Many of us learned to climb at the Pinnacles - a short distance from Monterey. Traditionally The Pinnacles offers a wide diversity of routes and grades from easy "mountaineering" climbs to super hard overhanging sport routes. Our "local crag" has it all.

The park is divided into two districts - the East and West - both are easily accessible from the Peninsula with driving times from 3/4 to 1 1/2 hours. La Gloria Rd (out of Chular) can be used as an alternate route to reach the East side. It is a graded dirt road passable by two wheel drive vehicles (in good weather) and offers rich scenery- both flora and fauna. You might get lucky and spot a Bob Cat or Wild Turkey or an explosion of Spring wild flowers. The West Side is more low key and less crowded, has taller cliffs (the Balconies & Machete Ridge) and some classic traditional (stance drilled) routes. The East Side has many "sport routes" concentrated in the corridor from Discovery Wall to the Monolith. A slightly longer hike will yield a good return - classic routes on the Hand, Frog and Yaks are scenic and well worth the extra trail-time. The High Peaks can be reached from either side of the Park and their routes have the distinct difference of offering wild exposure and dramatic summits! Be aware and respect seasonal route closures for nesting raptors and report any nests you may notice from your unique vantage point.

The rock at the Pinnacles varies in consistency and quality from route to route. Some is super hard and consolidated (Ryolite) and some is loose and chossy (Breccia). Care should be taken to test handholds and footholds before committing to a move. Remember the bigger the knob-hold (the more it protrudes from the host rock), the more leverage you can apply. Use the "knock-knock who's there?" technique for testing holds - pound each candidate with the heal of your hand - or give them a test-kick.

Most routes are short (80-150 ft) with the exceptions being on Machete, Balconies, Yaks and Resurrection Wall. Plan to rappel off most routes and be cautious and aware of spontaneous and climber generated rock fall. Wearing a helmet (although not popular on sport routes) is a good idea and will avoid the common headache due to rock fall. Use long runners to reduce rope drag and for the occasional knob tie-off - nylon is less slippery than spectra and good for this. Also a handful of nuts are a good supplement to in-situ gear on trad routes and may offer more than psychological benefit.

CLOTHING Wear clothing that provides good mobility like loose pants or shorts. Remember the rock is very rough and your clothing is your "second skin". Good ankle cuffs and long sleeve shirts are good for keeping the sun off in summer and repelling biting "no see-ums". Spring and fall are mild, summer very hot and winter nights can be below freezing if you "camp over".



Lead Rope

Locking biner Rope Tarp/Bag Key Hanger
Belay Device 10-12 Draws Rap Slings
Chalk Bag 6-8 Runners (some for tie-offs) Rap Rings
Helmet   Cams (4-6)
Shoes 4 Tri-Cams

Climbing tennies

Headlamp (for caves) 6 Wired Nuts  

*Some climbers prefer soft slipper shoes for frictioning on rounded knobs. Others wish a stiff edging shoe for square cut edges. A handful of beginner routes can even be ascended in trail shoes or tennies.


Pinnacles Guide Book
Sport & Face Climbing
Flash Training

All ** sport videos **


East West
Tourist Trap Area 5.7 - 5.9 Old Original 5.4 mountaineering
Portent 5.5 Chockstone Dome 5.3-5.5
Swallow Crack 5.7 (nuts) Twinkle Toes 5.5
The Wet Kiss 5.9 Dos Equis 5.8
Subterranean Tango 5.10+ Bandits in Bondage 5.10+ or 5.11
The Pod 5.11 Lava Falls 5.9 (seasonal)
The Hand 5.6 (exposed!) Shake and Bake 5.9 (seasonal)
The Frog (5.7-5.11) Game Show 5.10-5.12
  Costanoan 5.4
  Machete Direct 5.8 A1 or 5.12+
  Tilting Terrace 5.8 / Backside 5.9
High Peaks  
Flat Iron 5.4-5.10
Burgundy Dome 5.7
The Egg 5.9
Dragon Fly 5.7
Freedom Dome 5.9
Tuff Dome H&L 5.5
Condor Conduit 5.7
North & South Fingers 5.5


Mt Whitney - Mountaineers Rte (N. Ridge) C3-4 often icy
Kings: Angel Wings, Thunder Mountain, Kearsarge Pinnacles
Monarch Divide: Grand Sentinel, Y-Gully C-4
Palisades: Several "knap sack" passes & cols C2-4
Evolution's: Mt Darwin W. Ridge C3
Mono Recesses: Piute Crags (many), Bear Creek Spire C3-4, Mt Abbot C3-4
Minarets: many C3-4 and lots of C5!!!
Clark & Cathedral: Tenaya Cyn C3-4, Mt Lyell C3-4 (snow or ridge), Echo Peaks (many C3-5), The Cockscomb C3-4
Northern Yosemite: Sawtooth Ridge (many C3-5)