Palisades aka Table Rock (NorCal)


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Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Feb 5, 2009 - 10:53am PT
With the number of topos I have handed out and emailed, I figure at least a few taco members have had a chance to go out there. Or hell, maybe not.

If you have made it out there, mind giving me some of your feedback on the below? A couple of reasons for this post, but mostly just curiosity:

 Rock Quality
 Route Quality
 Route Quantity
 Approach Difficulty
 Topo Accuracy or ability to find what you were looking for.

Fell free to add anything else you want. Listing some of the routes you got on specifically would be nice to know as well :)

I'll be honest, I have had several requests to put some of the information onto MP, but I am kind of undecided on it. I think hearing some feedback will help me decide if it will be a good idea or just a waste of time.
Dingus Milktoast

Feb 5, 2009 - 10:58am PT
I think you should keep it grass roots like you have it now roughster. You've shared but kept it close anyway. Why ruin a good gig?


Trad climber
Santa Clara, Ca.
Feb 5, 2009 - 11:03am PT
Keep it close? Shhhh..?

I really despise this attitude that if he tells other climbers about a cool place, they'll ruin it. WTF?

What happen to the sense of 'community'?

Dingus Milktoast

Feb 5, 2009 - 11:16am PT
I don't care what you despise. I know of a half dozen places off the top of my head I would NEVER tell you about.

Go find your own.


Trad climber
Feb 5, 2009 - 11:55am PT
Roughster - thanks for the continued efforts to diversify the options. Im not much of a sport climber, but enjoy it once in a while (including few trips to Auburn years ago). Keep it up man!

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Feb 5, 2009 - 12:10pm PT
"Go find your own." Bwahahaaa!!

Yeah, I think things get developed and known quickly enough.
We just can't wait to have our name attached to something that doesn't belong to us. No need to rush it.

We had a secret crag waaaaay BITD that stayed clean and undeveloped for twenty years after we put up the first "No trace" trad routes there. Now it's bolted with other peoples names on those lines. Funny.

I have a couple places that I like to go with a good friend that aren't developed yet. I'm keeping it that way for awhile. There are plenty of places to be in a crowd with the people straight off the pages of a magazine. (As if their outfits wll make them great climbers. Hell, we used to be MISFITS not outfits.)
KP Ariza

Feb 5, 2009 - 01:01pm PT

Big Wall climber
A Token of My Extreme
Feb 5, 2009 - 01:08pm PT
Kenny, No need to spread the info all over the place too fast.
Got it?

Trad climber
sorry, just posting out loud.
Feb 5, 2009 - 01:13pm PT
Keep it funneled. This way you get to meet new folks, make new friends, etc. In fact, make it a contract that people that use the topos have to provide you feedback. This ain't no peepshow. haahaha

It doesn't mean you don't have to share, but it makes it last a long time.

Blue, hate to tell you, but sh#t tends to get trashed out when a lot people know about stuff. Inevitable despite mitigation measures. Slow growth as Alan Greenspan would urge.

Jerry Dodrill

Sebastopol, CA
Feb 5, 2009 - 01:14pm PT
Bluering: The reasons to keep it on the low down reach beyond territorialism or keeping secrets, or rock quality for that matter. The land itself is a fairly recent acquisition by the CA State Parks, for which a complete management plan is either a.) lacking funding for implementation, or b.) more likely, still pending, or both.

As I understand, it was first acquired by collaboration between the Nature Conservancy and the Audobon Society, and was then transferred to the State for management. Up to the present, the management is minimal, which is good for everyone to a certain point. Birders, hikers and naturalists associated with the NC and AS do hike to this location frequently, as the rising thermals off the Palisades make it a fine place for watching the annual raptor migration. Table Rock is the highlight of the hike from the RLS park to Calistoga, and the most spectacular place to sit and eat lunch. The point is, because of this history, the local AS and NC folks have a strong sense of stewardship, rightfully so, that we should make every effort to respect.

It is also my understanding that these routes were established with all this in mind. Most visible bolts/fixed anchors have been camo'd and many of the climbs are not visible from the top (where the trail goes).

If you consider that the majority of Bay Area rock climbing occurs on state park land, it would be in the best interest of all of us to keep a low profile and minimum impact. Perhaps my views are overly cautious, but there is nothing wrong with cautious. Go on out there and climb, just be respectful and aware of the dynamics at play.

Oops, I wrote a book.
KP Ariza

Feb 5, 2009 - 01:19pm PT
Survival, no need to spread the info at all, nobody cares....just my opinion

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 5, 2009 - 03:18pm PT
So far great feedback and very much in alignment with what I was leaning towards. I like the low key approach and that's why this area is still low key even though most routes have been in place now for a good 3-4 years. I just recently (last part of last year and beginning of this year) started giving out the topo, so this area certainly isn't being rushed to the lime light in any capacity.

I did want to make sure that the general perception of the area wasn't that it is a "Secret Area" (That's the whole irony behind its original name aka DTSA or Double Top Secret Area) or that we were trying to keep the general climbing community out of the loop.

Also, this gives people a good idea of why I have recommended in the past to not put it on MP and will continue to give that feedback to people who wonder if they should. It is one of the unfortunate consequences of handing out the topo that anyone now could jump onto MP and add all the info, but maybe this dialogue will at least give them some of the idea of why it isn't on there already and make them realize it is not for selfish reasons.

This post is not directed at any one person or in response to being asked about adding it, more of just an open thought process on the slow integration of a new area into the collective climbing knowledge.

Anyways... :)
the Fet

Knackered climber
A bivy sack in the secret campground
Feb 5, 2009 - 04:26pm PT
The info is there for people willing to track it down. If you make it easy and/or visible there will be much more traffic. There are some places where high traffic is ok and they usually have guidebooks, and some places where it's better to keep the number of users low, and having to put a little work into getting the beta does just that.

the last bivy
Feb 5, 2009 - 05:32pm PT
Hey R! Trekked the entire length of the Palisade yesterday with friends including climbing legend Chris Jones. No climbing yesterday as we were there on recon and pointing out your routes to Chris.

Good to keep in low profile for Jerry's reasons and for the fact that it is not the place for newbs or for someone looking for monkey bar climbs. The rock is beautiful throughout the area but can't take much abuse and is unpredictable in some places.

Thanks for making the topos available. It's great to have them. I think you are right to stay low and off MP for now as you continue to develop and keep it organized out there.

Have you ever been over to the northwest side of the peak? Nice slabs, it looks like, frightening approaches but ..? Just below in the shade. Also I see you are from Vacaville. Ever been to Rockville?? what's out there?


Trad climber
Feb 5, 2009 - 06:33pm PT
Winter Weekend Destination ? Cobwebs and Obsurity ? I like to climb here occasionally because it's scenic, close, and bolted. If I lived in Fresno I'd never climb here (See SYRC posts). Since I live in Calistoga (1 hour approach including drive) I'm glad it exists as a climbing option and appreciate the recent contributions by the nice folks who developed. Here's some rainy day long-winded, opinionated, feedback Roughster. (And sorry no pictures. lame.)

Routes with your ratings/stars I've climbed and enjoyed:

Iron Curtain-

Spy vs Spy 5.10b*
Standard Issue 5.10d***
White Flag 5.11 a/b***
Fist Full of Rubles 5.8** (just Ok)
Defector 5.8 **(just OK)
Warcraft 5.10b** (good)
Svetlana 5.10a** (good)
Drive-in 5.10 b*
Moderator 5.11a*** (3rd Pitch via Warcraft, Drive by, just climbed 1/20/09 in perfect weather. good day!) pucker factor large at two bolt lower off/rappel anchor at the rim.

Shock Block-

Beer Factor 5.10b**
Lost Cause 5.10d***
Idle Hands 5.10c**
Decorator Crab 5.10a***

The Tooth-

Captain Choss** 5.10d (P1 5.10b, P2 5.10d, P2 not very good compared to first pitch)
Grape Juice 5.12a*** (top-roped)

Projects-One's I'll come back for:

Double Top Secret 5.12a***
Double Agent 5.11b**
I Shot JFK 5.12a**
Aloha Patrol 5.11b*** (Pitch 3)

Routes Projected that I've not enjoyed:

Big Red Button 5.11b**
Spankterfled 5.12a*** (bailed)


Rock Quality: Get used to it ! Loose, Sharp, Grainy, etc. adjectives which will offend many, might actually help them train to climb stronger in other more classic climbing areas. Abrasive rock here builds callus, a good thing ! Nubbins and Chickenheads are fun but they're not as dependable, numerous, or firmly embedded (as most of the nubbins are at the Pinnacles.) It's disappointing when the hold you like may break off, usually the smaller ones. Routes cleaning up here in this manner, (can you say "pop"!) usually get worse quality-wise, not better. Example: "Big Red Button" (getting worse, really falling apart, especially at the start and crux)

The "Moderator" had slightly disappointing rock quality up high for such lofty position. Warcraft, Svetlana, White Flag, etc. seem better in quality at the cliff-base.

Route Quality: Similar from route-to-route. This can create an atmosphere of climbing a route only once and never going back (common) Moderator and Aloha Patrol have rare North Bay 3-4 pitch 250 ft.+ steep exposure on great features, aretes and exposed faces. (variable rock quality, including accounted for choss-factor mentioned in numerous previous posts as a given here.) Bolts are good, spaced closly on some of the poorer rock sections, excessive in some places (the route drive-by 5.12a?, really necessary ?)and a fair number of question bolts on unfinished projects (Transmorgifyer, Transporter ? any recent action?) Haven't climbed at The Lair yet ? any good compared to above?

Approach: The land-owner below (last year?) recently bulldozed the road below table rock all the way up to the Garnett Creek Crossing and put in a new gate with a no trespassing sign about 100 feet up from the grassy hillside where climbers would formally go up and left to the cave area. This section will undoubtedly perplex new arriving climbers and needs a solution to by-pass (without crossing the gate against the warning.)

Topo: Accurate, some grades are debatable by a letter grade or two, Completely normal for a newly developed area. The cliff is large and looming where the climbs are, and confusing at the base, required a few trips out there for me to sort everything out.

Cheers !

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Feb 5, 2009 - 07:39pm PT
Awesome feedback, thank you!

Social climber
Davis, CA
Feb 5, 2009 - 07:42pm PT
spot on, berghold.

Trad climber
Feb 5, 2009 - 09:02pm PT
Hey Caught - longtime, you still in pt richmond? If so, you have to take me out to this place one of these days.


Trad climber
Vacaville Ca,
Feb 8, 2009 - 09:31pm PT
My opinion about this varies from place to place, but Jerry makes some a persuasive arguments. Furthermore, I think Table is getting enough traffic on its own. Of the five times I've been out there in the last two years, there has always been someone else climbing there. When I ask how they found the place, everyone so far has said they saw it from the road and came to take a look. The place is a huge billboard, it advertises it's self.

I do think the routes need some more traffic to help clean them up. I know considering the rock type that traffic can degrade or make a route harder. It's an unfortunate side effect of climbing on choss. It is what it is. Just re-grade em' and move on.

As for keeping it off Mountain Project or out of published guides, looks like you already lost the battle on one front. Some A$$hole already took the liberty of posting it on MP earlier today... or yesterday? I was rather suprised to see it pop up on there. Suspitious it appeared so soon preceeding this thread, no?

I say just pass the guide out to people who track you down and ask for it. Their the ones who are going to want to go out there and climb more than once anyway.

We have a classic example of what happens when you advertise an area in a guidebook right in our back yards Aaron. I don't know if you've been around the boulders lately, but many of them have sported new white petrogliphs, an increase of trash, tick marks and chalk caked holds everywhere. The most recent contrabution has been aggressive cleaning of several well traveled boulders. The Hidden boulder has developed three huge rock scars where someone pryed off the top outs of Brass Monkey and Natural Disaster as well as several key holds along the way. The diagonal crack to it's left has had the whole top section removed making the top out much harder. The Mother Boulder has a trail of rock scars just to the left of Mother Nature where several plates were removed. A line I've climbed many times. I'm sure it was done by someone who dosn't understand the nature of the rock. Some holds wiggle but are still bomber, and if you pry on anything hard enough it will probably come loose.

Unfortunately, the place will never be as it was. The traffic brought on by a guidebook has changed it.
I don't think Table would have the same problems. It's accessability issues will probably be it's major limiting factor. However, why push your luck. I'd just pass the guide out only to people I can hand it too personally.

Just my .02.


Trad climber
Santa Cruz, CA
Feb 8, 2009 - 09:49pm PT
Only been out there once. Like you said, I saw it from the road on the way to Mt. St. Helena. Thought it couldn't all be choss. I remember it being kind of a pain in the a$$ to get to, I think I got rewarded with poison oak to boot. Some more traffic might do it some
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