbingThePeace
From: Albuquerque, NM
Dec 9, 2012

Thanks Lee, After looking yesterday and climbing ILL, there is a line that shares the first 3 bolts of ILL, then branches right. The bolt line is missing a hanger on one stud and has one chopped bolt higher. Then it looks like it joins Suicidal Society / Icarus. Holds looked generally solid and had some faint chalk, with 2 new bolts (Stud may be too mangled to get a nut on) could be a decent challenging route.

By Aaron Miller
Dec 10, 2012

The route names for "Native Rituals" and "Tribal Moves" were offered by Lance and or the FA party. I had no part in that.

As far as a connector from ILL to Icarus, I would look at a unique start to the right of ILL, maybe adjacent to the big roof block. Id hate to see ILL get cluttered with ambiguous bolts if we can help it. ILL is a time-tested high quality route as it is. Could also just be a direct start to Suicidal Society.

If you are looking for a new project, the rest of the Cave between Mastodont and Survival of the Fittest has some potential for 13+ or harder lines. Someone other than me should do this; I am not qualified to put up those grades.

By DisturbingThePeace
From: Albuquerque, NM
Mar 19, 2013

There are now several projects between Mastadont and Survival of the Fittest. I've heard that there is alot of interest in these lines so I wanted to open 1 of them up. If this isn't clear, just send me an email.

From Right to Left

Open Project, has one bolt and Anchor. All the good holds fell off the wall, and the sidepull jug will go with some cleaning. The start seemed impossible so I moved further left. Have at it, maybe some super strong climber can figure something out, or traverse in at the 2nd chain draw on Mastadont.

Closed Project, currently has two bolts and single bolt + RB anchor. Please leave as is. I would like to finish this one. We'll open it up if we can't figure things out.

Aaron & James's Project

Survival of the Fittest