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

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Climbing at Goat Rock in Castle Rock State Park, California

The Saturday before my roadtrip north, I went with a friend to Castle Rock to get some morning climbing in. That day, we chose to warm up on Goat Rock and finish at the waterfall.

By 8:30am, the parking lot and overflow spaces were already beginning to fill up.

To get to Goat rock: from the Castle Rock parking lot, start on the Saratoga Gap trail. Continue until you come to a fork that points to Falls Overlook (waterfall) to the left and Goat Rock further up. Follow the Goat Rock trail. For climbers, you'll pass by two other crags before reaching Goat Rock, Last Temptation Cliff and Billy Goat rock on your right. By the time you hit the wooden stairs that climb up, Goat Rock should be on your left. The bottom of the climb is just before the stairs while the access to the anchors are at the end.

Goat Rock is pretty popular not only for climbers but hikers as well, so don't be surprised if you find the top of the route populated by hikers enjoying the view.

Now when I went there, July 2nd, there were only three anchors. One anchor mean for Center Overhang right/left, and two for Triple Overhang/Great Roof. What looked like the anchor meant for the Swiss Cheese Direct/Right and South Arete was no longer there, only screws. Perhaps when you go later on, that will be fixed.

Rapeling off the top is pretty fun. Doing it over the Great Roof is the best.

About to rapel into the air!
At the end of the day, we never made it to the waterfalls. Instead, we spent most of the time working on the Great Roof.

The holds for the Great Roof are incredibly good, easily at a 5.8/5.9 level. But I think what gives the problem a "5.10c" rating is the psychological factor. As you make your way higher and higher up the wall, you move further and further away from the belay rope and into the cave. This mean that after a certain point, failure and falling means swinging out into nothingness.

At 70-80 feet up in the air, that can be scary!

Then, once you finally get to the roof, actually finishing the problem means hanging upside over nothing! Once again...looking down 70-80ft can be quick exhilarating.

All in all, Goat Rock is a good rock for beginner to intermediate level. There are 3 beginner problems and 3 medium problems. Definitely take your group here if its a mix of beginner and intermediates.

Problem description from the book:

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