Sawtooth Canyon- Sport Climbing

So, this week we have- Started climbing properly, discovered my fear of bees and wasps is very real, ran and trained in the desert heat, ripped a hold off the crag low down, rigged the little solar panel to the roof tent, and posed for lots of climbing pics.

So taking off from the last post, after discovering the parcel was going to be a week longer we drove to Sawtooth Canyon back in the middle of California where we had stopped previously. The canyon is filled with hundreds of sport routes up to 120ft and as it is free camping seemed like a logical place to be. The second day after a couple of easier sport routes to warm up on I decided on something harder and went into the 5.10s’. It was a relief that after so long off climbing I could still climb a reasonable grade. The first route over 100ft with interesting huecos (hollow features in the rock) , the second route being an awkward corner requiring a little technique again rising 100ft.  After climbing we drove to town and loaded up with water and cheap tinned produce after struggling to keep fresh goods cold in the heat.   This gave us a lazy afternoon sat back drinking wine, eating snacks and reading.

The next day climbing was hard and very sustained around the 5.10. If I am honest it was painful, after yesterdays climbing my fingers hurt and the little crimps were not fun, nor were the cruxes or gaining the last 10ft on one route to the top bolts/chains which took several attempts to reach. We finished the morning climbing on a beautiful 5.7 route on red and white swirly rock which was a nice warm down. Climbing out here seems tiring and hot. Which it is.

The final day climbing was a fail, during the night I picked out three awesome routes that went to the highest points on some cool lines. 120ft (36m) in length being slightly past the limit of the 70m rope (you require enough rope to get up and back down on a sport route), but as the route had intermediate anchors half way, would be a good intro to multi pitch sport for Karli. After taking a while to find the start scrambling up and down little canyons, we arrived at the base. Looking at the rock I was sceptical. We roped up and I started climbing, 6 feet of the ground the first big jug hold ripped off the crag. That was disappointing. The next few holds looked of a similar manor. Cracked, flaky, hollow sounding and felt slightly loose. We decided to cut to the next route before more holds came detached. I should mention this area of the canyon doesn’t see too much traffic, being a 10 minute walk as opposed to roadside, and the rock being lesser quality. The next route I started climbing on similar looking rock and found the first bolt loosely spinning. It was a dismal feeling, well within my ability, but bad vibes coming from the route. We descended back down the canyon. Karli received a message saying my parcel had arrived. Within a few minutes we packed up camp and started the drive back.

Parcel collected, today-Mexico. Wish I could say more but there is lots to do.


3 replies

  1. Inconceivable! Sounds like that wall you’re talking about is the Cliffs of Insanity. That’s good on ya! The temps down here in SD are epic right now, and I’d highly suggest romping out to El Cajon Mountain today or tomorrow before making your way into Mexico. If not, come back up through Cali when you return from your southbound adventure and we’ll take that desert climbing trip in the spring to JTree, Red Rock, Moab, and finish on some Zion big walls!

    Be well, and have an excellent adventure my friend. May the power of those yellow rock addicts invoke great sends. They served me well (I climbed my first wall in those very shoes)!


    • We had a few days there not terribly hot. Climbing till two each day. Ye it was the cliffs of insanity, such awesome looking lines on it. Decided against it without helmets for marginal safety below. Maybe I should lose some weight.

      Liked by 1 person

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