Yours truly at The Brickyard, early 90s
The Brickyard is the name of one of the bouldering areas in the mountains of Santa Barbara, California.
I have written at some length about the history of bouldering in Santa Barbara in my previous submission Painted Cave
. The Brickyard was kept a secret bouldering area for a period of time. By the time I was alerted to this so called secret area, a very narrow and premitive path was established to it. Although the path was no more than seven minutes from the road, it was covered with heavy sage brush and poison oak, not to mention anything about rattle snakes.
Not having been allergic to poison oak yet, I took a shovel, a long pair of loppers, and a saw and went to work on improving the trail. After a couple of solo trips to The Brickyard, it was time to invite friends to go and discover the countless boulders strewn in this large area. Eventually, the only price I had to pay for my efforts to improve the area was to become highly allergic to poison oak.
The Brickyard turned out to be much more extensive than any of us had imagined. After working out the moves, mostly on top rope on the closest boulders, it was time to hack our way to the neighboring boulders. I’m not sure if all the boulders in this area were discovered, but what we found was enough to keep the local climbers busy for a few years.
The Brickyard offers some six dozen boulder problems in the V0 to V1 range. There are also some three dozen problems in the V2 and V3 level. Higher levels of difficulty problems are a bit harder to find, but they are here too. You need to use your sense of imagination and create your own problems.
In May of 2009 a huge forest fire devastated large swaths of hillsides in the mountains of Santa Barbara. This fire exposed many small and large boulders hidden under the sage brush. It also made the approach to The Brickyard easier. Moving around the boulders became much simpler and looking at the scenery more pleasant.
The fire also brought with it a different set of problems. The Brickyard is located very close to the top of San Marcos Pass. During the rainy season, San Marcos Pass receives two to four times the amount of rain we get in the city. This huge amount of rain fall causes The Brickyard to stay wet and muddy for weeks at a time. If you are coming from out of town, it would be a good idea to check the amount of rain fall for at least the two weeks prior to your trip.
A word of caution
1- Rock quality is poor.
2- Most boulder problems end by manteling on sloping high top outs.
3- Descending the boulders can be hairy.
4- The area is often loaded with poison oak.
5- During warm seasons be on the lookout for rattle snakes.
6- The area is close to a gun club and you could be treated to the sound of gun fire all day long.
Unfortunately, there are no campgrounds close and convenient to The Brickyard.
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
How to get there
From 101 Freeway take Highway 154, Cachuma Lake & San Marcos Pass exit. Drive north for 6.8 miles toward San Marcos Pass to its intersection with West Camino Cielo Road. Turn left at this intersection. Drive 3.4 miles up West Camino Cielo Road to an area with a metal fence and a “No Shooting” sign. There are plenty of parking spaces on the wide shoulder of the road. Park here and take the trail around the metal fence and past a brush covered hill. The approach should not take much more than seven minutes. When you get to the boulders, you can go left for some of the boulders, or right for the majority of the more interesting ones.