Fog pouring over Santa Cruz Island.
No need to take the name of this formation too seriously. There is nothing toxic about this wall. The greenish color may give that impression, however, that is due to its chemical composition.
Toxic Waste Wall was developed by our own local climbers with most of the credit going to Pat. B. This mostly sport climbing formation is one of the satellites of Gibraltar Rock, which in its own right is the most popular rock in the Santa Barbara area. You can park your car on one of the pull-outs along Gibraltar Road and walk down the road two hundred yards to Toxic Waste Wall.
The climbs on Toxic Waste Wall are bolted and have double-bolt anchors on top for rappeling or lowering off. However, due to the sandstone nature of the entire area, the rock is fragile and the flakes tend to break off. Although some of the holds were originally reinforced with Bondo, none were doctored to make the routes easier. You will not find any glued-on holds here. Everything here is natural. Take care of the fragile nature of the routes and you will have a great time.
If you are not in the mood for climbing, you can just kick back and enjoy the awesome views of the Pacific Ocean below your feet.
Climbs of Toxic Waste Wall
1-Toxic Socks, 5.9+
2-Hazardous Waste, 10a
3-hemical Warfare, 10b
4-Two Stone Wipe, 5.9 This is a gear climb
5-The Crockostimpy, 5.9
6-Stimpy on Crack, 5.8 This is a gear climb
7-Solo one, 5.7 There are at least two different versions of this obscure climb.
Camping and Red Tape
Unfortunately, there are no campgrounds close and convenient to Gibraltar Rock.
However, there is 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.
There are no permits required to climb on Gibraltar Rock or any of the subsidiary formations. However, the forest service requires a permit for entering the "High Impact Areas." Gibraltar Road is not considered as High Impact Area, however, you may need one for camping or parking in the areas designated as such. For more information on such areas, please contact the Santa Barbara Ranger District, 805-967-3481.
Mountain Air Sports 14 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA. 93101 805-962-0049
Big 5 Sporting Goods 3935 State Street, Santa Barbara, CA. 93105 805-964-4749
Santa Barbara Ranger District 3505 Paradise Rd, Santa Barbara, CA. 93105 805-967-3481
How to get There
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. Gibralatr Rock is about five miles from this point. You will recognize 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.”
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.
Note, after the forest fires of 2009, the original approach to the base has become precarious and even dangerous. Find an alternate approach through the thick brush-covered hillside further down the road.