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Climbing West of the Reservoir

Pinnacles National Park

Gabilan + Southern Diablo Mountains, California

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Climbing West of the Reservoir

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  • The High Peaks Trail leaving the Bear Gulch parking area, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The High Peaks Trail, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The Carousel, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The climber approach to the Carousel, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • Deserted Valley, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • Pinch or Lynch Wall, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The Unmentionable, rising enthusiastically from a hillside in Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The Anvil, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The Knee, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • Crud and Mud, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The Frog, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
  • The Hand, Pinnacles National Park.- Climbing West of the Reservoir
Overview + Weather
Pros: 
Adventurous climbing. Many choices. Wonderful scenery.
Cons: 
Bushwhacking approaches.
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Region:
Gabilan + Southern Diablo Mountains, CA
Congestion: 
Moderate
Pets allowed: 
No
Recommended Equipment:
Harness / rope / anchors, Additional ice tools, Helmets
Alpine climbing NCCS rating: 
Grade V
Net Elevation Gain: 
600.00 ft (182.88 m)
Parking Pass: 
National Park Pass
Preferable Season(s):
Winter, Spring, Fall
Total Distance: 
5.00 mi (8.05 km)
Trailhead Elevation: 
1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)
Current Local Weather:
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Adventure Description

Adventure Description

Contributor

The region west of the Bear Gulch Reservoir and southwest of the lower High Peaks Trail in Pinnacles National Park is full of remote rock features offering quality climbing, beautiful views, reduced crowds, and an exciting backcountry feel. It is an expansive area covered in great detail in Brad Young's "A Climber's Guide to Pinnacles National Monument," which could keep you occupied for seasons of climbing.

Access begins at the Bear Gulch Day Use Area and follows either the Moses Spring Trail to the Bear Gulch Reservoir and beyond or the High Peaks Trail to the Deserted Valley and its surrounding areas. Major formations near the reservoir include Crud and Mud, The Frog, and The Hand, all offering multiple fun climbing routes. In the vicinity of the High Peaks Trail and Deserted Valley, formations range from sizeable walls like Pinch or Lynch Wall to curiously-shaped individual formations like The Unmentionable or The Anvil. Many of the climbs in this area are trad climbs, though they will frequently have bolted anchors and/or intermediate bolts at key protection locations.

Classic routes among these formations include:

The Anvil (5.3 R)
The Unmentionable (5.5)
Salathe Route (5.6 R)
The Carousel (5.10b)
The Edge of Sundown (5.10b R)
Get a Grip (5.10b)
Love Line (5.10b)
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (5.10c)

Rock climbing has a long history in Pinnacles, which has seen first ascents throughout the development of the sport in the United States from the 1930s through modern times. The local climbing community has a strict ground-up bolting policy forbidding bolting on rappel. Resulting sport climbs have a natural flow but do not always offer convenient protection on crux moves. Though the volcanic rock is not as robust as the granite found in Yosemite and the Sierra Nevada, numerous mineral crystals and other features make for routes that often give climbers many sequencing choices. These crystals are prone to being dislodged, however, so both climbers and belayers in Pinnacles should always wear helmets. Experienced Pinnacles climbers try to avoid using the crystals as often as possible, instead looking for grip in the rock between the knobs.

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Location + Directions

Location + Directions

Nearby Camping + Lodging

(1 within a 30 mile radius)

Nearby Adventures

(13 within a 30 mile radius)

Adventure Community

Adventure Community

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Who's Done It
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96 Adventures Explored
48 Adventures Published

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