OverviewAs you approach the entrance to the Balconies Caves you will notice a very large boulder wedged above the trail. This is Chockstone Dome. There are three very enjoyable routes on Chockstone Dome:
1) Walk the Plank, 5.6
2) Overboard, 5.8
3) The Regular Route, 5.3
The routes are bolted and the rock is relatively solid. All three of these routes are given 2 stars in Rubin's guide to the Pinnacles. I think these routes should be on your list of possiblities when visiting the Pinnacles West Side, as you can spend an pleasant morning or afternoon here.
The routes are shaded in the morning and receive afternoon sun, an important consideration if you are climbing on a hot day.
Spring and fall are the best seasons to climb at the Pinnacles, as the summers get quite hot. Winters are the rainy season; it is best to let the rock dry out after it rains.
Getting ThereFrom the west side parking lot, take the Balconies Cave Trail. After about one mile, just before the entrance to the caves there is an approach trail on the southwestern side of Chockstone Dome. Scramble up hill and around to the dome's west side. All three routes are started from the boulders at the base of the dome.
Walk the Plank, 5.6, and Overboard, 5.8, are started from the notch on the left side of the dome. They share the first bolt. Walk the Plank traverses left, past several large cobbles, before leading to the top of the dome. Overboard continues straight up from the first bolt, past the red patch or scar seen in the picture of the climber on Walk the Plank. Both routes have six bolts.
It is possible to place several camming devices behind the flake, as shown in the above picture of John belaying, to protect against an upward pull. Given the quality of the breccia, the pieces may provide more psychological protection than real protection.
The Regular Route, 5.3, ascends the low angle, light streak on the right hand side of the dome. Do not belay from the notch at the start, as there is a poison oak plant growing there. Instead, belay from the top of the boulder, but be careful as there is a 20 to 30 foot drop on the right side. There are 2 bolts on this route.