Northwest Side of the Streambed

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Sport Climbing
Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Less than two hours
5.5 - 5.7
Number of Pitches:

Route Quality: 2 Votes

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Northwest Side of the Streambed
Created On: Dec 9, 2009
Last Edited On: Jan 4, 2010


As you hike along the Balconies Trail toward Machete Ridge, the first rock formation you notice is a slab on the left side of the creek, which the trail roughly parallels. There are two routes at the base of this slab.

1) The Big Bad West, 5.5
2) Passion Play, 5.7, is right of The Big Bad West.

Both routes start in the bed of the seasonal creek. The creek is usually dried up or close to dried up by late spring, allowing climbing in the area.

Getting There

From the west side parking lot, take the Balconies Cave Trail. As you come to the third footbridge, the slab is on the left, across the creek. Scramble down to the creek bed.

Route Descriptions

The Big Bad West, 5.5, follows a water streak and is left of Passion Play, 5.7. There are four bolts on this short route, leading to a three bolt anchor. Walk off left. Young's guidebook describes the route as an excellent beginner's lead. As it was my first lead, I agree with this assessment.

The Big Bad West (5.5)
The Big Bad West, 5.5, Pinnacles N.M.
The Big Bad West, 5.5, Pinnales N.M.

Passion Play, 5.7, which is located to the right of The Big Bad West, also follows a water streak. Two bolts lead to a bolted anchor. Both of these bolts were recently upgraded. The crux of this route is just past the first bolt. Walk off left.

Passion Play, 5.7, Pinnacles N.M.
Passion Play, 5.7, Pinnacles N.M.
Passion Play, 5.7, Pinnacles N.M.

Essential Gear

Rope, quick draws, and whatever you use to set up an anchor at a bolted belay.
Northwest Side of the StreambedNorthwest Side of Streambed