Day 8; Sport Climbing at Fire Crags-Painted Cave Road Santa Barbara

Uncovering the Conspiracy to Hide Rock Climbing Locations in California

Why does it always seem like finding the trail to go climbing is so much more difficult than finding a trail for a hike. This can be easily attributed to the fact that the majority of hiking trails are labeled while the trails leading to the rocks are not. However, I am skeptical of climbing guide books being purposely written to throw you off while searching for a trail leading to the rocks. For example, I have two guide books that list the same location in them (The Playground). One says drive 2.1 miles and the other says, drive 2.5 miles to the trail head. While I have not found this to be true all of the time, it frequently seems that I spend twice as much time looking for a trail when I go climbing than I do when I Google the location of a hiking trail. For now, I am linking this to a much larger conspiracy involving the National Parks Service, Falcon Guides, TSA and Barack Obama. But I am probably just paranoid.

Fire Crags Trail - .7 miles up Painted Cave Road

Sport Climbing At Fire Crags in Santa Barbara

This weekend, Tyler, Cliff, Trevor and I did some sport climbing at Fire Crags on Painted Cave Road in Santa Barbara. Click here to see where Fire Crags is located. Although it took the planets being aligned perfectly; including numerous e-mails, phone calls and visits to; the day was great. The only problem we ran into was when we attempted to find the trail that lead out to the crags. We spent 30 minutes driving back and fourth on Painted Cave Road finally going back to the spot we originally stopped and searched for the trail a little harder. We found the trail leading down and to the right which really just looked like a natural water drain then proceeded on a 5 minute hike to the Rocks.

Ty, Me, Trevor and Cliff

Once we arrived, we spent the afternoon on some of Santa Barbara’s most scenic Sport Climbing. It was my first day of lead climbing in 4 years so I started with a 2 bolt to anchors 5.6 and then moved over to Flash one 5.8′, a 5.9 and on-sighting another 5.8. Cliff redpointed the only 5.10a of the day and Tyler TR’ed it after. Both Trevor and I attempted the 5.10a but we were too pumped, but I am sure that we will be successful the next time out.

Ty leading Bent Brain - 5.8; Cliff on belay and The Goodland in the background

Cliff hanging out as he redpoints Face the Seam - 5.10a

Unknown Climber clipping on a variation of Movin' Out - 5.11c

Rusty on-sights Grib Dat Hole - 5.11a

Upper Fire Crags


  • Leading my first 5.9 in four years and climbing with some great partners.
  • Flash: Short Shot and Tester
  • On-sight: Bent Brain


  • I have made it my goal to not spend half the day driving back and fourth as I try to find the trailhead on my next day of climbing.
  • Arm pump when attempting to send Face The Seam on a TR. I will be working on this.

It was a great day of climbing and definitly gets me pumped to get back out there.

See you later!


5 Responses to “Day 8; Sport Climbing at Fire Crags-Painted Cave Road Santa Barbara”
  1. Cliff says:

    You’re not paranoid — it IS a conspiracy that leads all the way to the top!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] the leap back into lead climbing starting on an easy 5.6 and then on-sighted two 5.8′s at Fire Crags. After this, I climbed a V3 boulder problem up a Westmont College that I had been working on and it […]

  2. […] wife was my Marketing Professor) and complete a project I had been working on for a few weeks at Fire Crags. The climb is called Grib Dat Hole and it is an excellent sport climb about 50 feet long that […]

  3. […] I am planning on heading up to Fire Crags again for some sport climbing […]

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