Lizards Mouth Rock 2x

Feb 19, 2020

With: Jackie Burd

Story Photos / Slideshow Map GPX
previously climbed Apr 1, 2018

On our way back from Las Vegas, my wife and I stopped in Santa Barbara for a day to visit with our daughter at school there. It's not exactly on the way home to San Jose, but it was an easy excuse to drop in and spend time with her. Mom wanted to do some errands in the morning, so told me to take Jackie for a hike. It wasn't much of a hike, but a fun bit of rock-craft that we enjoyed a good deal. We'd been to Lizards Mouth Rock two years earlier without knowing much about it. It lies in the Santa Ynez Mtns above Santa Barbara, to the west of SR154, along West Camino Cielo Rd. There is a sandstone formation garden one walks through, about a quarter mile from the trailhead to reach this sandstone feature to the west. It is easy to see how the name came about, as it fairly represents a lizard with its mouth agape. Getting to the top is an easy walk up. At the base on the northwest side is an open-faced cave with lots of pockets that help make this a popular bouldering area (a couple came up to do just this as we were playing around with our ropes). Above this cave is a smaller cave that forms the lizard's mouth, and it was this that had caught our attention on the first visit. Can one get into the mouth? It appears that it might be possible to downclimb the short distance from the top, but probably class 5. I only had a single harness with me and not much gear at all, so we decided to set up a rappel to drop into the cave, no real climbing necessary. Jackie went in first, then tossed the harness down to me. I was going to repeat the same rappel, but then decided it might be fun to try prussiking up instead. This of course took more time, but was good fun, with about 25ft of free-hanging before going over a lip just below the upper cave. After joining Jackie in the mouth I rappeled back down, tossed the harness up to her, and she came down in turn. For one last exercise, I had Jackie practice the prussiking herself which she did much faster than dad thanks to her greater flexibility. She struggled a bit more getting past the lip, but eventually figured it out. She then decided to continue up to the top rather than rappel back down, dad just managing to get back up for a picture as she was coming over the upper edge. We then packed up and headed back, a little over an hour and a half for the whole exercise. Good times.

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