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Indian Joe Caves


Bay Area, California USA


Trip Report
Indian Joe Caves, Sunol Regional Wilderness
Saturday April 6, 2013 10:16pm
I took a quick jaunt to Indian Joe Caves today and enjoyed it so much I thought I'd share. Sunol Regional Wilderness is definitely my favorite Bay Area park. Not only does it have a cool canyon
Me scrambling Little Yosemite on an earlier adventure
Me scrambling Little Yosemite on an earlier adventure
Credit: PeterC
(called Little Yosemite) you can do in 1 hr car-to-car, but it has climbing on rock that doesn't dissolve whenever it gets wet like the sandstone found in the rest of the Bay Area.

The caves are really just pockets between huge boulders which are inexplicably perched in the middle of a grassy hill.
Indian Joe Caves - what's not to love?
Indian Joe Caves - what's not to love?
Credit: PeterC
It takes ~1/2 hr to hike from the parking lot to the crag. I've only brought a rope to the crag once and found the roped climbing kind of awkward to set up and not that great. But there are some great 5.easy chimneys to solo
A nice chimney which finishes up with a finger crack!
A nice chimney which finishes up with a finger crack!
Credit: PeterC
and just cruising around on the rock is fun. I think I like it because the climbing feels more like Yosemite than the local sandstone areas.
Hello pretty crack. I think I'll climb you now.
Hello pretty crack. I think I'll climb you now.
Credit: PeterC
I probably wouldn't drive from the Valley to climb here, but if you happen to be in the area and have a few hours it's well worth the effort. Instead of following the trail back I followed the drainage; this ended up being a nice little adventure in its own right (though I'm off to a tecnu shower now).
Scrambling down the creekbed on the way out.
Scrambling down the creekbed on the way out.
Credit: PeterC

  Trip Report Views: 993
PeterC
About the Author
PeterC is a trad climber from CA.

Comments
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Captain...or Skully

climber
  Apr 7, 2013 - 09:11am PT
Used to go there all the time, man.
Well, 20+ years ago....another Life.
Cheers!
Big Mike

Trad climber
BC
  Apr 7, 2013 - 01:22am PT
Cool! Thanks! I live checking out spots on here! Sweet pics!
Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
  Apr 7, 2013 - 04:12am PT
Last time I was In Sunol RP was in 1983 with my ex and a school friend and his wife.

Didn't climb.

Last time I climbed there was probably around 1975.

It is a beautiful place, or at least used to be, don't know now.
Reeotch

climber
4 Corners Area
  Apr 7, 2013 - 07:31am PT
Yeah man, Sunol and Mt. Diablo were my first climbing areas. We used to set up topropes at Indian Joe Caves, and bouldering, too.

Be careful out there. One time, I was about to make a big move to a nice little shelf. I saw the rattlesnake just in time. That place is prime snake habitat.
mouse from merced

Trad climber
The finger of fate, my friends, is fickle.
  Apr 7, 2013 - 04:28pm PT
Had a friendly customer, Carrol Holthaus, who told me of Sunol in the shop back in '74. He was all about aid, aggressively so. I didn't bother climbing with him.

I'm sorry now I never got out there. Looks delightful.

Thanks for the tour.
Ed Hartouni

Trad climber
Livermore, CA
  Apr 7, 2013 - 04:36pm PT
nice low key local TR PeterC!
from time to time I'm out there... maybe with the SRG/VR closure it will be more of a summer evening local... and we can hit Gary's wide crack on the way back!

Patrick Sawyer

climber
Originally California now Ireland
  Apr 7, 2013 - 04:57pm PT
Reeotch, I have climbed there a number of times (I too started out on Diablo in 1969), never saw any buzzwords, but I am sure they are there in Sunol. Certainly on Diablo, believe me.
Clint Cummins

Trad climber
SF Bay area, CA
  Apr 7, 2013 - 04:58pm PT
I went there once - not bad to explore.
Given the short rocks, approach time and poison oak, though, I'd rather go to Pinnacles for a day trip.
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