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Summary

A small, but reasonably good selection of tide- & swell-dependent highball boulder problems on two small walls and a cave at the northern end of Ocean Beach, below the Cliff House.

Description

Take care in the upper half of all of the climbs here, as the rock gets crumbly right about where it gets highball, and the top outs can be nasty (sloping sand & loose gravel). Bring a pad, since the sand varies by up to 6' or so over the course of the year (high in summer, low in winter) and can be wet & hard packed. All listed grades are for when the sand is high (summer) - when the sand is low the steep, slimy lower part of the wall is exposed, typically upping the grades.

Important Note: sometime in late 2015 / early 2016 the massive boulder that formed the main top rope anchor disappeared, presumably removed as a safety precaution by the city (it didn't appear to be attached to the rock platform, but must have weighed several tonnes). As a result it is no longer possible to safely rig a top rope here!

This wall is almost guaranteed to be cool, even on those (rare) hot San Francisco days. The rock can be damp though, particularly near and inside the cave, both because of the proximity of the ocean and because of the constant sea spray.

A large nylon brush is worth bringing, to remove the worst of the sand from the lower holds, and the loose gravel from the higher ones (especially the topouts).

The best descent and top access are to the right, facing the cliff. While it's possible to descend on the left, the rock quality is dire.

A tide chart is available here.

Access issues

For all access issues, please contact the Bay Area Climbers Coalition.

NPS land (GGNRA).

Approach

Park in the northern-most Ocean Beach parking lot, just before the road winds up the hill to the Cliff House. Walk north along the beach passing the 'Initial Wall' on your right. The 'Main Wall' is located just around the first protruding nose of rocks.

Routes

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Grade Route

The initial wall has a few mediocre problems that drop before the (loose!) top. Not tide affected.

The main area, offering a small number of generally good quality highball problems.

Up using large flat edges (avoid the jugs for added value).

Good introductory problem.

The face the next two routes are on has a variety of quality variants and eliminates.

Straight up from a flat edge just above head height.

Classic laybacking down low. Shame it's so short!

A little loose up high. Can escape right if need be.

Low crux.

Can escape right, if the top roof is too scary.

Awkward crux at half height, just as the rock gets bad.

Watch the rock behind.

Watch the rock behind.

Usually done left to right.

On the right side of the cave.

There are at least two well-known problems inside the cave, and potential for a couple more. It's usually pretty damp however, and there's often trash (including broken glass).

Slaps up the steep, blunt arete, then drop from the jug. Can be extended by starting further right (V6).

There's another problem on the stalactite feature further inside the cave. It's usually damp, however.

Activity

Check out what is happening in Cliff House.