El Gran Trono Blanco


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Trad climber
Golden, CO
Dec 11, 2007 - 11:35am PT
Great shots! One of my big regrets is not doing anything on the throne (yet). Actually did my Master's thesis in geology on some tungsten deposits just a few miles away.

'cross the great divide
Dec 11, 2007 - 04:01pm PT
I visited this area about 15 years ago. Pre-trip, I called one of the shops in San Diego asking for beta (A7 maybe???) The guy on the phone tells me, "No one in San Diego is going to give you information on Trono, man."

You CA guys have sure come a long way since then . . .

We found the spot using some sketchy hand-drawn map that some AZ climbers drew up for us. It's difficult to find, and worth the search. Good craggin' in addition to Trono.
John Vawter

Social climber
San Diego
Dec 11, 2007 - 04:40pm PT
We always carried our water in, but after one wet winter we found a lot of water flowing in the north gully approach. There is a stream in the bottom of the canyon, but it's a long way down, and a longer way back up with water for three or four days. It can be balmy warm in December, and too cold and windy to climb in Spring. It took Baxter and Karlstrom three or four tries to do Pan Am. Once they were turned back by falling ice! The title of their 1973 article in Climbing Magazine says it all: Poor Man's Patagonia.

Trad climber
Dec 11, 2007 - 05:33pm PT
Awesome place, one of all time favorites, especially exploring the 'caves' of the area. El Millena was a blast, we only did the first three pitches.

I think we were all super paranoid about the banditos when we went down there, I remember we all slept with 'weapons'. My partners brought a katana, a wazuki, 2 hatchets, a bowie knife, and a machete...

That road, that road out there was quite something, so were the directions, which my friend had written down on a napkin,really have no idea how he found this place... all I remember was to keep following Rocky the Raccoon signs, and look for the two red rocks, the abandoned derelict church... beer down there was cheap!

Have fun and stay warm, we went in late December as well 2 years ago.

Trad climber
Dec 11, 2007 - 06:59pm PT

Some bouldering near the top of the Gran-early 70's.....


right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:10pm PT
E & Fred Zeal, atop the Pan Am in ‘78:


right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:11pm PT
Watusi getting essentials from a local:

One of the key turns, leaving the road toward La Ruma Rosa:

Note the t shirt, Kinnaloa's brilliant: "This Ain't No Weenie Roast", featuring Ray Charles.

right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:17pm PT
Some pics from the FA of Wall of Voodoo, on the Moonflower Buttress, across from Trono N Face, 1981:

Foreshortened, yes, but all 6 pitches in view:

Bob Gaines, starting up pitch 1:

Gaines, following the big corner on pitch 2:

Tarbuster, leaving the OW on pitch 3 and heading left, into the route’s crux finger crack:

Watusi following pitch 4:

Watusi heading to the OW on pitch 5:

Pitch 6, exiting left around the roofs:

Sloppy photoshop technique pants patch is a courtesy, trust me.

A tent in the redwoods
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:20pm PT
That's some clean rock.

right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 07:28pm PT
...And it ain't seen many, if any repeats James, saddle up and git' on it.
Classic old skewl multi pitch jive, 5.9, 5.10+, 5.11+, 5.10+, 5,10, 5.10, summit, beer (we wished), pipeloads.

One 1/4" bolt on pitch 4, easily pulled and replaced on lead from the comfy stance.
A few FP's.

Cardiff by the sea
Dec 11, 2007 - 08:42pm PT
Great pictures Tarbuster !!

right here, right now
Dec 11, 2007 - 09:01pm PT
I was self conscious about lackin' a kuhboy hat, so I went with the hair.

Luv you too, KathSweetThingBrockdadFromtheWayBack&CominAtchaNOWBabe.

Trad climber
Hollywood, CA
Dec 11, 2007 - 11:27pm PT
Great pics Tar!!

I've always been curious about the place but it's about as secret as the Fight Club in some climbing circles. Now that the cat's outta the bag, great to see the pics and stories coming out. I mean, it's no secret it exists and it's not going to be overrun by climbers all of the sudden.

Trad climber
San Diego CA
Dec 12, 2007 - 12:01am PT
I really don't get all the secrecy/conspiracy reputation. Dan Curly (many 1st's) and others are glad to share. People just resisted the full on formal guidebook treatment as it would very likely change the flavor of the place. True, it's tough if you don't happen to know the right people, but please don't think us a bunch of 'locals only' snots. I would share if I could, but I was mostly a tag-a-long with a bad memory! Brad
Juan Maderita

Trad climber
San Diego, CA
Dec 12, 2007 - 04:11am PT
BeeHay has it right. The area is not a secret and never has been.

In the mid 70s, the developers recognized that publishing would harm this wilderness and the unique opportunity for adventure which is so accessible to a large metropolitan area. We made a pact to keep it out of the mags and have a "no guidebook" policy. Dan C. and I kept notes for historical archives.

Every year, I receive several requests for beta. I'm happy to share just enough so that others will have a safe, yet adventurous, trip.

Mountain climber
descanso, ca
Dec 12, 2007 - 10:18am PT
threats of violence and legal action have been used to squash any attempts at publishing a guidebook.

Trad climber
Dec 12, 2007 - 11:12am PT
The very few times I have been there the locals have always requested I don't post stuff over the internet, such as MAPS, topo's, etc. They are fine with people coming its is just that they would rather it be a word-of-mouth type thing. The more popularity the place receives the more likely you are to have crime, trash, etc.


Dec 12, 2007 - 11:21am PT
Travelin.... Are the locals you are talking about the people who actually live in that area, or are they the "locals" that cross an international border to climb there?
Just curious.
Bob J.

'cross the great divide
Dec 12, 2007 - 12:18pm PT
In all fairness to those who favor keeping an area as magnificent as Trono a secret, I'm not sure that I would feel any different if I were in that position. Unfortunately, as more people visit a pristine area, the more the area changes. Fortunately, this is a difficult area to get to which provides some protection from the masses.

Not all of the rock is perfect at Trono. We did some cragging on some very grainy rock, similar to JTree; pull out a handjam and some grains of rock are stuck into the back of your hand. However, given the overall setting, I would describe the cragging as brilliant. Getting to the base of El Gran Trono Blanco is an adventure in and of itself.

Trad climber
Dec 12, 2007 - 01:46pm PT

I speak of Mexican residents who reside in TJ, Ensenada, Mexicalli. Simply put, they don't want the place overrun. The feeling has got to be mutual with Americans who put up the routes, as well. You sure don't see the their topos, maps, etc. on the web. Based on my limited experience with the area it seems that anyone can enjoy it, you just have to ask for the info through the correct channels. IMO, a perfect way to keep things "low key".
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