Wheel into the Gorge

Rock Climbing at Wheeler Gorge

Written by: Geneva Damico
Photography by: Sean Naugle

Wheeler Gorge, located on Highway 33 near Ojai, Ca is a great local crag, short drive from Ventura. Full of mild to moderate sport climbs it is easily accessible with a fairly quick approach involving a little bit of rock hopping through the creek or a risky sprint through a tunnel and down the hillside trail. We had anticipated the weather to be hot with the possibility of a quick dip in a nearby swimming hole but when we arrived we immediately realized the icy wind and dominating shadows would keep us chilly enough. It is definitely a great spot to stay cool in the summer.

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This was the perfect place to introduce our friend, Jae, to outdoor rope climbing. Leaving the rope gunning to the Naugle brother’s we enjoyed a full day of fun routes ranging from 5.8 cobblestone to 5.11a sandstone. While the dogs somewhat entertained themselves with wilderness we took our time setting up routes, enjoying the day with each other, without cell phone distractions or agendas.

Rock climbing is always fun but sharing the skill with someone new to the sport makes it even better. Jae had been bouldering a few times and was recently inspired to invest in a new pair of climbing shoes. When Sean invited him to come sport climbing he was all for it. With a little introduction to gear and safety Jae was on his way to the top. I will never forget how my first time making it to the top of a route felt. Sharing that experience with others is definitely just as rewarding.

We climbed right up to sundown wishing we had just a few more moments of light. I finished up the last route then we hastily packed up our gear trying to beat dark. Wheeler Gorge, which is quickly becoming our new favorite climbing destination while living in Ventura, provided a beautiful, peaceful and exciting day.

Where we climbed: http://www.mountainproject.com/v/wheeler-gorge/105796881

Where to camp: http://www.recreation.gov/camping/wheeler-gorge/r/campgroundBookingWindow.do?contractCode=NRSO&parkId=70392

Where we ate after our long day: http://www.naturesgrillventura.com/

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