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Tollhouse Rock

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Tollhouse Rock  

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Location: 37.033, -119.387 View Map  Incorrect?
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Administrators: M.Morley, Adam Stackhouse, Salamanizer, Justin Johnsen, Kristine Hoffman (sitewide)
Submitted By: ClimbandMine on Feb 8, 2003
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BETA PHOTO: Tollhouse Rock showing the Tollhouse Traverse. A g...


Tollhouse Rock is a 600' granite dome located about an hour northeast of Fresno, at 4000' in the foothills between Fresno and Shaver Lake. A stellar winter weekend destination (or daytrip for us locals), it has some of everything -- sport routes, multipitch trad and runout face, and a little bouldering. The views of the Sierras and the valleys unfolding below the dome are fabulous, and definitely make a belay on top of another stellar pitch all the more enjoyable. Routes range from 5.5 to 5.12. If you plan on camping, it is possible at Tollhouse, but watch out for drunk rednecks with guns. With a 4WD you can get to the top of Tollhouse Rock and access some hidden spots, though.

The crag Squarenail, just down the highway from Tollhouse rock, is also included in this area due to its proximity. It contains primarily sport routes from 5.7 to 5.12, although a few cracks are available, as well as a boulder with some aid routes.

Getting There 

From Fresno, the most straight-forward route to Tollhouse Rock and Squarenail is to follow HWY 168 west (if coming from outside Fresno, take the Shaw Ave. Exit off 99 West to 168) past Prather. Its about 35 miles to Prather. Two miles or so past Prather is a stopsign where 168 turns left - follow it.

5.2 miles up the highway (this section is known to locals as "the 4-lane") is a sweeping lefthand curve, and roadcut, and a pullout on the right side (hop the curb). This is the pullout for Squarenail. A trail to the cliff starts at the beginning of the roadcut and a slabby rock, and is kind of hidden by brush. It will take you to the top of the cliff. Scramble down the gully on the left to access climbs on the main face, or continue across the top and follow the trail and gully down to access climbs on the left side of the cliff.

To access Tollhouse Rock, continue up the 4-lane for a few miles. Right after it ends, turn right on Tollhouse Road. About 1-1.5 miles down the road, a saddle is reached with an obvious dirt road and parking area on the left. With 4wd or moderate clearance, follow the road under powerlines and park. A serious 4WD road leads up to the top of the descent slab/trail. This is taken to Sunday Slab and the main wall.

Climbing Season

Weather station 4.3 miles from here

31 Total Routes

['4 Stars',0],['3 Stars',14],['2 Stars',13],['1 Star',3],['Bomb',0]

The Classics

Mountain Project's determination of some of the classic, most popular, highest rated routes for Tollhouse Rock:
Tollhouse Traverse   5.5 4b 13 IV+ 11 MS 4a     Trad, 4 pitches, 600'   Tollhouse Rock
Old Fart's Edge   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 4 pitches, 600'   Tollhouse Rock
Seven Bolts   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Sport, 1 pitch, 83'   Hippo Wall
Free and Easy   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 2 pitches, 300'   Tollhouse Rock
Elephant Walk   5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b     Trad, 1 pitch, 180'   Tollhouse Rock
Fabulously Fresno   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 95'   Hippo Wall
Beginner's Delight   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches   Tollhouse Rock
Platinum Plus   5.8 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Trad, 1 pitch, 60'   Tollhouse Rock
Taking a Bath With Strangers   5.8+ 5b 16 VI- 15 HVS 4c     Sport, 1 pitch, 120'   Hippo Wall
Art Baker Memorial   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a PG13     Trad, 2 pitches, 350'   Tollhouse Rock
Wandering Taoist   5.9 5c 17 VI 17 HVS 5a     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 350'   Tollhouse Rock
Shining Path   5.10b 6a+ 19 VII- 19 E2 5b     Trad, Sport, 4 pitches, 600'   Tollhouse Rock
Browse More Classics in Tollhouse Rock

Featured Route For Tollhouse Rock
Dave leading Elephant Walk, 2003

Elephant Walk 5.7 5a 15 V+ 13 MVS 4b  CA : Southern Sierra : ... : Tollhouse Rock
Continue through the scrub past the Tollhouse traverse and find three Yosemite-like finger cracks with large truck-sized boulders at the base. Elephant Walk is the middle, and best of the three. Climb it. ...[more]   Browse More Classics in CA

Photos of Tollhouse Rock Slideshow Add Photo
Tollhouse rock - Tollhouse Traverse is the obvious...
BETA PHOTO: Tollhouse rock - Tollhouse Traverse is the obvious...
kings canyon rd, fresno ca
kings canyon rd, fresno ca
Greg following up at Tollhouse
Greg following up at Tollhouse

Comments on Tollhouse Rock Add Comment
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Comments displayed oldest to newestSkip Ahead to the Most Recent Dated Mar 17, 2015
By Anonymous Coward
Apr 19, 2004
Just a neighborly comment...we rednecks have to watch out for drunken climbers with 4WD trucks! My dogs dodge youse guys all the time!

Signed: A denizen of the area
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
Jan 31, 2006
Tollhouse has some great climbing to offer. I had the pleasure of climbing here over a 2-year period in '98/'99 while working for the old Pacific Crest Outward Bound School "PCOBS", which had a basecamp further up Hwy 168 at the Sierra Summit ski area. After a long day of climbing, no trip to Tollhouse was complete without indulging in a world-famous malt at the Hungry Hut up the road in Shaver!

For first-timers, the Tollhouse Traverse is not to be missed. The bolted lines tend to be fairly runout, and many of the bolts were in bad shape, although someone may well have replaced these over the past several years.

Dave: thanks for adding this area to the db and helping to jog some good memories!
By M.Morley
From: Sacramento, CA
May 9, 2006
44 bolts on many routes were replaced March 2000 by members of the Southern and Central Sierra Climbers Associations. More...
By usetob
From: Visalia, Ca.
Apr 10, 2009
Recently climbed here for the first time and in comparison to yosemite, J-tree, Tahquitz and Suicide climbing definite sandbagging going on. Probably about a grade higher than stated. Great climbing however with solid granite. Will visit many times to come...
By Dave Daly
From: Del Mar, CA
May 17, 2010
@ BoBBa -

Actually, the grades are spot on and have been that way since they were FA'd. The times have changed but the ratings have not. Bolt placements may be far out there and that may make 'em feel a bit tougher (heady). Then again, it is slab after all...it's not for everyone.
By usetob
From: Visalia, Ca.
May 28, 2010
Dave you obviously have never been to Suicide or the Apron.
By Aaron Slaven
From: Fresno, CA
Feb 25, 2011
California Road Trip: A Climber’s Guide Northern California Vol. 1
has a good writeup/topo of Tollhouse. Added the "Hippo Wall" where Hippo in a Bathtub bolted slab is.
By Dave Daly
From: Del Mar, CA
Mar 9, 2011
@ usetob-
I have been climbing in all areas (including Suicide and Tahquitz...which are now just outside my back porch) since 1990. And, of course, I was once a local around Tollhouse as well. I support the grades of the FAist to this day. I first started climbing steep slab in the Valley, Courtright, Suicide and Tollhouse. They all have solid ratings for sure. You want to really put your head in check, climb at Looking Glass in NC. Scariest slab climbing on the planet hands down. 50 to 60 runouts the norm. You don't know what sandbagging is until you've been there. Soooo...."obviously", I have climbed beyond your narrow blind statement....

Run along now.
By Chad Namolik
From: Chattanooga, TN
Apr 20, 2012
Right On for Tollhouse! Just spent my first full day there. Led Beginners Delight, TR'ed Shining Path, then led the first pitch of Wandering Taoist(heady), then we finished the day up on 4 pitches of Beginners Right into Elephant Walk. Last pitch in headlamps with the Fresno lights shining bright. Had a blast and will go again soon. The road in is pretty gnar at that one bad spot. You'll need some burly high clearence 4wd to get up and down that.
By Topher42
May 9, 2014
is there still access land dispute in the area? Do I access it from the top or Bottom paved road?
By limpingcrab
From: Visalia, CA
May 11, 2014
The only issue is that one of the gate above is occasionally closed, but either way it's better to access from above.
By Mark Fletcher
Mar 17, 2015
From comments above, some people may think that you need a 4 WD to climb at this location, which is not true. Except when the dirt Burroughs Mountain Road is very wet (you probably don't want to climb at Tollhouse Rock in these conditions), I am able to get my Prius to parking spots along the road below the buzzing power lines. From there it is only a 10 minute hike to the top where you start descending to the base of the rock. A 4WD is necessary to drive up the very steep and rutted road from Burroughs Mountain Road to the top. Also, if you find that you are hiking or trying to drive through a gate, then you are going the wrong way and are going onto private property. The road to the top does not have any gates on it.

I believe all of the old Spencer homemade-type angle iron hangers have been replaced in the Storm Warning Wall earlier this year. Give the Spencer routes some love!
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