Burst Rock

“Lincoln Lake but better” is what I was told when my friends became aware of and visited an area known as Burst Rock near Sonora Pass. I was pretty skeptical about it until they brought me to see the area the following weekend.

Anthony Allopenna is a local climber from Twain Harte, California and has two blogs, SONORA PASS BOULDERING and  CONFIDENCE CLIMBING (the new version of Sonora Pass Bouldering). It was through these two blogs that my friends discovered Burst Rock. The area had been explored by Anthony Allopenna and a crew of local climbers who developed a few of the boulders but it remains mostly undeveloped.

Realizing the potential of the area my friends traveled there a few weekends ago to explore and develop. They managed to put up a highball that they renamed “Sweet Sixteen” (7B+) as well as clean and try a few other hard lines they found at Burst Rock. According to Anthony’s blog, Sonora Pass Bouldering, the climb was first done as a drop off at a rail midway up and named “The Orange Julius”. Sweet Sixteen is probably the best line at Burst Rock and a four or five star line by all accounts. Major respect to my friends for topping out this beautiful line and  making this great contribution to the area.

The following weekend I had the privilege to visit Burst Rock with them.

We hiked 20 minutes up hill and arrived at the top of a ridge. This was my first glimpse of the area.

The talus field at Burst Rock is huge and most of the blocks are very tall (20 feet) with rocky landings. Luckily, there was a lot of snow and the landings were a lot safer and less intimidating on the very tall climbs.

One of the best boulders at Burst Rock. There are many lines on it and most of them are very hard and undone as of now.

"Sweet Sixteen" (7B+). The boulder is at least 20-25 feet tall. My first time here there was a nice snowy landing but this is not the case anymore. Snow melt has left an exposed rocky landing at the base of the wall and many pads and spotters are needed now.

Josh Newman attempting an undone line in the middle of the boulder, likely a 8A+/8B. Although much taller, this wall is not unlike the Dali Wall in Mt. Evans, CO in quality of rock.

Vitaly Volberg getting the FA on a line that finishes on the right side of the boulder that he named "Semi Sweet" (7C).

"Semi Sweet"

"Semi Sweet"

Alpine granite crimp.

Crimp porn.

Vitaly also cleaned and got the FA of this line on the east side of the talus field which he named "Envy" (6C+/7A). The climb is taller than it looks, especially now that the snow has melted. It climbs a line of juggy huecos to the arete and up and is probably 20 feet tall.

Although I didn’t climb much my first time at Burst Rock I was very impressed by the area and the amount of rock that it holds. All of us were excited to return. There was still a lot of snow in the talus field and we were curious what more would be revealed by a little snowmelt.

A view looking south west from the talus field.

The Southwest rim.

A view of the South rim and the descent.

On his blog Anthony says “I really hope this sparks something in the climbing community…if you want to stoke up your local climbing community do something to get people there and promote responsible activity in your area.” I am really grateful that I got to see this area and that Anthony is excited to share this place with the rest of the community. I know that some climbers like to keep their local spots to themselves and sometimes they never reveal the area at all even after they have sent most of the climbs. I don’t see the point. Everyone should be able to enjoy a climbing area as long as they act responsibly and respect the rock and the environment (and I think most climbers do).

Two weeks later we returned to Burst Rock with a larger, stronger crew. A lot of the snow had melted revealing more boulders and making some landings a bit spooky.

Ethan Pringle pausing to take in the view before hiking into the talus field at Burst Rock this weekend.

Max working Skype.

Brian Hedrick working Skype.





Max Zolotukhin on the FA of Skype (7C+).

Max Zolotukhin on the FA of Skype (7C+).

Max Zolotukhin on the FA of Skype (7C+).

Max Zolotukhin on the FA of Skype (7C+).

Max Zolotukhin on the FA of Skype (7C+).

Max Zolotukhin on the FA of Skype (7C+).

A line that I cleaned and tried. Starts in a cave and follows a crimp rail for about 18 feet before topping out. Probably around 7B+ and would be a better line if it wasn't so dabby.


A beautiful stream/mosquito breeding ground near the project.

Max Zolotukhin with a near send of the project. Probably somewhere around 8A+ (Ethan says Rocklands 8B, haha!).





Just before falling in the very last move on the project, nearly an FA.

Ethan Pringle enjoying Burst Rock developing.

Brian Hedrick also enjoying Burst Rock.

Ethan Pringle trying the project.

The first move with Ethan's beta.

Ethan Pringle on the project. He got close to sending as well.

A moderate 25 foot highball that I FA'd. It climbs up the smooth grey face before trending out right to the arete at the top.


A bumble bee's favorite flower.

Small flowers near the stream.

Sunset from the top of the rim on the hike out.

Overall the crew has spent five or six days developing at Burst Rock. While I don’t think it’s better than Lincoln Lake I do think it’s a good Summer area and we are looking forward to returning for more. The area holds a lot of rock and seems to have a lot of potential but most of the climbing is highball with a bad rocky landings. Many pads and spotters are needed. There aren’t really a lot of established climbs yet so anyone who wants to climb here should be ready to do some developing and mostly a lot of hiking and exploring (Also…it’s mosquito season here so bring mosquito coils/repellant. It’s about 75 degrees during the day, not ideal but very nice in the shade).



STAY TUNED for video and more photos to come.




2 responses to “Burst Rock

  1. The caption under my pick should say ‘Ethan Pringle enjoying a brief, .25 second lul in the onslaught after swatting and killing his 137th mosquito of the weekend’.

  2. Pingback: News & Notes – 8/17/2011 | Climbing Narcissist·

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