Training for Moonlight Buttress, Roberto and I were short on time one weekend but long on energy. We decided to hit Eagle Peak and just climb everything we could get our hands on! The plan was simple: show up and punch out as many pitches as possible with the time we had.
The sun was up when we left San Diego, so as punishment for a late start we jogged the trail out to Eagle Peak. Luckily, we ran into Fred Maki and a few others who informed us that a few of the routes we intended to do were closed due to raptor nesting. Change of plan, explore the summit area! Fine with us, we’d never climbed up there.
Once we arrived at the back of Eagle Peak we quickly chose the wrong approach and came over the shoulder too early. We ended up bushwacking and 5th classing a little to get to the base, but we made it. We racked up the draws and headed off.
Roberto linked the first two 5.11c and d pitches of Where Eagles Dare, and I promptly forgot the camera on the ground, unfortunately. Next up, I linked the next two pitches. We made it into some awesome exposed positions on the route, but didn’t have a camera with us. We rapped halfway down, and started looking for some other routes, like Rain Man. It was supposed to be the first route to the right of Where Eagles Dare in the guidebook, so I grabbed the draws and started up something that looked like it was going to be harder than the 11b Rain Man receives.
Well, it was. A foot slip spit me off of the difficult crux which involved traversing an overhanging face and involved a bizarre downward campus move, but I got it next try. Roberto tried it on lead twice, and did it with one fall. We decided this pitch was probably 5.12c with a very stout V5 boulder problem at the crux. Later, we found out that this was not only a project, but possibly the hardest pitch at Eagle Peak. Accidental FA!
We finished on what was possibly the 2nd pitch of Rain Man (11b), but we’re not sure. Those two pitches were some of my favorite of the day. The features and climbing were phenomenal with everything from delicate slab to brutal overhang.
Next we rapped to the ground and ate some food. It was Roberto’s turn to lead, so he jumped on the first pitch of Sanitarium (12a) which takes on a wickedly overhung arete. We both got spit off it due to reading the route wrong, but we’ll be back. It finished on an amazing exposed lower angle arete that was a true pleasure to climb!
Wanting to keep wailing on Roberto, I threw him on lead again. We were heading up Dirty Harry, a 4 pitch mixed 11a. It quickly became unclear where the 2nd pitch went exactly, so Roberto only did the 10d first pitch. I grabbed our meager rack and headed out intending to link the two pitches that required gear. The climbing was amazingly sustained and tricky for 11a and the rock quality wasn’t the best, but there was gear that kept it safe. I did rip a large (unnecessary) hold off and take a nice whip at one point, but I got back on and kept going linking the two pitches with some rope drag. Roberto blasted the last pitch, which he loved, on slabby crimps. It was highly technical and fun 5.10c.
Another quick rappel brought us back to the ground. By this time, the day was coming to a close. We didn’t feel like reversing the approach we did, so we checked the guide and found Comply or Else a 3 pitch 5.10b. We decided to simul out with our packs on with Roberto in the lead. It ended up being about a 250+’ uber pitch that Roberto styled with the pack on in short order and I came up behind him thinking those 3 easy 5.10 pitches were all unique and fun, changing style and character throughout.
The sun was setting, so we snapped a quick summit picture and ran back to the car and headed home. Another great day out in the wilderness…
This trip made me really appreciate what we have here in San Diego. If you haven’t been to Eagle Peak, El Cajon Mtn, or Corte Madera check them out. Our backcountry featured granite is absolutely amazing with huge variety and climbs at nearly all levels. If you need a guidebook, throw some support toward the Allied Climbers of San Diego and buy the guide. It’s for sale at our meetings, and at the local REI. If you have been out to Eagle Peak or Corte Madera and aren’t a member of ACSD then join up! They have fought hard for YEARS to keep these crags open. It doesn’t cost much, and your support goes to an amazingly effective local group fighting for your climbing access.
Thanks for another badass day on the rock Roberto…