Get a Foothold in the Foothills
Nature has provided some convenient climbing areas in the Sierra foothills east of Sacramento. Here are a few areas to consider.
One is the Cosumnes River Gorge near Placerville. The North Fork of the Cosumnes River cuts through some polished granite, offering both top rope and sport climbing. These aren’t big climbs, but there are more than 100 of them and they sure are scenic. Difficulty ranges from 5.6 to 5.13b
Bucks Bar Dome is the main attraction, but there are other climbs nearby. Downstream is Midway Rocks, a bouldering area. And Gutenberger Wall ends in a nice swimming hole, if you’ve worked up a good sweat and need an excuse to go native.
The gorge is a popular spot, so don’t be surprised to see some climbing classes there on weekend mornings. Some locals, in fact, have expressed irritation that the place is getting so popular. At the same time, it’s a remote location and not the best place for a cell phone. Make sure enough people know where you are at any given time in case you get into a jam.
Not too long ago the land was privately owned but is now administered by the Bureau of Land Management.
There aren’t many guides to the area, but one recent one is “Rock Climbs of Placerville” by William H. Cottrell. It’s now in its second edition and costs $14.
If you want a vicarious look, there are more than 100 photos of climbers in action at the gorge this past March on the Web (www.onetreepc.com
To get there, head toward Placerville on Highway 50, then get off at Missouri Flat Road and head south. Turn onto Bucks Bar Road, and in about three miles you’ll be there.
North of Placerville on the South Fork of the American River, there’s a spot along Mosquito Road called the Mosquito Coast. The granite there offers several top rope climbs in the 5.10-5.11 range, plus some boulders under the Mosquito Road Bridge. It’s not nearly as well publicized as the Cosumnes gorge, but is also covered in the Cottrell book.
Just outside Sacramento is the city of Rocklin. With a name like that, there’s just got to be something in the area worth climbing. Right? Well, sorta. It’s Deer Creek Park, a small bouldering spot just off Pacific Avenue, between Farron Street and Ruhkala Road. There aren’t many problems to tackle, and there can be some dirt and undergrowth to deal with.
But those who live in the area have some pride in Deer Creek Park. And if you are zooming along Interstate 80 and need a break, all you need to do is pull off the freeway at the Pacific Avenue exit
Labels: climbing, hot spots