Now that you’ve got the basic crag beta down for Hidden Valley, it’s time to decide what routes you want to try. The best part about Hidden Valley (aside from that 4000′ elevation!) is the wide variety of grades spread all around the cliff. This post will zero in on the lower grades – those of you looking for 5.11 and up recommendations will have to wait! But for now, here’s plenty to get started on.
GREAT FOR NEW LEADERS
STALLION 5.5 – Both of my children like this one!
BUTT FACE 5.6 – Easy slabbin’ with plenty of bolts.
LEISURE SUIT 5.8 – Don’t let the guidebook’s comment about short folks deter you. My son did all the moves when he was 8ish, and while he’s strong boy, he’s not a climbing prodigy 😉
CHICKEN SOUP 5.8+ – A little technical, but short, and you’re on your feet the whole time, so pump isn’t a factor.
BREAKING INTO 5.10s
TIDY BOWL 10a – Once you pull the initial roof (don’t forget to stem!) it’s all about footwork. Slow and steady wins the race. Stick clip recommended.
SNAKE SKIN 10b – If you want to avoid the roof pull, you can always end early and clip the anchors for VIPER LOGIC 10d
Butt Crack 5.7+ – This is my son’s favorite route…although I think the name might have just as much to do with his enjoyment as the actual climbing. That said, the climbing is stellar also! Perfect for beginners to practice some layback technique and trusting their feet! Go right at the last bolt for a slightly harder finish.
PONY 5.8 – Tall line with lots of variety and the views at the top are some of the best in the Valley!
G-SPOT 5.9+ – Great movement up a blunt arete.
NO COKE, PEPSI 5.9+ – This one, along with it’s next door neighbor FARLEY 5.9 get constant traffic on good weather weekends, so get there early if you don’t want to have to wait. Personally, I think the former is better than the latter, but they are both good. If your crack technique is not super solid, definitely stick clip Farley’s first bolt.
TAINT MEAT 5.9+ – This one will be super fun if you climb harder than 5.9. If 5.9 is your limit, it’s gonna feel hard and scary.
OREGON TRAIL 10c – Don’t pass this one by, even if the opening dihedral is a little damp. You’ll have plenty of time to chalk up before the steep, pumpy goodness begins.
SPURS 10c – Bring a long stick clip or some gear for the opening 20 feet of crack climbing. Get it all back on the bushy ledge, then tackle the monstrously steep for the grade jug haul. Note: Back cleaning the first draw after the ledge will decrease drag tremendously.
LOVE JUICE 10c – Fun flake climbing with a “trad” sorta feel at the beginning, with a short-lived roof move at the finish…keep slapping around, the holds are there!!!
THIN SHELLS 10d – Technical face climbing at it’s finest, though some of the holds are a little tweaky if you are looking to warm-up on it.
POWDER 10d – Pony’s harder next door neighbor. Cryptic crux up high that will feel easier in crisp conditions!
You might notice that all of the routes I’ve recommended are found on the Left Side of the cliff. Our family has only recently ventured over to the Right Side. While the Right Side definitely has some gems, as well as more shade and less crowds, the Left Side has a lot more to offer as a whole, especially for moderate routes. (But there WILL be some included in the upper grade recommendations…)
All that said, what’s YOUR FAVORITE moderate line at Hidden Valley?