August 10, 2016

Visionary. Bold. Classic. Climbing at Tahquitz rock is all of those things and more and has served as the place for aspiring climbers to come and cut their teeth for over 75 years. If that seems like a long time, that’s because it is, with climbs going up as early as the 1930’s. The rich tradition of Tahquitz can be traced back through the legions of climbers who came before, from famous pioneers of the sport such as Royal Robbins to blue collar purists known only by the routes they left on the stone. Tahquitz offers something for everyone, with a wide assortment of styles and difficulties. This quick guide highlights some of the classic routes.

tahquitz The Vampire (11a), Photo: Chad Furman


  • White Maiden’s Walkway 5.4 – long and ledgy, an excellent introduction to the crag
  • The Trough 5.4 – first route up Tahquitz, mellow and secure terrain that isn’t exposed, great for learning how to place gear
  • Angel’s Fright 5.6 – steep and “easy”, varied moves and a short introduction to 5.4 slab at the end
  • Finger Trip 5.7 – four pitches of extremely fun and varied movement, from laybacking to crack climbing and everything in between, one of the great routes in Southern California
  • Left Ski Track 5.6 – highly featured dike and knob climbing, steep and incredibly featured
tahquitzNolan on The Vampire (11a), Photo: Chad Furman


tahquitzThe Vampire (11a), Photo: Chad Furman


  • Edgehogs 10c – varied and delicate climbing in an excellent position, unique arete
  • Super Pooper 10a/b – strenuous and epic crack climbing, Price of Fear finish is awesome
  • Human Fright 10a – finger crack flake with great ringlocks morphs into right leaning hand crack
  • Blankety Blank 10c – thin, inobvious face climbing and delicate smearing, historical test piece
  • El Camino Real 10a – varied climbing leads to an amazing left facing dihedral with a variety of ring locks and laybacking moves, save some juice for the top
tahquitzThe Vampire (11a), Photo: Chad Furman


  • The Vampire 11a – incredibly unique, short well protected cruxes, amazing exposed position on the prow of tahquitz, the crown jewel
  • The Flakes 11c – thin crack climbing meets bouldering, airy with some strenuous crimp cranking
  • Fred 11a – varied face and layback climbing with some mantles to test your mental fortitude
  • Green Arch 11c – thin aesthetic dihedral that will test your commitment and stemming prowess
  • Chingadera 11a – First 5.11 in the country, improbable face and knob climbing


Harder than I’ve climbed at Tahquitz but undoubtedly lots of standouts.

Grab trad gear, a comfortable harness (it’s multi-pitch so there is the possibility of hanging belays), and your partner to enjoy Yosemite-esque excellence close to home. Be aware that Tahquitz is a traditional crag with occasional loose rock; you should bring a helmet.  While there are routes that are entirely bolted, this is not a sport crag and long runouts are possible; climb within your abilities and consult the guide book. The small mountain community of Idyllwild serves as the jumping off point for Tahquitz with plenty of restaurants and tourist traps to keep you busy while not on the rock. Escape the summer heat and head for the hills, granite perfection awaits you.

tahquitzNolan on The Vampire (11a), Photo: Chad Furman