Discovery Wall
The Anvil 2x
The Carousel
Scout Peak 3x CC
Beak Peak

Thu, Dec 20, 2018

With: Jackie Burd
Ryan Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
Discovery Wall later climbed Sun, Mar 24, 2019
The Anvil previously climbed Sat, Sep 15, 2018
Scout Peak previously climbed Sun, Mar 11, 2012

I took the kids out to Pinnacles NP for a day of rock climbing and scrambling. Ryan mostly wanted to go to do a long run in the park. He had intended to join us for rock climbing until he needed to break away for his run, but it didn't work out that way. It was 36F when we got to the Bear Creek Picnic area on the east side shortly before 8a. Jackie and I decided that was too cold to rock climb, so we suggested Ryan go running first. While he did so, Jackie and I sat in the jeep, she sleeping, myself playing games on my phone. He came back in a sweat around 9:30a, after which we got our act together and went off to do some climbing.

Video by Jackie

Discovery Wall (Portent)

Our main objective was to climb the highly rated route, Portent. This 5.6 route is fairly popular and we didn't want to wait around for a party of three to finish on our first visit. Today there were no competitors, and the only other climbers we'd see before we were done were doing the also-popular 5.8 route nearby, Wet Kiss. In his book, Climber's Guide to Pinnacles National Monument, David Rubine suggests the route is best climbed as two pitches. There are two sets of belay bolts along the route and we ended up doing it as three short pitches. This made it very easy for us to communicate with each other, less rope drag, and a more relaxed experience. Jackie chose to take the lead, the crux coming at the very beginning with a stiff crack up a near-vertical 10-foot face. After that the climbing becomes more relaxed with good holds up to the first belay station. We tied Ryan into the middle of the rope and sent him up second and cleaning the few pieces of gear sister had placed, myself batting last in the lineup. The second pitch is mostly easy with a small bulge to get over, fairly tame. The third pitch is a little steeper but has big, juggy holds that make it pretty fun and easy. We were about an hour and a quarter to get the three of us to the top where another two-bolt anchor makes things fairly easy. I gave them the option of rapping back down the route (since there was no one waiting to get on it) or walking back. Jackie spoke up quickly and opted for the walk (while I was secretly hoping for the rap), so we packed up what we could (we had the one pack I'd carried, the others had left theirs at the bottom) and headed back down. They were a bit handicapped by having to wear their climbing shoes for the half mile walk back. I had climbed in my hiking shoes (Ryan was wearing my rock shoes) so I was happy to have the tables turned in my favor now. After retrieving our packs, we packed everything up and headed off up the High Peaks Trail.


These are a collection of minor climbing objectives along the High Peaks Trail between Discovery Wall and the High Peaks area. Jackie and I had done The Anvil, a short 5.1X right off the trail on a previous visit. She sat it out this time while Ryan and I went up and down. We then took the short climbers trail out to The Carousel where Jackie led us around to the 5.0 route on the back (south) side. A low-angle slab route, it was the first indication we had that Jackie wasn't too happy about these unroped slab scrambles. With some coaching and coaxing from her dad and brother, she eventually made her way back down. I went over to climb what I thought was a formation called "Mushroom Cloud" nearby, but I didn't go far enough to get to the right pinnacle. Perhaps next time. The one I did climb was closer to the Carousel and looked somewhat mushroom-like. I couldn't scramble up to it directly, but by summiting a slightly lower pinnacle next to it, I could jump across to the other and then back again.

Scout Peak

We continued our march up the High Peaks Trail to the very top where the trail junction is located near a restroom. We were initially looking for Beak Peak, but failing to find it after a search, we settled on the more easily located Scout Peak, the highest in this portion of the High Peaks. I had climbed it on a previous occasion with Adam, so I had a pretty good idea where to find a climbing route, even if it wasn't the one we were looking for. After some ups and downs along the ledges at the base of the feature, we found the chimney marking the start of the Leonard-Horsfall Route, class 5.3. Once again, Jackie took the lead on this one, finding a bolt to clip about 25' up the chimney, then a piton hammered into a crack above this to the right. She had some trouble with her anchor once she was on top. A small holly bush was directly in the way of the rope and was causing considerable drag and keeping her from being able to pull the rope up. Eventually she relocated her belay to the bush, using the 1.5" main trunk as the anchor. She then belayed Ryan and myself up in turn, much like we'd done earlier. The rope length wasn't twice the length of the climb, so that Ryan was tied in after the halfway point on the rope. To keep from requiring them to throw the rope back down, I just started up when the rope ran out, climbing halfway up the chimney while Ryan was finishing at the top. Once the three of us had topped out, I coiled the rope while we moved to the north end of the feature, some non-trivial scrambling to reach the rap chains on that end. Jackie went down first, followed by Ryan, myself going last, the rope easily reaching the bottom with 10-20ft to spare. After returning to our starting point at the end of the ledges on the south side, we packed up our gear once more.

Beak Peak

From the summit of Scout Peak I was able to discern more readily the location of Beak Peak. Rubine says it is east of Scout Peak which is technically true, but it's as much to the south and would better be described as southeast. Adding further confusion, the guidebook describes it as the second-to-last big outcrop to the east. The map in the book oversimplifies the topography and the photo referenced on page 78 is virtually worthless. This is my roundabout way of blaming the guidebook author for my own failings. We spent some time descending from Scout Peak down to where this collection of rock outcrops are found. We ended climbing two of them, both having similar class 3 routes on the west side. Jackie joined us for the first one which made her more than a little nervous. Even though she enjoyed the summit photos on that one, she decided she'd had enough for the second one which I believe was Beak Peak (it had a set of rap chains on the summit). She napped while Ryan and I carefully made our way up the knobby west side, sloped at a low enough angle to keep it class 3, but with enough awkward parts to keep us from racing up and back. When we were back down and had shouldered our packs, I led the three of us around the south side of Beak Peak to reach the High Peaks trail well below the upper switchbacks but perhaps not saving much time. The cross-country wasn't horribly brushy, but there some steep sections and slippery places, one of which resulted in Jackie taking a quick fall. She limped her way back down the trail to the parking lot, none too happy with dad's choice of routes at that time. Chicken nuggets from McDs in Hollister cheered her up nicely as did the nap she took on the hour-long ride to get there. Good times...

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