This park’s rocky spires and pinnacles, created by volcanic activity and earthquake chaos, have long attracted rock climbers. Both the east side and west side entrances provide access to numerous climbs for all levels of climbers, and the most popular routes are clearly marked. If you’ve climbed elsewhere, keep in mind that this rock is not solid granite; it’s much weaker volcanic breccia, and it “gives” a bit easier than granite. The park’s east side tends to have harder, less crumbly rock, and more routes that can be top-roped.
Pinnacles makes a great destination for taking those rock wall skills you learned in a gym and testing them out in the real world. Classes for all levels are offered by several companies and some offer multi-day climbing camps. The beginner climbs “Tourist Trap” and “Discovery Wall” are found a few minutes walk from Bear Gulch. The park’s west side offers more multi-pitch routes that require lead climbing. A bonus is that the season runs most of the year except for summer, when the temperatures get uncomfortably hot. Some routes close for part of the year, usually January to July, to protect nesting birds, especially peregrine falcons and eagles.
If you would like to learn how to climb, several companies provide lessons and multi-day rock climbing camps at Pinnacles.