The Costanoan

Page Type Page Type: Route
Additional Information Route Type: Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring
Additional Information Time Required: Half a day
Additional Information Rock Difficulty: 5.4 (YDS)
Additional Information Grade: II
Sign the Climber's Log


The Costanoan is a bolted climb on The Citadel. Pinnacles breccia is often loose. (You can tell someone who climbs at the Pinnacles because they tap everything before they weight it). However, the rock quality on this route isn't that bad and the route is fun! It does not see a lot of traffic because of it's west side location and relatively (for the Pinnacles) long approach.

The exposure is fun and there are great views from the top.

Spring or fall are the best times of year to do this climb. It can be too hot in the summer. There are lots of wildflowers along the approach trail, during the spring.

Getting There

Take Highway 101 to Soledad, then go east on Highway 146 to the Chaparral parking area. From the parking lot, take the Bench Trail, going towards the Balconies Cave. Less than half a mile later, as you come to the base of Machette Ridge, you will see a sign pointing to a climber's trail and Elephant Rock. Follow this trail and go across the creek. Once you have crossed the creek the trail is easy to follow and runs parrallel to the creekbed. The trail is not a good one; it is covered with ball bearing scree. At the top of the canyon, you wind up at the base of the Citadel. The start of the Costanoan is in sort of an alcove formed by bushes.

The approach is about 45 minutes. (I think it took me more like an hour, stopping to look at the wild flowers.)

Route Description

The route is four pitches long. It is bolted and not very run-out considering the grade. However, both Rob (rhyang) and Justin (justing) think that there is the potential of decking if you fall before you clip the second bolt.

The bolts are good and all the anchors have at least one 3/8 inch bolt according to the rebolting info on the Friends of the Pinnacles website. One of the belay is a hanging belay; which is kind of fun.

There is an anchor at the top of the 4th pitch; the Rubine guidebook (1995) is outdated.

Descend by rappeling the route. You need two ropes to get off, as the first pitch is too long to rappel off with a 60 meter rope. I believe the other pitches are short enough that you can rappel them with a single 60 meter rope.

Essential Gear

8 or 9 trad draws (the route is wanders so it is better to be able to extend the draws)
cordelette, locking carabiners, or what ever you like to build anchors with. (When I climbed the route, my partner built every anchor using a different method, just for for fun)
climbing kit

Red Tape/Raptor Closures

The Citadel was named as a sensitive area in the 2007 Raptor Advisory List, so it is closed to climbing as of 1/12/07. The Advisory List will be updated in April, but normally the closures are lifted in June or July. You can get more information about the Raptor Advisory Lists at this web site: