Taiwanese-American blogging about his travels outdoors and occasionally his thoughts on life.

Thursday, May 05, 2016

Climbing at Castle Rock State Park, California, United States

Climbing Locations:  California Ridge and Platypus in the Western Addition region.

This past Sunday, me and some friends went up to Castle Rock to do some rope climbing. The original plan was to warm up on Summit rock but we quickly discovered that the trail to the rock was closed for nesting reasons. Thus, we moved to Castle Rock proper.

To get to Castle rock, if you're coming from the South bay, make your way to highway 9 and turn left at hwy 35. If you're coming from south or north of the park, you could make your way onto highway 35 directly and look for the park on your right/left depending on your direction. For specifics, visit the park website and plan accordingly: http://www.parks.ca.gov/?page_id=538

Parking is difficult on the weekend. Summit parking lot is almost always available to find parking, regardless of time. The trade-off of course is a 20-30 minute hike to the park entrance. You can either take the main road or a scenic path, there should be free maps available at the trail entrance and at certain trail junctions. Parking at the main lot is a gamble. If you arrive anywhere from 7-8, you'll find a spot. Anytime after is a gamble. Even arriving around 850am may be pushing it.

To get to these climbs, an abundance of information exists on the net. A few examples of where to find such information include SuperTopo's handbook or Mountain Project, the website. Here is the map that we used:

California Ridge was a great start to the day. To begin, you have Band Aids On Road Rash (5.7) which is essentially just scrambling over large steps. Then as you move towards your left, you have the slightly more difficult, but straightforward Guilty As Charged (5.10d). As you move more and more to your left, you should be sufficiently warmed up.

After an hour or so at California Ridge, it was decided that setting up another rope would be more efficient, considering the size of the group (8 people total). So while half the group stayed at California Ridge; me, Keira, and Olivier meandered our way back up the mountain in search of a fun route.

We settled on Platypus rock. It was a great rock to end the day. Littered with 10as and 10bs, it was the perfect rock for the level of the group. I was even fortunate enough to lead one of them!

By the time we exhausted ourselves, it was already close to 6pm. All in all, another solid day of climbing. I much preferred Castle Rock to crack climbing at Diablo and Yosemite.
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