Where are the best places to go rock climbing in LA?

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Answered by: Noelle, An Expert in the Adventure Travel - Hiking and Climbing Category
There’s a rather large population of climbers who don’t think there is great rock climbing in LA. I understand how easy it is to assume that that's true given that it is a huge metropolitan city, however; If you know where to search you will be able to find treasure. My two favorite gems of Los Angeles are the Santa Monica Mountains and Point Dume State Beach, both of which just happen to have amazing places to go rock climbing.

One of the better-known spots for rock climbing in LA is Malibu State Creek Park. Many people come here because it is a famous filming site. M*A*S*H, Planet of the Apes & Tarzan have all been filmed here. One of the top roping walls is actually referred to as Planet of the Apes Wall. There are tons of sport climbing walls of all difficulty levels to try out and the bolts are in decent shape. Most routes appear after you have traversed the notorious rock pool. To get there just follow the screams of all the cliff jumpers and if you see a rescue helicopter idling chances are it’s over the rock pool. I should mention that if you don’t go climbing on a weekday then make sure to come very early, or towards the end of the day. I give this tip because climbing businesses love to take their clients here and they have a tendency to hog multiple walls at once.

If you prefer to climb in near solitude like myself then I highly suggest Echo Cliffs. The drive into the mountains takes about 20 minutes and then there’s a 30-minute approach. This combo dissuades a lot of people from climbing at this location, but I personally love the drive through the canyons and I enjoy the hike in. Do your beta on the routes before you come because there is no cell phone reception deep in Echo Cliffs. The routes are not kept up as nicely as Malibu State Creek Park and the choss I’ve encountered here inspired me to start bringing my helmet to all my climbs. Bring plenty of water, sunblock and snacks. I’ve seen people bring hammocks here to take naps between climbs as well. The sun is a bit harsh for most of the day and there are limited walls during midday that have shade. I like to take a reprieve inside of Kamikaze Cave between routes, or come near the end of the day when most of the walls become shaded and the temperature has dropped.

A visit to Los Angeles wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the beach. Not only is Point Dume a beautiful beach, it's also an excellent spot to set up a top rope. Come to this spot when you want to relax with your climbing buddies because the hardest route at Point Dume State Beach is only a 5.10b. Many climbers won’t get much of a challenge from these routes, but the majority of us are doing it for the novelty of climbing on a giant cliff that overlooks the coast. The South Face Right is my favorite as it is the only route that has your body to the back of waves that are crashing against the rocks beneath you, whereas the other routes have your back to the sand and a crowd full of beachgoers gawking at you. The South Face Right also has a fun mantle with plenty of room to get creative. The bolts are currently being redone to make this spot safer and their final date of completion has not been announced. When the time comes to rock climb on Point Dume State Beach again I strongly advise bringing a beach umbrella or tent.

Climb on!

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