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Climbing
?
Alpine climbing NCCS rating
Grade V
Elevation Gain
?
Distance
1.00 mi (1.61 km)
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Discovery Wall is the most popular climbing crag in Pinnacles National Park. It is easy to get to from the Bear Gulch parking lots and offers a wide variety of quality routes in a range of difficulties to appeal to many climbers. It is a long, continuous cliff face with trad, sport, and top-rope climbs all along it and a climber trail running its entire length. Beautiful scenery, well-trodden access trails, and a convenient belay ledge round out the appeal of this classic crag. Excursions to the Bear Gulch Caves, Bear Gulch Reservoir, and nearby climbing areas such as The Monolith make for a full day of adventure at Discovery Wall.

Pinnacles National Park is the newest national park in the United States, acquiring this status in 2013 after being originally established as a national monument by Theodore Roosevelt in 1908. The park features dramatic volcanic rock formations including high peaks, caves, and highly-featured walls that are well suited to rock climbing. The peaks rising above the surrounding farms and grasslands host one of the highest densities of prairie falcons in North America as well as reintroduced California condors and a growing population of peregrine falcons. Other wildlife include coyote, bobcat, California quail, golden eagle, and cougar.

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.

Brad Young's "Climber's Guide to Pinnacles National Monument" is a favorite among local climbers and provides excellent coverage of Discovery Wall and other crags within the park. Classic climbs on Discovery Wall include:

Portent (5.6)
Swallow Crack (5.6)
Ordeal (5.8)
Plague (5.10a)
Broken Arrow (5.10d)
Cosmos (5.11b)
The Verdict Direct (5.11b)

 

Logistics + Planning

Preferable season(s)

Winter
Spring
Fall

Congestion

High

Parking Pass

National Park Pass

Pros

Numerous high-quality routes. Easy access.

Cons

Crowds.

Pets allowed

Not Allowed

Trailhead Elevation

1,300.00 ft (396.24 m)

Net Elevation Gain

200.00 ft (60.96 m)

Features

Rock climbing
Bird watching
Wildlife
Big vistas
Cave

Location

Field Guide

Nearby Lodging + Camping

Gabilan + Southern Diablo Mountains, California

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