Southern Blonde is a rock formations in the The Alabama Hills on the outskirts of Lone Pine Peak in the Sierra Nevada Range, California.
Southern Blonde is located in an area rich in rock formations such as Peter Gabriel Cliff, Temple of Kali and Rocky Top. In contrast to all of these formations that are located in the heart of Gunga Din area, Southern Blonde sits just outside of this well-enclosed area. In fact, Southern Blonde is often overlooked and bypassed by climbers heading for The Candy Store, Whitney Cave or Earthday Dome. Being west-facing and blending in with the surrounding rocks and boulders, Southern Blonde reaches its true majesty and prominence during the sunset hours. Driving back from Whitney Cave late in the afternoon and looking up the hill, you wonder how soon you are able to come back for Southern Blonde!
Not unlike many of the formations in The Alabama Hills, you need to do a bit of scrambling and route finding to get to the base of Southern blonde's main formation. The base is a narrow corridor/cavern well hidden from view and you need to down climb some boulders to get into it. Knowing the location of this cavern may come in handy to escape from the heat of the summer months even if you are not a climber.
There are three established routes on the main formation two of which I have selected for this page. The third one requires gear placement and it is runout, meaning that the distance between bolts are a bit too far for comfort. The two sport routes are well-bolted and have their own two-bolt anchors. For more ambitious climbers looking to get every single route in the Alabama Hills area under their belt, there are two more routes much higher up the hill from Southern Blonde's main formation. I have never been to these two routes but looking from a distance, you need to do a lot more route finding and scrambling to get to their base. If you happen to have first hand information about these two routes, please add it to the "Additions & Corrections" of this page.
Select routes of Southern Blonde
|A||What A Face, 5.9, Bolts, anchor|
|B||Dick See Chicks, 10a, bolts, anchor|
How to get to Southern Blonde: From the town of Lone Pine along HWY 395 in California drive about three miles on Whitney Portal Road to intersect with Horseshoe Meadow Road. Turn left onto Horseshoe Meadow Road and drive about a mile to just past the last grouping of rocks. Turn left onto an old and narrow paved/dirt road for a short distance. Southern Blonde formation is a short distance from Horseshoe Meadow Road and to your left.
Note: On your way to Southern Blonde you will drive just past Ganga Din Area. This is where the old movie Ganga Din was filmed.
Although many parties camp within the parking areas of the Alabama Hills, this practice is highly discouraged. The area suffers from mismanaged campsites and blackened caves. There are two campgrounds very close to the Alabama Hills. Lone Pine Campground is further up the road on Whitney Portal Road, and Tuttle Creek Campground is within a few miles up Horseshoe Meadow Road.
If you don't mind driving another fifty miles, there are many campgrounds along Bishop Creek just to the west of Bishop. There are also many places in The Buttermilks area that are close to a creek that are suitable for camping. Please do not camp in The Buttermilks bouldering area. That area is very crowded and is suffering from the impact unregulated camping has caused.
The following links should help finding a good campsite
Horton Creek Campground
Rock Creek Canyon
Inyo National Forest
Bishop Creek and vicinity camping