The Far Side is mainly pocketed climbing on moderate steep steep faces. Its actually a bunch of ~50 foot rocks in one dense area, and none of them (to my knowledge) have been named, so we adress them in group. The climbing tends to be either extemely run out, or mixed bolts and trad... depending on your mindset and rack. Its a beautiful place that's far enough off the beaten path not see much traffic.
At the Bubble on the fire trail follow the trail starting slight left of the rock. It will take you gradually uphill for a mile, (above a couple other rocks with climbing potential, if you're interested). Finally, it will abruptly reach an odvious climbing area with Mills-Shute route directly in front of you. Its a great warm-up for the day, and about the best-protected climb in the area.
This steep slab route is on the highest spire at the Far Side. Airy exposure and breath taking views make you want to take extra rests on this Mt. St. Helena classic....[more]Browse More Classics in CA
The trail from The Bubble is about 1/2 mile up and down hill. Watch out for Poison Oak along the way- it is difficult to see, as it is mixed in with the various other diciduous species in the undergrowth you are meandering past and through. This and the occasional sharp branch dictate the favor of wearing long pants for this approach.
PS- the rock here is a little better than at The Bubble.
Many of the early routes here were established by Ken Stanton and friends back in the '80s. This isn't a pure "sport" crag. Take some gear with you. There is often ample protection in the horizontal slots. Tri-cams and TCUs are helpful. With this in mind, the X ratings given many of these climbs seem excessive. Most routes do not have lower-off anchors. Its easy to set up top rope anchors for most climbs with long slings, and you can scramble to/from the anchors around the back.
The naming of the route "New Tradition" was meant to symbolize the new style (circa 2000) of bolting ethic this area deserves. I am happy to see this tradition taking hold. According to some comments, however, another new, new tradition is to upgrade the ratings for almost every climb out there.
What ever happened to the good old fashioned sandbagging that once gave the Far Side it's character?
If you like trad climbing, consider climbing "Tradfest II 5.9," a contrived "multipitch" adventure linking 7 moderate trad climbs on 6 pinnacles from the bottom to the top of The Far Side. A description and a link to a video are provided for the route "Tradfest."