Heading to Idyllwild for some Black Mountain bouldering? Be sure to get the beta before you go.
Black Mountain is located on the top of the San Jacinto Mountains in Idyllwild California. Since it’s at a high elevation, the temperature drop makes it an excellent choice for summer bouldering trips.
The climbing in the area features toothy sharp crimps, and sloping lip traverses. Be ready to crimp hard, and stretch your hamstrings for all the heel hooks. There are several massive high balls here for those seeking a thrill, mostly located around or on top of the campsites.
In the land of many tall boulders, you may need your highball head space to play on some of the stonemaster classics. Thought there are plenty of shorter routes to climb, it is a true treat to have so many densely clustered highballs near each other. This is a great summer destination when temps below are unreasonably hot. Make sure to bring plenty of water and snacks, because you will be doing a lot of walking up and around this mountain.– Jackie Trejo @jackietrejo_
Since many of the boulder problems are located along the hillsides, the landings can be slopey and uneven. Be sure to bring several pads, and a tri-fold can be helpful for flattening the landing zone a bit.
Trip Beta: Travel Tips for Black Mountain bouldering
The best time to visit Black Mountain is Spring, Fall, and parts of Summer. Be aware that the dirt road is often closed for Winter during snowfall. If the road is closed, you’re in for a very serious hike to the top.
The camping is very close to the bouldering, so park your van or tent and pack your pad up to walk to the boulders. Campsites are on a first come first serve and sites are often available if you arrive on a weekday.
Enjoy the crisp mountain temps, the smell of pine trees, and the classic California granite. From heart-stoppingly huge high balls to overhung test pieces, Black Mountain can be both mentally and physically challenging. The area has a certain mystical energy about it. By the end of the evening, head to the north-west edge of the mountain, where you’ll find a picturesque view of the city lights below.– Bridget Kilgallon @bkall.day
Access: Climbing etiquette when bouldering in Black Mountain
As always, be sure to educate yourself on leave no trace principles for the area. Be sure to pay your camping fees. Boulderers skipping out on nightly fees has lead to slightly stricter involvement from the local rangers.
Read more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) in our article: What is the Leave No Trace Philosophy?
Girl Beta: Bouldering Videos for Black Mountain
Sometimes it helps to get another woman’s perspective on which boulder problems to get on. Below you’ll find a selection of female favorites, and a great roadmap on which routes to add to your tick list when visiting Joshua Tree National Park.
Warning: If you’re climbing onsight, scroll no further. Spoilers ahead!
Flower Pot Dyno V0
Campground Arete V2 *High Ball*
The Visor Lip V3
Kong King Face V3 *High Ball*
The Chief V4
OK Problem V4
Saddle Traverse V4 *Recommended*
The saddle traverse boulder is an excellent place to go in a group. With ample space for pads, spotters, and spectators the area won’t feel too crowded. The moves are all very approachable, and the landing is low and flat. A bit of technique to help with the pump.
Grab your gals and head to the saddle boulder for a fun problem everyone can work.
Gypsy Arête V5/6
Moon Drops V5/6 *Recommended!*
Town Square Arete V6
If you’re new to the slopey lip traverse game, the Moon Drops boulder is a great place to start. The slopers here are not as terrible as other lip traverses on the mountain, and you can certainly technique your way to the finish. Choose your own adventure with two options for the top out: will you go out left or direct?
Black Moth Super Rainbow V6
God is Dead V6
The Visor Center V6
Captain’s Junk V6
Cracker Boy V7
Velvet Revolver V8
Big shout out to the climbers who provided these videos! You can follow their sends on the following links: