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Climb Cracks at the Gianelli Edges

Tuolumne County, California


Route Type



Added by Samantha Weald

Interested in a local Bay Area climb without the Tahoe crowds or the Yosemite drive? Discover Sonora Pass!

We first found the Gianelli Edges mentioned in the Climbers Guide to the Sonora Pass Highway. A short 2.5-3 hour drive from our place in Oakland, it's a great spot for a quick single day or overnight climbing excursion. Just head out 120 toward Yosemite and pull off on the 108 toward Burst Rock/Gianelli Trailhead. 

We usually pull off on Crabtree Lane on Friday nights to camp, then get up and drive the rest of the forest service road up to the parking lot in the morning. You'll pass a horse farm before finally doing the rest of the drive on a dirt road (about 30 minutes or so). We drive a Subaru Impreza and have pretty low clearance, but we've always been fine on the dirt roads.

Hike in
Ryan and I really have a way of getting lost the first time or two that we visit anywhere, and this was no exception. Take the main trail (Burst Rock) from the parking area for about 10-15 minutes until you see a clearing to the left. There's a small climbers trail that goes between two trees before winding down the hillside toward "the meadow" then finally popping you out on the cliffside of the Gianelli Edges & specifically, Genesis (see main pic above with the bolted anchor). If you can't see multiple bolted anchors, you're in the wrong place. The guidebook has pretty clear instructions once you know where you're going ;) 

Crowds? No way
Our first time in the area, we ran into only one other couple climbing. And they said they lived in Sonora and climbed out there pretty often and had seen other people 1 or 2 times total. In all our times out there, I think we've seen 3 groups other than ours. So definitely a way different and more remote experience than being in Tahoe.

We have climbed a few different spots in the area. It's mostly bolted anchors for single pitch top roping, but can also be a great spot to practice your trad leading. Ryan especially loves it because all the rock features are full of cracks =) 

  • Option 1: Genesis. This is one of the main climbing walls, which you come out on top of from the trail. Below the cliff face there are about 8 different top-ropeable routes ranging from 5.5 to 5.10 with a 5.11a thrown in. 
  • Option 2: Start Up. Located just behind the top of Genesis, the start up is a little 3-route area (5.5, 5.7, 5.9) great for a warm up. The 5.5 was a gear lead to setup the TR and the rest we climbed from there! 
  • Option 3: make it up! We've also completely left the guidebook behind and just climbed whatever cracks we saw that looked interesting with our trad gear. I encourage you to do the same!

For more beta about Sonora and probably much better descriptions of the routes, check out the guidebook =) 

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