View of Santa Barbara from Toxic Waste Wall Gibraltar Rock Area
Toxic Waste Wall
is one of the first true sport climbing areas established in the Santa Barbara area. Although there are two routes on the right side of the formation that require complimenting the bolts with gear, I have never seen anyone climbing them. All the routes were established by local climbers with Pat Briggs doing most of the work and deserving most of the credit.
The best and the most popular route on Toxic Waste Wall is a climb called “Hazardous Waste
, rated 10a.” This is a beautiful route deserving of its rating and popularity. Climb on reasonable size holds to the first bolt. The first bolt is a bit high, but the holds are pretty good. Past the first bolt, you are climbing up and right, then straight up on much smaller holds past three more bolts. There is a bit of a runout between second and third bolts as well. There is a solid double bolt anchor on top. Enjoy.
Getting to the base
Some one hundred feet to the right of “Bolt Ladder” you will see a steep path, with a rock face on the left and heavy brush on the right, going up the hill. Take this path to the base of Toxic Waste Wall. The first bolted face you come to will be the first of several bolted climbs here. Hazardous Waste is the second bolted route from the left.
Note: After the devastating fires of the 2009, the approach to the base via the original route has become more difficult and precarious. Another option for getting to the base is now to hike up the steep hillside before reaching the Toxic Waste Wall, then traversing the landscape leading to the wall.
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. Toxic Waste Wall is about five miles from this point. You will recognize South Face of 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.” Toxic Waste Wall is the continuation of The Bolt Ladder
higher up on the hill.
Looking west from the top of Santa Barbara's front range
Unfortunately, there are no campgrounds close and convenient to Toxic Waste Wall.
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
one 60 meter rope, 8 draws, 2 slings, a good belayer