Warming Wall is a rock formation located in the foothills of Mammoth Mountain, California.
Mammoth Mountain is an internationally renowed skiing resort in the eastern Sierras of California. Even though the elevation of Mammoth Mountain is hardly significant, compared to the nearby mountains, it receives an inordinate amount of snow during the winter and spring seasons. However, during the summer months, when all of the snow has melted and streams are running fast and furious, Mammoth Mountain attracts a different breed of outdoor enthusiasts such as fishermen, mountain bikers, hikers and, not to forget, rock climbers.
Warming Wall was named after “Warming Hut II,” or “Canyon Lodge,” one of several warming stations in the Mammoth Mountain skiing area. This formation is located withing a five minute walking distance of the warming station parking lot. During the summer months the chances of you not finding a parking spot are zero.
Warming Wall is just one of the formations on Mammoth Mountain, a dormant volcano. True to its volcanic nature, the surface of the rock is either porous or very smooth with a mirror-like glaze. Fortunately for Warming Wall, most of the routes are on the rougher textured rock. Warming Wall, being a south facing formation, stays in the shade for a good part of the morning hours offering a comfortable time for a real good workout. Even during the afternoon hours, the shade of huge pine trees at the base offer great shelter from the sun.
Routes of Warming Wall
On my first visit to Warming Wall in the mid to late 1980’s there were fewer than two bolted routes on it. Most people just top roped the wall. In the late 80’s and early 90’s more and more bolted routes appeared. In contrast to the 80’s and 90’s, on my last visit to warming Wall in July of 2009, I saw so many new routes I wasn’t sure how to distinguish the new ones from the old. In some cases the routes seem to be only six or seven feet apart. For the sake of accuracy I will do my best to identify the routes on my diagram, but I’m not going to put my money on the exactness. Use your own judgement when you get to the crag.
Warming Wall is about eighty feet tall and can easily be set up for top roping. You can approach the top from the right. There are many three-piece anchors just below the top for lowering off if you are leading the climbs. The anchors vary in type from old cold shuts to new bolts and chains, or a combination of both.
Warming Wall actually consists of two formations separated by a wide crack/chimney. The smaller right hand formation has one of my favorite climbs called Greenhouse Effect, rated 10c. I have noticed three more bolted routes to the right of Greenhouse Effect. Unfortunately, I have not been able to get any information on these three newer climbs.
Climbs of Warming Wall
|A||El Nino, 11a, 4 bolts|
|B||Nuclear Winter, 11b, 6 bolts|
|C||Jam It, 11b, 7 bolts|
|D||Heat Vampire, 11a, 8 bolts|
|E||One Eyed Jack, unknown rating, bolts|
|F||Oh Zone, 10b, 9 bolts|
|G||Warming Trend, 10a, 5 bolts|
|H||Warming Wall Crack, 5.8, Standard rack, pro to 5 inches|
|I||Unknown name, unknown rating, bolt protected|
|J||Faulty Brake, 10a, 7 bolts|
|K||Ghetto Blaster, 10b, 5 bolts|
|L||Hot Flash, 10a, 6 bolts|
|M||Greenhouse Effect, 10c, 6 bolts, This climb is located on the smaller formation to the right of the main wall. There are also three more new climbs to the right of Greenhouse Effect. Sorry, no information on those|
CampingThere are many campgrounds in the town of Mammoth Lakes. During the summer months, these campgrounds always seem to be full to the brim. I personally prefer to look for camping possiblities ouside of the town boundries. There are many other campgrounds on the way to Mammoth Lakes that can be used. There is another option; during the summer months motel rates drop dramatically making them a desirable way to spend a few nights in luxury. Needless to mention, amenities abound.
The folowing link should help finding accomodations.
you may ask about Lake George campground and Lake Mary campground,
you may want to try the following links for camping outside of the town of Mammoth Lakes:
Horton Creek Campground
Rock Creek Canyon
Inyo National Forest
Bishop Creek and vicinity camping
How to get there
From the town of Bishop on Highway 395 drive about forty miles to its intersection with Highway 203, Mammoth Lakes. Drive into the town of Mammoth Lakes and pass its intersection with Minaret Road. Very quickly after this intersection you will see a road to your right called Canyon Boulevard. Drive Canyon Blvd to its end passing the last building called Austria Hof/Restaurant Lounge. You will see a huge parking lot. This is Canyon Lodge Parking lot.
From the parking lot head up a faint trail heading north and following a drainage. There is a well warned-out trail that mountain bikers use. I would stay away from that one. The hiking trail paralells that. After a few minutes you will see a rock formation appearing to your right from behind the tree. Head up a short but steep trail to it. When you see all the bolts, you know you’ve arrived at Warming Wall.