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By far the best outdoor area in San Francisco. Super convenient (10mins walk from Glen Park BART) and with unique rock.
Despite getting panned in a lot of local guidebooks, Glen Canyon is actually a great bouldering area for its size, particularly if you're willing to go beyond the obvious lines and holds, and start making up eliminates and variations (in which case you'll find that Glen Canyon is an excellent training area, particularly for pinch and crimp strength).
The rock is unique and cool to climb on - chert (ultra hard, cleanly layered sedimentary rock) that has been uplifted and deformed by California's famous tectonic activity. The rock fractures into very blocky square cut holds, creating the ubiquitous "incut jug slot". While the rock is generally solid, there are a few patches that have been deformed to the point of becoming choss, and holds can and do rip off in these sections. Another unique feature are the ultra-polished sections (slickensides) - these are the surfaces of micro-faults that have been polished by millennia of sliding past each other.
Many of the problems are fairly highball (up to about 5m high), though you're never far from a jug, so escape is usually feasible. Landings however are not the best, with lots of rocky points poking up out of the ground, and a steep hillside dropping away not far from many landings. A mat and spotter are highly recommended, though insufficient for some of the highest highballs - a toprope setup is also worth bringing if you want to get on those.
Dead Cat Rocks (described as "Deep Canyon Boulder" on some sites), located further up the canyon and on the other (Western) side of the creek, is off limits to all climbing. See SF Parks & Rec Significant Natural Resource Area section 6.3-12 and 6.3-13. http://sf-recpark.org/ftp/uploadedfiles/wcm_recpark/SNRAMP_Final_Draft/6_Site-Specific/63OShaughnesy_GlenPark.pdf for more details.
Many options, but the most straight forward for new visitors is to walk up through the canyon from the rec center end of the park (Elk St at Chenery - you'll walk up Chenery if coming from BART). Follow the gravel road north alongside the creek.
The first boulders you'll see are the hillside boulders up high on the right. Next are the "black overhang" and "choss buttress", also up to the right. Passing the preschool on the left you'll reach the "kung fu bridge" over the swamp. Legend has it that a famous Bruce Lee scene was filmed here, hence the name. After emerging from the willows, you'll see the main cliff band straight ahead up the hill.
Please don't cut straight up the hill to the crag - SF Rec & Park has spent a lot of time in recent years tracking building and stabilising the hillside, and the stairs leading up to the right doubles back straight to the crag, making shortcutting redundant.
Absolutely no bolts of any kind, anywhere. If you need a top rope, bring a rack and slings (there's great gear for most of the problems).
Stick to made tracks as much as possible.
Bring a plastic bag and spend 15 mins at the end of your session picking up the trash that non-climbers throw off the top - that helps keep the place open.
The Sierra Club is known to have climbed here in the 1930s.
There are no open trips for this crag
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