Apr 6, 2008, 10:17 AM
Registered: Dec 21, 2004
Below is a written guide to the SJRG. You can copy and then paste the text into a word processing program to print out and take with you.
I plan on having the SJRG as a bonus section to the Shuteye Ridge climbers guide I am working on. With 60 problems and growing the SJRG is soon to be a very popular place for Fresno area climbers.
Any info you would like to add or changes to this content would be much appreciated!
San Joaquin River Gorge
Climbing can be found in the San Joaquin River Gorge Recreation Area. This area is managed by the Bureau of Land Management. A short down hill walk to the pedestrian suspension bridge delivers you to a steep canyon carved by the river. While jumping from the bridge into the water has been done it is not recommended due to its extreme height and shallow water. The river has carved amazing formations into the sides of the canyon with lots of deep pots and swirls in the rock. Boulders litter both sides of the canyon and some top ropes can be found downstream. The boulders are steep yet slick from river polish making for skin friendly climbing. The bridge is used by hikers, bicyclists and horseback riders. It allows recreation users to cross the river and explore the Madera County side of the Management Area. The Madera County side contains the Pa'san Ridge Trail and the Wuh-ki'o Trail, which have a combined length of ten miles. These make for excellent mountain bike trails.
Nearest town or city: Auberry
Directions: The Gorge is about two miles northwest of the town of Auberry. From Power House road which connects North Fork and Auberry turn West onto Smalley Road and go about 3mi. Follow Smalley road into the State Park and take the paved right fork. Shortly you will arrive at a grassy parking area. To the left is a picnic area with Miwok Tipis. The first locked gate marks the start of the downhill hike. Follow the paved road downhill until you can branch off left onto the marked dirt trail. This leads to the bridge that crosses the San Joaquin River. From Oakhurst drive time 60 minutes, best time 40 minutes.
Problems are listed as you encounter them from either going up stream or down stream.
When: The best time to climb is winter due its warm lower elevation and sun exposure. After driving through snow to get there many winter days have been enjoyed in merely shorts and tee shirts. Summer climbing is hot but watery diversions of cliff jumping and shallow water soloing are welcome relief. Also climbing after sunset with the use of lanterns has become a fun tradition.
River Crossing: There are four main crossing points to access either side of the river. 1. Cross the bridge. Duh! 2. Boulder hop across the river a little upstream from the Stilleto boulder. River height can make this one easy or difficult. 3. A little down stream from the Rollers a crossing can be found using some large touching boulders which lead to the huge rusting tank wedged on the other side. Up stream from the bridge a boulder hop across can be found about 100 feet downstream of Pebble Wrastlin. This is the easiest access to Splash Down.
V0 – 10a / V1 – 10c / V2 – 11a / V3 – 11c / V4 – 12a / V5 – 12c / V6 – 12d / V7 – 13a / V8 – 13b / V9 – 13c
High ball problems usually require multiple pads and spotters. X = High problem and/or crux with good landing. XX = High problem and/or crux with complicated landing. XXX = High problem and/or crux over bad landing zone. For God sakes please don’t fall!
North Side Up Stream:
“Bridge Wall” just down from the bridge. Left to Right:
V2 * Low Watt SDS up the left side of the wide crack. Crack is on but stay to the left side.
V3 *** Watt Me SDS Start with the left hand in a vertical seam and right in the dihedral. A left foot on the edge of Low Watt gets things going. Climb up the dihedral and either throw of the big knob to the left to reach higher ground or trend right for a slightly harder and better finish.
V0 Slab problem.
V3 ** XXX Incapasitator Left SUS 17ft Climb the arête and stay left at the top. An awkward mantle at the top over the death pit gets the heart going. FA Jeremy Ross. Jeremy muttered “This is not going to end well.” before committing to the mantle. Luckily it did end well and he nabbed the FA. V3*** XXX Incapasitator Right SUS Same start but trend right at the top. While this avoids the mantle it still gets your attention over the top. FA Grahm Doe. Both of these were sent on the same night with lantern light and many pads in the pit. Spring 08
V6 *** X High Voltage SDS 17ft Climb up the high face using a vertical seam for the left hand. An airy move to the top horns adds the voltage. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
V5 ** Hydro Spum SUS Start on the juggy shelf and climb the right side of the arête trending right to a difficult finish. Spuming the last move is key. FA Justin Ross Spring 08
V5 * 6 foot 4 SUS Start on the Shelf and go up the middle of the face using a huge reach up right to a side pull and finish of Echos. FA Brandon Maclemore Spring 08
V4 ** Echos of a Spydo Hum SDS Start on a shelf and crack system. Climb up and left following a pink dike. Cruxy top out. FA Brandon Maclemore 07 Variation: V5 Traversing in from the start of Hydro Spum.
V2 *** X High Wire SDS 18ft Climb the obvious high crack to an exciting finish left over the top.
“Slip Lip” As you hike upstream you will be forced through a small notch and then the Slip Lip boulder will be in front of you.
V6 ** Slip Lip SDS on the left side of the boulder. Traverse right along the improbable slippery water smoothed lip around the boulder to the top out. Avoid using the boulders stuck under the main boulder for feet.
“Power House Boulders” Continue up the river to you are almost across from the powerhouse. A huge boulder with a giant lip traverse means you have arrived.
V4 *** Powerhouse SUS This problem is found on the steep side of the boulder leaning against the giant boulder. Grap two crimps and campus for the lip. A dicey mantling top out awaits. FA Justin Ross Spring 08
V5 ** XX Blackout SUS Located in the middle of the giant boulder. With your left hand on a small square cut fire up and right to another square cut. Either dyno for the top lip or match and sneek around the right side to the lip. Complicated landing zone adds spice to this one! FA Jeremy Ross Spring 08
V5 *** XX Mega Ohm SUS One of the most brilliant lip traverses around. Start down by the river and start traversing up the lip up the boulder. With a lack of footholds, high exposure and slopey lip this an exciting 45 foot mega pumpy resistence treat. FA Jeremy Ross Spring 08
V? Backside of the boulder with a mossy seam.
V2 * SDS Just downstream is a boulder facing toward Black Out. Climb the right arête from the right side.
V3 * XX SUS Same boulder climb the slabby right arête from the left side. FA Justin Ross Spring 08
“Tapestry Area” Roughly 200 yards upstream you will find a small slab near the water with swirls of black and white weathered stone forming a unique tapestry of black and white.
V1 * Full Nelson SDS Climb the left side of the boulder just downstream from the Tapestry Slab. Start on a good crimpy rail and throw to the jug. The boulder to the left is off..
V6 ** Pebble Wrastlin SDS Use the sidepull in the dihedral to pull on. Then traverse left on slopey holds and poor feet to finish on Pinned.
V1 ** Boulder Hound SUS Just up the slab is a large boulder with a crack running near horizontal up from left to right. Start on the left side and traverse the whole crack or top out over the summit near the end. FA Jerry Spring 08
V2 * Scull SDS Up and over right of Boulder Hound is a gently overhanging wall perched above a slab. Lip traverse the left side from left to right.
V5** Crossbones SDS Start in the middle of the wall with a good ledge. Fire up to the side pull and reach high for the next moves and the top. Most will opt to traverse the lip left and finish on Scull. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
V4** Power Failure SDS Walk further up stream about 200 yards while staying high. As you trend back down look behind the large boulder. Start matched on the slopey left arête. Trend up and right following the hand ramp to finish on the right side of the boulder. FA: Grahm Doe Spring 08
“Golden Sunset Boulder” Straight down and close to the water this steep blocky wall is just as fun as it looks. Problems are listed from left to right.
V1** SUS Start with your hands in the horizontal seam. Climb straight up using good knobs over the top.
V0*** SDS Grab the juggy low horizontal rail to start. Follow the crack up and left to an easy finish. Variation: V1** Same start but continue straight up instead of going left.
V1*** SDS Start again in a low horizontal rail. Go straight up the crack or venture a little left onto cool knobs.
“Oasis Area” Continue up stream to the large boulders in the river. The easiest way there is to cross the river by boulder hopping just down river from the Tapestry area and then head up stream on the river bank. Alternatively from the North bank as you head upstream you are forced up a slab. Directly down is the Oasis area. Splash down can easily be seen. To get there keep going across the slab until you can climb back down to the water just past the swimming hole. Its best to leave your pads behind. Once down at water level head back downstream and climb up and over a big boulder to gain access to the other side. Many great hang out spots line the swimming hole. Scramble across the river and behind Splash Down to get to the start on the right side.
V4 *** X Splash Down SUS SWS One of the most classic problems at the SJRG. Traverse the lip from right to left. As you climb the water landing gets safer and deeper yet the moves get steadily harder. A high crux and top out near the summit make for an exciting adventure for those who love to swim. It is possible to gently hit bottom from falling at the top. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
V1 ** Razor Back The downstream companion boulder to Splash Down. Traverse either side of the thin ridge on this unique boulder. A great warm up for Splash Down.
North Side Downstream
“Chuck Boulder” The first boulder you come to down from the bridge. From left to right.
V4/5 ** Wicked Chuck SUS using slopey hand holds chuck for the top lip.
V2/3 ** Big Chuck SUS Using a good hold on the right side chuck for top lip. V3/4 start on the problem to the left and traverse into the start.
“The Pit” Just down from the Chuck boulder is a small group of boulders with a cave system running through it.
V5 *** Snappy SDS Start on a slopey rail and traverse right across snappy crimps to top out the boulder. Variation: V4 This Frog Legs For You * Same start then straight up. FA Jacob Copeland
V8 SDS Climb the steep right edge in the middle of the cave. FA Jacob Copeland
V3 *** Cedar Wright Left SDS Start in the cave on a low rail system. Traverse left to a deadpoint up to the lip and top out. FA Cedar Wright. Variation: V5 *** Cedar Left Right? Same start but instead of bailing to the lip keep powering out the roof to the other side. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
V1 SDS Traverse the lip from left to right. Finish of Cedar Left Right.
V4 ** Heel Boy SDS Start on a good rail and reach right to a sidepull. A high heel with the left foot sets up a big toss to a sloper ramp. FA Jacob Copeland
V7 ** Crank It Up SDS Just around the corner a steep roof leads to an improbable lip and slab finish. Start with both hands under the roof. Yes, the micro crimp on the face is key! FA Jacob Copeland
V3 Climb the right arête behind the tree. FA Kevin Friedrich
V1 * Slip and Dip SUS Lip traverse right to left across the boulder hanging over the water. Finish on the quartz spike on the far left side.
V4? SDS Next to the river a low lip traverse. A recently broken hold makes for an undone problem so far.
“Warm Up Wall” Just down from the pit is an obvious wall with 2 cracks. From Left to Right.
V4 SUS Traverse the whole boulder past the cracks.
V2 * SDS Climb the seam on the left side. Variation split off left to a slabby crux finish V5.
V0 SDS Climb the left crack.
V0 SDS Climb the right crack.
V6 * X The Fin SUS On the far right side is a steep arête fin. Use both arêtes until they they join to form a narrow fin. Avoid using the right wall. FA Jacob Copeland
V0 On the right wall two cracks lead up. Either one is V0.
“Dead and Bloated Boulder” Follow the trail downstream a short ways and look for a small steep boulder on the right.
V5 ** X Dead and Bloated SUS With your right hand on a square cut and your left on the arête fire for the lip and then to a knob over the top. An exciting mantle awaits. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
“Slab City” A little further down steam are some tall slab problems along the wall on the right side.
V0- X Flakey SUS Climb the flake and crack seam up the left side of the wall.
V1 X Don’t Drink and Drive Without Gum SUS Climb the tall slab just right of Flakey. FA Justin Ross Spring 08
V2 * X Rich Mans Woman SUS Head up the middle of the tall face. Exit off to the left. FA Jeremy Ross Spring 08
V2 X Darkness Darkness SUS Climb the middle of the black face. FA Justin Ross Spring 08
“The Rollers” Just behind Super Visor are 2 huge boulders leaning against each other.
V3*** X Steam Roller SUS Climb the right boulder from the right arête. Make it a bit harder via a sit start with your feet down in the crevasse. Traverse left along the lip to a high finish just before the boulders meet. FA Justin Ross Spring 08
V5*** X High Roller SDS 17ft Climb the left boulder lip traversing the whole way from left to right. Rolling the dice on the ever higher moves makes this one classic. FA Grahm Doe by lantern light on a Feb night 08.
V3** Undercling Fling SDS Just upstream and around the corner from the rollers and close to the water is on overhanging face with an undercling start on the right side. Wedged boulders under the boulder are off for feet. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08 Variation: Finish left by heel hooking the big spike V?
“Super Visor Boulder” The large companion boulder opposite the “Desperation Boulder” with an exposed prow on the right side and a visor of rock on the left.
V2 Super Visor XX ** SUS Reach up the prow to a jug and pull onto the lip. Traverse left up and past a steep visor before topping out on the far left side of the boulder. V3 Instead of toping out go back and do a lap in reverse
“Green Arete Boulder” Just up from the Visor boulder is a large boulder with a cleft through the middle. An imposing high ball green arête will grab your attention.
V5 XX ** Green Arete SUS Climb the arête and avoid using the rock out right. Fire to the high good ledge and then an encounter with a spicy top out. Most will want many pads and two spotters. FA Dimitrius Fritz 12-08
V3 X ** Mean Green SUS Head up the middle of the right block. FA Dimitrius Fritz 12-08
“Desperation Boulder” Hike down stream until you reach a large boulder on the right side.
V0 SDS Climb up the prow of the boulder.
V1 Not So Desperate * SDS Start on the flake and move left to finish.
V4 Desperate Measures *** Start on the flake and move right to an undercing. An encounter with a huge toss to the lip is the crux. FA Jacob Copeland Variation: Start on the left side and traverse into the dyno.
V5 Torque Convertor ** SDS On the back side is a small corridor. Start matched on a small crimp and with your feet wedged in a horizontal crack fire up to small crimps and a big reach to the top. FA Jacob Copeland
“Cracker Boulder” Just down from the last two boulders and on the back side is an overhanging crack through a golden face.
V5 *** Cracker SUS Scramble under the boulder with a crack running through it. Start on a jug under the boulder where the roof crack meets a vertical boulder. Hand jam out the horizontal roof crack and turn the corner leading up the steep face. Fire in a few more jams before lunging out right to a small ledge. Toss again for the lip and then over the top. Classic for the area. A direct finish using only the crack is yet to be done. FA Jacob Copeland
“Land of the Lost” Hike down stream to a large flat area with topropes over the river.
V2 * Squaw Leap Just left of the topropes is a featured wall with a splitter off hands diagonal crack over the water. V3 Warrior Way *** Toward the top leave the crack and use the knobs for a more exciting finish. Falling from the top has not resulted in injury yet. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
5.12b * Pakuni Using the most down stream bolted anchor toprope the left side of the wall starting in vertical seams before traversing right toward the anchor. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
5.11a *** From the same anchor. Tip toe across a submerged boulder leading to an obvious crack/ seam up the middle. Toward the top head left to the finish directly over the anchor. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
12a *** Sleestack Use the anchor on the right side of the wall. Follow up discontinuous seams straight up the wall to a crux over the top. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
5.7* Fox Pond Slab with easy dihedral crack and anchors.
12a ** Grumpy the T Rex Climb the arête to the right from the start of Fox Pond. Difficult start leads to fun big reaches on huge knobs. 2 bolt anchor FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
12b *** Dopey the Brontosaurus Climb the improbable roof to the right of the arete and up to a verticle seam. A huge black knob marks the top. Belay from the anchor for Fox Pond and set up a directional sling off the knob. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
South Side Downstream:
“Stilleto Boulder” Just before the bridge hike down the slope to the water. Just down stream is an obvious big face with a splitter finger crack up the middle.
V2 * Still Ghetto SDS Climb the face on the left side. The big crack to the left is off.
V4 *** X Stilleto SDS 19ft Crank some amazing finger locks up the splitter crack in the middle of the face to a high finish. Stand Start V3.
V4 ** X Head Over Heels SDS Climb the slab face just to the right of Stilleto. A high step over the bulge is most purplexing. FA Jeremy Ross Spring 08
“Hidden Arete” Scramble up left behind the Stilleto boulder. An arete climb that starts down in a pit can be found.
V3 ** X Hidden Arete SUS Climb up the right leaning arete. FA Kevin Friedrich Spring 08
“Dyno Might Boulder” Scramble downstream and up the talus until you are across the river from the “Rollers” and up about 40 feet from the river.
V5 *** X Dyno Might SUS 17ft Start matched on the good jug and throw with all your might for a 4 foot 4 inch dyno. Think again if you thought its over! FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
“Golden Staircase Boulder” Across from the topropes is a steep golden block close to the water.
V2 ** X Golden Staircase SUS Start with a sidepull right hand and feet on the bottom of the block. A few big reaches on good holds will get you to an exposed but thankfully easy top out. FA Grahm Doe Spring 08
“Tower Boulder” Head further downstream to a large block sitting above the cliffs. This block is not as polished as the others.
V1 SDS Climb the crack up the small dihedral and head right to finish.
V0 SDS climb the right side arete up good flakes. V2 Variation: Climb the middle face avoiding the big features of the other problems.
Written by: Grahm Doe
(This post was edited by sierraclimber1 on Dec 28, 2008, 10:16 AM)