Put up by Yvon Chouinard and Harry Daley in 1961, this route and a large part of the Northeast Face didn't see a whole lot of attention, primarily due to the concentrated efforts in the development of routes on the Northwest Recess and South Face. Later on in 1963, Bob Kamps and TM Herbert freed the route and declared it "another sought out gem on Tahquitz Rock". Climbers eventually found this area to be a refuge when the summer time temps soared and the southeastern facing rock became too intolerable. Its neighboring routes, 'El Whampo' (5.7) and 'El Dorado' (5.10aR), are also classic lines which beckon the same degree of attention from those who want to wet their souls in adventure.
Locating The Start Of 'El Grandote'
Park at Humber Park and head to where the Devils Slide trail begins. Upon starting the trail, depart it 20' up the trail to the right. A climbers trail, which hugs the side of a fence, will appear. This trail heads down into Strawberry Creek, crosses it, heads back up and then parallels the right side of the creek. Continue following this trail till a series of trees, weaved tightly together, bridges the trail. Head 100' further past this point until a clearing to the right appears. Cross into the clearing, travel 100 yards up hill toward Tahquitz Rock and locate the talus field above. Continue up, scrambling the talus field until the Northeast Face is encountered. Once in sight, head up and slightly left until at the base of the slabs for the Northeast Face. Hike along the base until a section of 3rd class terrain is encountered. Scramble up to a tier which is signatured by a right facing corner with a LARGE roof looming 25' above. This is the start to 'El Grandote'
Route DescriptionPitch #1:
Start by climbing the right facing corner to the roof. Just before reaching the roof, move onto the right facing wall and climb up and over it (5.9) , eventually reaching the slab above. Once at the slab, climb out left then back right to the edge of the wall and into a thin crack. This crack is in a shallow right facing corner (small RP's) and continues to a right sloping ledge. Belay here. Pro to: 1", small nuts and cams helpful.
From the sloping ledge, climb up (small crack in corner) and then right (5.8) to a right facing corner. Climb another 15' in this corner before continuing out right again to another crack system. This second crack leads to a beautiful pancake flake, which climbs and protects beautifully. Sadly, it lasts only 20' before petering out to a series of downward facing overlaps. Climb up and right, referencing the arch/overlap above (beware of loose rock directly under arch/overlaps). Continue until a small tree/bush is reached below the arch. Belay here. Pro to 1", small to medium cams.
At the tree/bush, locate a weakness in the arch/overlap, slightly left and above. A series of steep ramps and corner systems head up and left from the belay. The climbing is a bit tricky but no harder than 5.7. Climb to a right facing corner leading straight up until a sandy broken ledge is encountered. Belay here (this same belay as the 2nd pitch of 'El Whampo'). Pro to 2.5". Note: although this is a short pitch, the belay used is ideal due to the rope drag while passing over the arch system.
Start by climbing straight up (following the same start to 'El Whampo's 3rd pitch but eventually climbing slightly left above. This will lead to a nice finger crack and eventually a dead tree. At the tree, climb left and around it to the large overlap above. Mantle onto the slab (5.7) above the overlap and continue to (2) protectable "eyebrows" (small cams). Continue past the "eyebrows" (5.7) and eventually reaching a large broken ledge that continues to the left. Belay near a large dead tree.
From this point, 3rd class up and left. A section of 4th class in the corner above is encountered but eventually peters out on the slabs above. Take caution.....this ledge and the corners above contain lots of loose rock. Top out on the left shoulder and eventually descend the North Gully to return to the base of the Northeast Face.
- 60 meter rope
- Pro to 2.5", RP's and small to medium cams helpful
- A dozen slings w/biners
- Helmet (optional)