Tired of the same routes at your local Los Angeles climbing gym?
Let’s face it – hard plastic holds, though colorful, can only come so close to the real thing. Grab your shoes and chalk bag and head on out to the real thing. The deserts of Southern California have some of the best rock climbing there is.
1. Joshua Tree
Joshua Tree is well worth the few hours it takes to get there from Los Angeles. With its thousands of climbing routes and countless boulder problems, there is something there for everyone. It’s a world renowned climbing destination. From beginners to more advanced skill levels, all climbers will enjoy themselves immensely. The camping is great, too! Due to its popularity, there is quite limited camping space. Also, it’s worth nothing that there is no running water in the park. Bring jugs!
2. Echo Cliffs
Considered to be one of LA’s only backcountry crags, Echo Cliffs is located right off of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH) in the Santa Monica Mountains. It is for more experienced climbers and considered to be a moderate level climbing areas.
3. Point Dume
Point Dume’s atmosphere represent’s the epitome of Los Angeles – sun and sand and all that is good in the world. This rock climbing area accents the larger state beach of the same name and offers up a challenge in the form of a cliff right on the beach. It can get crowded on the weekends, so it may be better to go check it out during the week or at earlier hours.
4. Vasquez Rocks
This park is located due east of Los Angeles. It looks a little bit like Mars and has been a backdrop for countless movies, including Tremors, Star Trek and Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. There are 30 different marked climbs throughout the park. Climbers are limited to top-roping.
5. Devils Punchbowl
This climb is literally located on top of the San Andreas fault and is an incredibly scenic area. It is great for sport lead and top rope climbers; it has some pretty decent bouldering, too.
6. Malibu Creek State Park
A good place for intermediate to advanced climbers, this park is popular for sport lead and top rope climbing. The more popular areas include: Planet of the Apes Wall, Ghetto Wall and Mash Boulder.
7. Stoney Point Park
An iconic location, this was where legends like Bob Kamps and Ron Kauk first learned to climb. Stoney Point Park is in Topanga National Park, tucked away off of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH). There are more than 150 routes, and they vary from beginning to advanced.
8. Chouinard’s Hole – Stoney Point Park
Named for the hole in the front of it (obviously), this boulder is also named after Yvon Chouinard, who pioneered climbing and is also the owner of the clothing brand Patagonia. Try to sit in the hole, its tough to do!
9. Crowd Pleaser – Stoney Point Park
Named because of it’s impressive, gravity-defying shape, this concave slab of boulder curls out and poses a challenge to even experienced climbers.
10. Ummagumma Crack – Stoney Point Park
Named after a Pink Floyd concept album, this is one of the more challenging boulders in the park. Use the crack in the middle of the boulder to hoist yourself up and get started on this bad boy.