“Where’s the Bolt?!” – Pinnacles National Monument With The AAC3 min read

Featured Route – Old Original ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


From west side visitor lot, follow the obvious climber’s trail around the south end (right as you’re looking at the machete) of the formation. When the climbing trail gets faint, hug the rock. The pine gully is way higher than you’d expect. The “first pine” has a sea of pinecones at the base- you can’t miss it.

From the East side, it’s 3 hours from car to climb if you take the high peaks trail. 25min to the Anvil. An hour and ten in gets you to the bench and bathroom by Scout’s peak. Just before the 2 hour mark you’re in the west side parking lot. From there follow beta above. 

The Route

  • Second bolt on first pitch is to the right- if you traverse left you’ll miss it
  • On the second pitch, there’s only one bolt in the initial notch- heads up if you move the belay here from the first pitch anchor
  • It’s possible to slot a #1 C4 at the low point of the pitch 3 traverse to protect the follower, but it’s pretty unnecessary considering the 4th pitch runout to come
  • Bolt on pitch four is at your feet a little over halfway- don’t miss it!
  • No anchor on the top of the north tower- be ready to downclimb
  • At the top of the 5th pitch rappel, you can see the South tower directly ahead of your rappel path, in line with the balconies.  The 6th pitch starts with a fourth-class scramble through the left-most, 2-ft wide notch of the south tower.  There’s a bolt on the left of the far side of the notch for lowering/rapping down the 4th class on the far side


  • Don’t bother bringing a rack
  • You don’t need to bring a second rope for the 5th pitch rappel- very easy to just do it in two raps; save the weight
  • It’s windy up on the Machete- bring layers
  • The grass on the descent is super slippery wearing rock shoes
  • On the egress through the lower gully, keep super far to the right to avoid dropping into the cave

Other Areas & Routes

Pioneer Pinnacle

Prairie Falcon 5.7 ⭐️

  • Extend anchor to lower
  • Can’t rap from this anchor
  • Super Dirty

Fledgling 5.7 ⭐️

  • Use prairie falcon anchor

Imprint 5.8 ⭐️

  • Also on prairie falcon anchor, definitely extend

Cha-Sam, 5.9 ⭐️⭐️

  • Sorry about the blood
  • Crux immediately below third bolt, try to get a high clip

Squatter’s Rights, 5.4 😕

  • Don’t solo the downclimb

Crud and Mud

Bathing Beauty, 5.9 ⭐️⭐️

  • Felt more like 5.7
  • Great rock quality

Here’s Mud in Your Eye, 5.8 ⭐️⭐️

  • Would’ve guessed 5.9
  • Sustained climb
  • Don’t lower off the anchor without extending it (10-15 feet)

Links to MP & Other Climbs

  • Old Original, Machete Ridge (5.5, 6 pitches) MP
  • Rat Race, Tourist Trap (5.7, 1 pitch) MP
  • Coyote Ugly, Tiburcio’s X (5.9, 1 pitch) MP
  • The Inn Crowd, The Balconies (5.6, 1 pitch) MP
  • Costanoan, The Citadel (5.4, 4 pitches) MP
  • Little Javelina, High Peaks (5.9, 1 pitch) MP
  • Subterranean Tango, Monolith (5.10a R, 1 pitch) MP
  • Cantaloupe Death, Monolith (5.10c, 1 pitch) MP
  • Rocket in My Pocket, Monolith (5.10d, 1 pitch) MP
  • Stupendous Man, Discovery Wall (5.10a, 1 pitch) MP
  • The Verdict, Discovery Wall (5.11b, 1 pitch) MP
  • Broken Arrow, Discovery Wall (5.10d, 1 pitch) MP

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