Featured Route: Scale Wall 5.10c ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
The Scale Wall is the eponymous route of the wall it calls home and embodies most of what is excellent about the Auburn Quarry itself—sustained, pump-ey, well bolted, vertical climbing. The route follows an arcing fissure 20 horizontal and 60 vertical feet past 7 bolts to two mussy hooks making for easy cleaning and following.
Follow directions in your favorite navigation tool to the Auburn State Recreation Area. Once on Highway 49 follow it to the base of the American River Valley and cross the small bridge where the road turns right. Immediately after the bridge, there will be free shoulder parking available, park as far up this free area as possible to get closer to the actual entrance to the recreation area. Gear up here.
Once you’ve convinced your belay partner that it’s really better for her to carry the backpack because you’ll be taking pictures, head to the Quarry Road Trail that forks off of Hwy 49 past a lot for paid parking (ha! suckers!). Follow signs for climber access on the trail; the path dumps you right at the entrance to the quarry. Total Subaru-to-wall time is less than 30 mins.
The Scale Wall area is the first wall you see on your left as you enter the quarry. Scale Wall the climb starts at the sixth bolt to the right on that wall.
The crux is, as most California sport cruxes are, immediately off the deck. Just after the first bolt, the line heads almost directly right over very thin feet, a thoughtful hand sequence, and a mental timer that rapidly increases your concerns about decking before your mother finishes her breakfast. Once you gain the mental fortitude to basically campus your way to the second bolt, putting yourself at the mercy of the crack, The Scale Wall answers your pleas with a thank-jesus-jug for your left-hand. Renewed confidence that your day won’t end with a phone call ruining mom’s morning coffee makes clipping the second bolt becomes a breeze.
From there the climb turns into your favorite juggey gym warm up route with the added bonus of being outside.
On Demand, 5.11b ⭐️
Sneaky, 5.10b ⭐️⭐️—You really just have to make a bid for the I-think-it-maybe-could-potentially-possibly-be-a-hold hold. It is. Yard on the shitty gaston your left hand is on, deadpoint to it with your right, ignore the numbness in your right foot from the razor thin edge cutting into it, and pray. Here’s Miles completing the sequence:
Short Term Memory 5.10a ⭐️⭐️—Would be a 4-star climb if it was 80 feet instead of 30.
Gone Coastal, 5.6 ⭐️—The bolting here really reminds you how much of an outlier the Auburn Quarry is in terms of friendliness to sport climbers. 3 bolts over maybe 20 feet of class 5 climbing that can be totally avoided via a class 3 scramble to the left. Kathryn got most freaked out when she went too far left and couldn’t reach the bolts to clip.
Three-Finger Salute, 5.7 ⭐️
Mono Route, 5.9 ⭐️⭐️
Unknown (Golden Guns according to MP), 5.10b ⭐️⭐️
M&Ms, 5.8 ⭐️⭐️⭐️—Really really really cool features on this climb. Definitely makes me wish there was just more limestone in general around California.
If you’ve actually read this far, congrats you’re probably the first one to do that. Leaving a note here to say that the link above doesn’t link to the MP page for the Surf Wall (or as it calls it the “Surf Tower”) because the MP page for the Surf Wall doesn’t contain the climb that we did. However, the pitch we completed, per the Bay Area Rock Guidebook (Definitely Buy This), is located on what is the Surf Wall. On MP pitch is on “The Tilting Vortex Wall” and is the only climb on that wall. We’re always going to defer to the names our guidebooks give us.
This weird incompleteness of information on MP should serve as a reminder that MP is a forum for community sourced information and should never be blindly trusted. Always trust your guidebook and/or humans you know who have definitely done the route and whom you trust before MP.
Agree To Disagree, 5.9 ⭐️—Interesting lower section, meandering upper section. Ponderous but not excellent