Big Bear is a rock climbing destination for Southern California climbers who seek fun sport climbing on quality granite. Big Bear climbing season is from spring to fall, with a few areas climbable in winter on the sun-facing north side of the lake.
Best Rock Climbing areas in Big Bear
1) Holcomb Valley Pinnacles
These crags host the highest concentration of climbs in the valley with over 200 established sport and trad routes. When people think of rock climbing in Big Bear, Holcomb Valley Pinnacles may come first to their minds. Located inside Holcomb Valley, the approach is made from either Polique or Van Dusen Canyon roads. In addition to the climbing, Holcomb also allows free dispersed camping and many scattered bouldering areas.
2) Castle Rock
With the south face of this race standing 100 feet tall, the breathtaking view from the top overlooks the entire Big Bear Lake. Castle Rock hosts many beginning to intermediate bolted sport climbs and a few harder trad routes, so bring your full rack. Many of the routes can be top-roped, too. Castle Rock is also a popular hiking destination. Located two miles southeast of Big Bear Dam off Highway 18.
3) North Shore Boulders
Located on a small hillside on the north shore of the lake, this area has amazingly easy access, great views and sun year round. While there are some bolted routes on the larger rocks, the majority of the climbing here is easy to moderate bouldering. This may be the best beginner destination in the valley and a must for climbers of all abilities who are looking for a quick fix close to town. Located near the intersection of Greenway and Pioneer Lane in Big Bear City.
4) Bluff Mesa
Bluff Mesa consists of the rocks scattered along the south ridge of Big Bear including Black Bluff, Arctic Temple and Castle Grey Skull, all of which are traditional crags up to 100 feet in height. This is also where you will find Little Tibet, the most concentrated bouldering area in the valley. These areas are approached from the Bluff Mesa Campground or from the end of FR 2N86. The setting and long approach mean you will be all by yourself – as climbing in the mountains should be.
5) Fisherman’s Buttress
This is the large overhanging rock just off Highway 18 as you head east from Big Bear Lake Dam. Right off the road, this rock is easily the most picturesque around. While most of the climbing is near the harder end of the scale there are both traditional and bolted routes.
Resources for Rock Climbing in Big Bear
News and Information about Bouldering in Big Bear Lake
Climbing Shops in Big Bear
North Shore Trading Company
Guidebook and outdoor gear
Climbing gear (Housed in North Shore Trading Company)