Cathedral Peak - Climbing

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Best multi-pitch climbing in the Santa Barbara area.

Written by

Courtney Johnson


0.0 miles

Destination Distance From Downtown

5.0 miles


3 of 5 diamonds

Time To Complete

4 hours

Half Day - Full Day


All Seasons

All Seasons

Dog Friendly


Fees Permits




There are seven climbing routes on Cathedral Peak with a mixture of trad and bouldering routes. This is the best place to find multi-pitch climbing in the Santa Barbara area with three routes containing three pitches- South Face, Cave Route and the face route of the South Face. The hike in to the peak is taxing but the climbing and scenery make it well worth it. Cathedral Peak is bolt free. The most popular bouldering route is Sea Urchin- a five foot overhang through the cave at the base of the peak.

What Makes It Great

Experienced trad leaders will enjoy the intermediate terrain on the standard routes. Difficulty ranges from 5.6 to 5.10 on the established lines, all with the added thrill of placing gear. The area is beautiful and and approach to the start of the climbs is thrilling enough for some!

Who is Going to Love It

Adventurous climbers who don't want an overly technical mountain with solid routes will love this area. The multi-pitch routes are the most popular but don't overlook the solid bouldering on the lower park of the peak. 

Directions, Parking, & Regulations

From Mountain Project:Cathedral Peak is located approx. 1 mile due south (downhill) from La Cumbre Peak, and getting there is definitely part of the adventure! The 45 minute approach hike is no joke, so bring lots of water and save half a liter per person for the return trip. 

By car, take Gibraltar Road all the way up to Camino Cielo and head west (left) until you get to the La Cumbre Peak lookout tower on the left. Park on Camino Cielo and walk uphill through the gate towards the lookout tower. Take the right fork in the loop road just inside the gate. The trail starts at a wood bench overlooking the ocean at a point where the loop road takes a sharp turn to the left (the bench is carved with the names "Christopher and Shannon" on the top rail).

From the wood bench, head 100 yards downhill towards a prominent pile of rocks, then angle down and right over some class 3 and class 4 terrain to the saddle, then follow the saddle south on a good trail to the top of the ridge with your first view of the crag. 

From there, work your way east, skirting just below the summit block via the north side of the ridge, and scramble down the east side gully by way of a short/steep climber's trail to the reach the base of the south face where all the climbs begin.

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Cathedral Peak

Santa Barbara, CA,
34.4896, -119.7177

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