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I have a few questions concerning bouldering in California (Mickey's beach and Castle rock) during the month of August. We have two crash pads and a guide book for bouldering in the area. I have had experience bouldering outside at a number of places (Swede's forest, Taylor's falls, and Cooper's rock, to name a few).

  1. Should we bring bug spray?
  2. How can we avoid the heat?
  3. Do you have any general tips? Like do these areas have any special things we should look out for?
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Bug Spray:
Unless you're backpacking in and are extremely weight conscious of how much you're carrying, if you think you might need bug spray, why wouldn't you bring it? Better to have it and not need it then the other way around.

How to stay cool when climbing:
Wake up early and climb from sunrise until it gets hot. Then, take a break through the heat of the afternoon and start climbing again in the early evening.
Hydrate often and hydrate a lot. Sweating will keep you cool up until you hit dehydration (to a point of course). Dehydration is not a fun thing to pair with climbing or the great outdoors.

General Tips:
Make sure a couple of your friends and family members know where you are on this trip and when to expect you back. Have a backup plan in place in case one of you is injured bouldering (how will you get home with a sprained ankle or broken wrist?).
Also, if you plan on trying some really challenging problems, I would recommend bringing a crash pad with you. It could save you some pretty hard landings and let you climb more difficult routes in a much safer way.

Biggest Tip: Bring someone with you who knows the area. Having a resident pro can be invaluable.

  • Thank you for your answer. These are all great points. We will make sure to bring two crash pads and lots of water. – Khalid Bou-Rabee Jul 30 '14 at 20:46
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We didn't go to Mickey's beach, but we did boulder at Castle Rock and the Berkeley area. Hindsight is 20/20:

  1. Yes, if you're bouldering near Castle Rock. There were TONS of bugs there and they love to bite your face. No, if you're bouldering in the Berkeley area. I would guess the answer is also no for Mickey's beach.

  2. Climb in the early morning and late afternoon. It's rather pleasant then, especially in the Berkeley area. Castle Rock was overly humid and hot, so I'd advise against climbing there or around the south bay area in the summer.

  3. Some tips:

    • If you're climbing in the Berkeley area make sure you pee before you head out. We couldn't find a place to relieve ourselves around the park that wasn't public.
    • Bring as many crash pads as you can. Some of the classic routes have terrible fall zones.
    • If you find yourself in the Berkeley area and you're hungry, Lama Beans has all day breakfast :)

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