Quiet Oceanside Cruxes on Memorial Day

Patrick’s Point – Black Wall

On Memorial Day weekend I had to get creative after having to abandon my Sonora Pass destination due to an abnormally wet Spring. Using my Where To Climb App I was able to find somewhere dry, it was just 6 hrs away. There was a wide-variety of good climbing in NorCal outside of Eureka and even on Memorial Day weekend we had most the crags to ourselves… Although it was hard to find a place to sleep. (classic California)

Land of The Lost

Our first destination offered BLM dispersed camping at the trailhead, a long approach, and a forested, scenic setting. It was like a more tame version of Shuteye. I was so excited about the weekend I brought out my 1950s climber-wear.

Normally the approaches are shorter because the road is open, but it was still closed early season to prevent some tree disease. As a result, our approach out to the bountiful sport moderates at Pinch Me Wall took an hour with a couple of wrong turns. (which is kinda what I expected at some place called Land of the Lost).

The rock lent itself well to all the newer outdoor climbers. It was very well bolted (maybe even over bolted) and while the rock looked a bit conglomerate, it was actually very solid. Claire accomplished her first Sport-lead and we even were able to set up a directional so some of us could practice big wall jugging.

Patrick’s Point State Park

After struggling to find a camping spot and eventually waving the white flag all the way to Motel 6… We arrived at Patrick’s Point State Park for some trad fun on Sunday. There are some awesome looking oceanside multi-pitches on Wedding Rock, but this was not the right weekend for them. So we set up on the coal-colored “Black Rock” for a rocky ocean-side setting, beautiful splitters, and over-aggressive hungry squirrels.

Awesome Time Lapse from Jen at Black Rock

I tried my hand at a supposed “5.8+ classic” that became a horrid overhung offwidth problem. After donating a quart of blood and we took off to get back on some face climbing for everyone.

Moonstone Beach

Rounding out our diverse climbing weekend, we arrived at Moonstone Beach in the afternoon seeking out Karen Rock. From the sandy beach setting, the rock offered fun technical 5.11 top ropes.

This was the first time we had to share any rock with other climbers, but on the plus side, we did get to watch some 5-year-olds try to climb a rock.

Awesome Time Lapse from Jen at Karen Rock

On the Road Again

Unable to find any campsites, we overnighted South at Jackson State Forest. However, we found that going to any Northern Bay Area crags (Salt Point or Mt. St. Helena) would double the drive-time home from Highway 101. So instead we patted ourselves on the back, skipped the Memorial Day bridge traffic and awarded ourselves an afternoon on the couch on Monday.

In summary, we had a varied, super cool climbing weekend in setting, rock and, experience. Every time I seek out less traffic’d areas I am surprised by how fun they can be and relieved at the seclusive settings. It was also super fun and rewarding to bring out a bunch of friends to experience outdoor climbing.