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Mount Woodson San Diego


Mount Woodson is one of the most popular rock climbing area in San Diego. With great character Woodson features thousands of beautiful granite boulders sprinkled over the hillside of the mountain near Ramona. It is quite a special rock climbing area with many boulders too high for just a crash pad and too short for a legit lead climb. That is why climbers often end up top-roping the taller climbs. However, bouldering at Mount Woodson is also incredible with many options and a variety of climbing styles from challenging slab to splitter crack or contrived face movements. Many of the boulders are equipped with bolts for toprope anchors. Since the boulders are relatively short it is enough to bring a short rope of 35 meters. This will keep your pack lightweight and ready for most climbs. From Highway 67 at the trailhead parking is a trail that starts along the ditch. The trail will guide to a paved road that continuous to the top of the mountain. The road is not for public and only reserved to officials or vehicles serving the cell phone and radio towers that are installed on the mountain top.

The first rock climbing is as close as 10 minutes from the car. There are fantastic warm up boulders right and left off the paved road. Further up-left there is more to discover such as classic hardlines named “I hear my train a comin, 5.11+”. And also less challenging climbs are available with beautiful 5.8 cracks and faces. Mount Woodson is not an easy-to-navigate area especially when leaving the road to start looking for classics that are published in guidebooks. Many climbers have struggled, bushwacked and finally not found the climb they were looking for.

For first time visitors to San Diego the easiest is to stick near the road and keep walking uptowards the top. Along the way there are plenty of rock climbing opportunities with more than one day of exploring. Mount Woodson is a popular climbing destination for San Diego and even Southern California. With early ascents in the 50’s and 60’s rock climbing legends such as Royal Robbins, John Bachar, Ron Kauk and many more came to push their limits in free climbing. Lines such as “Robbin’s crack, 5.10a” are now classic San Diego climbs with great history.

Adam Stackhouse: “As the story goes, in the 1960s Royal Robbins was shown this boulder, and it’s striking 20ft crack. The cats that showed him the route boasted that they had already sent it, but didn’t say that they did it via aid. It was that very day, that the Robbins Crack saw its first free ascent as bewildered eyes witnessed Royal’s effort and so named the route