Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.47756°N / 119.67883°W
Additional Information County: Santa Barbara
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Sign the Climber's Log


We have all seen how a rock formation becomes a destination of choice for a number of years only to fall from grace and get ignored for so many more years. Cold Springs Dome would be one such case.
Cold Springs DomeCold Springs Dome seen frm the approach trail.

Cold Springs Dome was explored by a local climber named Amos Clifford in the mid seventies. Cutting trials through heavy brush could not have been an easy task. But all the hard work resulted in a great trail that is still in use. In the next twenty years it bacame the rock formation to visit for all local as well as out of town and famous climbers such as Lynn Hill. From the early days of activity to mid nineties many moderate climbs were established on the low angle south face of the Cold Springs Dome. These climbs ranged from 5.8 to 10c.

E.Face on the left & S.Face slab on the right

Most of the attention on Cold Springs Dome was due to its eighty foot overhanging east face. This impressive face is well featured with edges, huacos and cracks. On top of it all, the east face is consistently overhanging for the entire lenght. Climbers with 5.11 ambitions crowded the base and tried the routes on top rope. The first recorded successful free climb of the east face on top rope was accomplished by a visiting climber called Bill Puttnam. The first free climb of this face on lead was on a climb that became known as Makunaima was done by my friend Mike Forkash in 1980.

Climbs of The Overhanging East Wall & Makunaima

The overhanging east face,

Makunaima is a powerful climb rated at 11b. It starts with pulling on large huecos on vertical ground. As you expect, the climb soon becomes overhanging, huecos will disappear and finger locks and sloping hand holds begin. This is the first crux that ends on a good stance, but it’s still overhanging. Your arms don’t get much rest here before the nxt crux begins. Climb through another section of finger locks and hand jams on still overhanging face. The standard route climbs up and left to the top. A much more difficult variation climbs straight up to the top from the end of the second crux. This variation is rated at 11d/12a. There are a few top rope climbs to the right of Makunaima all in the 11d/12b range. One such a climb is called “Predators Keep The Balance, 12b” first climbed by Phil Requist and Dave Griffith.There are bolts on top for setting up top rope. To get to the top anchor bolts you will need to climb on a fourth class unprotected face around and up the left side of the east face.

Climbs of the overhanging east wall
AHomo Erectus, 11c
BMakunaima, 11b
CMakunaima Direct, 11d
D{Jercho Dude-first half,12a}
EPredators Keep The Balance, 12b

Climbs of the south facing slab.

Cold Springs Dome
South Facing slab
The East Face
The overhanging east face,

There are a number of more moderate climbs on the slab adjacent to the overhanging east face. The most popular and the best prtected one of these climbs is called “Magic Bag, 5.9.” The first ascent of this climb was done by my friends Steve Tucker, Dick Saum and Chuck Fitch in 1981.

Climb up the middle of the middle of this south facing slab using edges and small pockets passsing by three bolts to a ledge on top of the slab. Belay here. Pitch 2: climbs over a small overhang wanders to the right and left climbing corners and ramps to the top.

{F-Rock Bottom, 5.7} {G-Sidney's Whiplash, 5.8} {H-Magic Bag, 5.9}

Views of Santa Barbara from Cold Springs Dome

Views of Santa Barbara From Cold Springs Dome
Views of Santa Barbara From Cold Springs Dome
Views of Santa Barbara From Cold Springs Dome

How to Get There

Old Fire Rd/Approach TrailWhen you get to the top of the ridge, you will see this rock formation. This is your landmark to look for your trail that drops down toward the ocean on your right.

Approach to Cold Springs DomeShortly after you drop down the ridge you will begin to see Cold Springs Dome

Follow directions to Gibraltar Rock Gibraltar Rock Across from Gibraltar Rock there is a much smaller boulder with a hole in it, “Hole In The Rock.” There is a trail passing by this rock and continuing up the hill. Follow this path to the top of the ridge. The trail begins to go down hill. Just before the down hill you will see two rock formations, refer to the #1photo on this page, head down another small trail heading toward the ocean. You will soon begin to see the top of Cold Springs Dome. Refer to the #2 photo. Continue down this steep path and go down a small rock step just before reaching the the dome. The overhanging east face of Cold Springs Dome is to the left and obvious. This hike will take from 20 to 30 minutes.

Look out for poison Oak.

Additions and CorrectionsPost an Addition or Correction

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bobwert - Jun 2, 2011 11:16 pm - Hasn't voted

route photos

The route description for 'Kneeanderthal' is not quite correct. It starts just like 'Makunaema', and after the heelhook and the overhanging jugs traverses over to where Marc shows 'Predators Keep the Balance'. At the top roof, it moves left to where Marc shows it (last 10ft). Also, don't expect 'Makunaema' to be 11b; it's more like 11c. Oh yes, the direct finish may be rated 11d since folks get it wired on toprope, but it sure as hell is 12a on lead. Gear can protect the 12a move (hint, a .5 camalot in a hueco), but it's pretty thin and you're looking at a 20 footer if you pitch.

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