South Arete Variation

Page Type
California, United States, North America
Route Type:
Spring, Fall, Winter
Time Required:
Half a day
Rock Difficulty:
Class 4

Route Quality: 1 Votes

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South Arete Variation
Created On: Sep 13, 2010
Last Edited On: Sep 13, 2010


This route is just a variation to the South Arete of El Cajon mountain for those who want a bit more actual scrambling. As of August 2010, the approach has been cleaned out by fire, but it may get hard to get to the base again due to classic San Diego bushwhacking.

Getting There

Start just like climbing the South Arete except stay off below the ridge to the right (eastern) side.

Route Description

The lowest point in the cliffs just to the right of the ridge is the start of the route. There are a couple options here on how to start: an easy gully (low 3rd class) up to a ledge or just to the left of that a very featured slab face (4th to low 5th class) that is very enjoyable if not a bit exposed.

From the ledge head left and up aiming for a large dihedral that connects with the summit. After gaining the dihedral, climb up the right side following a crack system (4th class) to a ledge that would put you about half way up the dihedral. At this point you can head left back into the dihedral via a slabby traverse and either climb out left or try to finish the dihedral (probably 4th class for the first option and 5th for the second) or follow ledges and weaknesses up and to the right for a nice 4th class finish a little higher on the ridge.

Finish up the South Arete route and descend the same.

Essential Gear

A good pair of approach shoes or boots and lots of water.