Climbing in Pacific Grove California

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The landings here are beyond harsh…

Imagine Joshua Tree granite hanging over the lapping seashore and you will have climbing in Pacific Grove CA, a tiny community perched at the tip of the Monterey Peninsula. Like all places crazy beautiful, here one wanders for days of endless bouldering and never exhausting the source. Ever abundant. Ever fruitful.

The progression, apt as it is in this juncture of my life, has been one through fear. The landings here are beyond harsh. Simple moves take on a new seriousness above a gaping maw. The first lines, true classics like “The Cavity” on Molar Boulder, have sandy landings under the right tides. The Molar’s backside has a steep traverse that tiptoes above the jagged rocks below on mostly solid holds. Ending with a long reach to a crumbly edge and some tricky feet to an juggy highball mantle. A real bonebuster, I’ve grown to call those moves.

Like any fool, I remain encouraged by those early successes as I wander the bluffs. Plenty of solid rock with bad landings abounds, but I haven’t taken to the pad yet. I’m still finding my groove on the funky grit and rotton stone, doing easy stuff in my Desert Boots. I usually don’t even carry my shoes. When I do shoe up, the climbing gets hard.

Over by Lover’s Point, Pacific Grove’s most picturesque cove bouldering area, is found the Dimple Boulder. The landing can be a jump to sand between rocks, meaning good, so its tall arete has been attempted. A sit-start below the lip provides a slab to the left (don’t fall!) and the arete, a proud highball leering over sunbathing tourists and toddlers alike, to the right. I’ve come off those slimy feet many times, shoes and all. That doesn’t even include the dry, tall, and untouched upper grips.

Finally, I set up a solo-toprope system for the climb above. A sketch system to start with, hanging the cord from an anchor above and taking up the slack while climbing with a gri-gri attached to my harness. Same crumbly unclimbed stuff, but basically solid. My line was to follow a protruding quartz extrusion to the top. But, in a moment of fear, I was spit off! The anchor and gri-gri held! I moved left into the chimney and finished the climb. Although I blew the flash, “The Dyke” at West Lover’s Point remains unclimbed.

It is also today’s objective.

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