Heading up to Palm Springs Aerial Tramway for some bouldering? Be sure to get the beta before you go.
Tramway bouldering is an excellent way to escape from the desert heat below. With a huge temperature drop, you’ll go from the sweltering heat of Palm Springs to crisp mountain air in just a quick ride up the tram.
Tramway is the best option for bouldering when it gets too hot in So Cal. There are plenty of moderate boulders ranging V4-V6, which makes it an excellent place to transition to the outdoors for indoor gym climbers. Those with ankle injuries or a fear of heights will love this low-ballers paradise. You’ll ‘enjoy that fresh mountain air’, so long as you can tolerate the crowds, ticket fees, and lines at the Tram station.– Bridget Kilgallon @bkall.day
At the top, you’ll find brisk air, pine trees, and perfect granite crimp lines. With the exception of a few magnificent high balls, the bouldering here is relatively low to the ground. This makes Tramway an excellent choice for those who prefer to do the hard pulling low to the ground. Bring a few pads, as the landings are sometimes uneven.
Trip Beta: Travel Tips for Tramway bouldering
ACCESS NOTE: Getting to Tramway isn’t cheap. You’ll have to pay for a ticket to ride the tramcar up from the mountain floor to the summit. Single-use tickets are available for the day, or you can purchase an annual pass. With recent renovations to the parking, there may also be a fee to park at the base. Visit the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway Website for ticket prices and information.
Navigating the lines and crowds on the tram can be a bit of a nuisance, and can add quite a bit of time to your approach. But hey – at least the Spanish flamenco guitar playing from the speakers will ease your woes.
Once on the mountain, be sure to fill out a backcountry permit at the cabin on the trail. Return your stub at the end of the evening, and DON’T miss the last tram car! It typically leaves at 6PM. If you catch the night tram the view of the city lights below is stunning.
Access: Climbing etiquette when bouldering at Tramway
As always, be sure to educate yourself on leave no trace principles for the area. Backcountry camping is not permitted in the area. Tension has grown a bit with the rangers when boulderers began stashing pads and illegally camping. Fires are also a big no. They can lead quickly burn across the mountain if they get out of control.
Resist the urge to feed the raccoons at the tram station – they’re not that cute and have become downright aggressive.
Read more about the seven principles of Leave No Trace (LNT) in our article: What is the Leave No Trace Philosophy?
Because the location to Tramway is rather convenient, it is a highly popular area for climbers and tourists alike. This can make getting to the boulders a bit tricky and time consuming, so the earlier you get there, the better. The climbing on this granite does cater more towards lowball boulders, but don’t let that fool you, often times these crimps bite back and beta may not always be apparent. Though it is better to chase shade since the rock can bake easily.– Jackie Trejo @jackietrejo_
Girl Beta: Bouldering Videos for Tramway
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 Tramway.
Warning: If you’re climbing onsight, scroll no further. Spoilers ahead!
Emerald City – V0 *Ultra Classic*
If you haven’t climbed the Emerald City boulder, you really haven’t lived yet. Fear not, this intimidatingly large boulder is very approachable, flowy, and comfortable. Don’t sweat the height, and enjoy the view from the top!
Terminator – V2
Frank’s Roof – V3 *Dynamic*
If this classic V3 feels hard, well… that’s because it is. Prepare for lift-off with this dynamic roof problem!
Ebonic Woman – V3
White Flight – V3 *Highly Recommended!*
If you’re new to high balls the White Flight boulder is sure to get you hooked. Enjoy technical movement on bulletproof crimps all the way to the top. This climb is just difficult enough to keep you on your toes, without too much butt puckering.
Ceramic Salamander – V4
Blade Runner – V4
Reverse Traverse – V4
Aquaman – V4
Humping The Walrus – V4
March Arête – V4
Frank’s Problem – V4
Black Cauldron – V4
Black Top – V4
Standing On The Head of the Dragon – V4
The Swedge – V5
Crack-O-Pop – V5
Pancake House – V5
Gold Crack Right – V5
Slytherin (Slitherin) – V5
Organ Grinder – V5
Tooth Fairy – V6
Methane – V6
Power Windows – V6 and Red Spark – V6
Memory Loss – V6
Only The Good Die Young – V6
Malcomb – V6
Swing Dance – V7
Enough Snuff – V7
My Infested Destiny – V7
Fists of Fury – V7
Barefoot Sharma Arête – V8
Year of the Cat – V9
The Left Hand of Darkness – V9
Green Peace Sit – V10
The Right Road – V10
Big shout out to the climbers who provided these videos! You can follow their sends on the following links: