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The Nose, 11-

The Nose, 11-

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The Nose, 11-

Page Type: Route

Location: California, United States, North America

Lat/Lon: 34.47694°N / 119.68005°W

Object Title: The Nose, 11-

Route Type: Trad Climbing

Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter

Time Required: Less than two hours

Rock Difficulty: 5.11a (YDS)

Difficulty: 11a

Number of Pitches: 2

Grade: I

Route Quality: 
 - 1 Votes


Page By: Marcsoltan

Created/Edited: Jun 7, 2009 / Jun 17, 2009

Object ID: 519216

Hits: 4077 

Page Score: 89.39%  - 29 Votes 

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The Nose ...
Brian working out the moves on The Nose of Gibraltar Rock.
Nose of Gibraltar Rock
Yours truly cleaning the pitch after leading it with hexes only. early 70s

The Nose of Gibraltar Rock is a prominent overhang on the south west corner of Gibraltar Rock. The most important feature of this overhang is a crack that runs up the entire lenght of it. This crack has always been the object of curiousity and revrence. Many climbers’ hopes and dreams have been lost and realized on this crack.

By all accounts the first ascent of this beautiful crack was accomplished in the mid-sixties by Herbert Rickert. He used direct aid utilizing creative wide pieces such as wooden blocks. By the time I came into the climbing scene in 1969, bongs and wide hexentrics manufactured by Chouinard Equipement were common place. At that time only a handfull of climbers in America could free climb at higher levels of difficulty. Hence, aiding the nose of Gibraltar rock was an accepted method of climbing it. There is no doubt that during that era The Nose saw repeated ascents via direct aid by several local climbers, myself included.

It was not until the early seventies that the first free climbing of The Nose was accomplished by, probably, Steve Gerdson. At the present time you never see anyone climbing The Nose via direct aid. All ascents of The Nose are done free, either on lead or on top rope.

The Route

The Nose ...
The Nose ...
Pitch 1:
This beautiful climb is located very close to the arete separating the south and the west faces on Gibraltar Rock. Begin your climb under the overhang on the southwest corner. Several layback moves will bring you to the first jams too tight for your hands and too loose for your fingers. If you are under 5’, 6” your feet will be coming off the rock at this point, and you will be hanging the entire way. Creative foot-work will help shorter climbers, as it did for me. Taller climbers can continue using their feet on a semi ramp for a few more moves. The crack will soon become hand size and shortly after, too wide for your fists. By now you are close to the lip of the overhang. Cranck through the lip and stand on great footholds. There is a double bolt anchor marking the end of first pitch.

Pitch 2:
Climb the obvious and easy crack to a ledge at mid face. In the old times we did the rest of the climb without protection, following the airy shoulder separating the south and west faces. Nowadays there are bolts protecting the upper face to the top and anchor bolts. You will walk away with a smile on your face having done one of the most enjoyable climbs in all of Santa Barbara.

The Nose ...
Working out the moves
Working out the moves
Need to try again
Taking a big swing is the best part...

One of the easiest ways to get to the base of The Nose is to Rappel from the top. There are two sets of double bolt anchors on top that can be used. You can also walk and scramble down along the base of the south face to get to the base of The Nose. Most people set up a top rope from the top and walk down to the base.

Essential Gear

Standard rack up to 4 inches.


Unfortunately, there are no campgrounds close and convenient to Gibraltar Rock.

There is, however, one very large and well developed campground at Cachuma Lake, and a few less developed ones along Paradise Road off Highway 154. There are also a few campgrounds along Highway 101 at El Capitan State Park and Refugio State Park.

El Capitan Beach Camping

Refugio State Beach Camping

Cachuma Lake

How to get there

From Highway 101 take the Las Positas off ramp. For those coming from the south turn right; for those coming from the north turn left. In either case, drive toward the mountains to the north of Santa Barbara. Continue up Las Positas for .85 miles to State Street, where the name of Las Positas changes to San Roque. Continue driving straight toward the mountains until you come to HWY 192 (Foothill Road) in another .5 mile. Turn right at the intersection and continue up Foothill Road for 1.9 miles to its intersection with Mountain Drive. Turn left onto Mountain Drive and drive for .5 mile to its intersection with Gibraltar Road. Gibralatr Rock is about five miles from this point. You will recognize Gibraltar Rock located to the west of the road when you begin to see a large sandstone formation immediately to your right (east side of the road). This formation is “The Bolt Ladder.” Gibraltar Rock is a little further up the road and to your left. There are ample turnouts for parking between here and the next two turns in the road.


The Nose ...Need to try againNose of Gibraltar RockTaking a big swing is the best part...OldThe Nose ...Working out the moves
Working out the movesThe Nose ...