Mountain Bike Rides in the Kern River Valley and Southern Sierra New Directions Cliffs


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Several sport climbing routes above the river near Kernville.

New Directions Cliffs & Cable Rapid
The New Directions Cliffs just north of Kernville.

  • Sport and Trad Climbing
  • 5.7 to 5.13
  • 5 miles north of Kernville.
  • Best in Fall/Winter/Spring


A nice place to hangout
Not a bad spot to hang out.


Close to Kernville and offering a ton of climbing routes, New Directions is one of the great non-summer choices for rock climbers. While many routes are described in the guidebooks, several new routes have been added in the area.

How to find it

From Sierra Gateway Market in Kernville, drive north on Mtn 99 for about 5.4 miles. The parking is in a small dirt turnout to the right. Pass Kern Slabs/Kernville Rock, and park before reaching Chico Flat. A felled tree near a boulder and telephone poles marks the spot. A couple cairned trails climb steeply to the crags.

New Directions Directions

A Guide to "Kernville Rock Climbs" by Herb Laeger is available online and at Sierra South & Riverside One-Stopin Kernville. Buying this guide also helps support the replacement of old bolts and anchors in the Kern River area.

Many of the routes are also described in the older guidebook: Southern Sierra Rock Climbing: The Needles. The more recent guidebook,California Road Trip: A Climber's Guide Northern California, also has information on New Directions. Mountain River Adventures in Kernville guides here and other locations.

New Directions Cliff

Herb on 7 Draw
Herb Laeger on 7 Draws, 5.8 on the end of the New Directions Cliff. See an animated gif of the route here.

Climbing NoWhere Man photo
Mark Krebs leading Nowhere Man, 5.10, on the New Directions Cliff. More photos of this route here.

Climbing Rusty Nail Photo
Above: On Rusty Nail/Garden Party variation, 5.7. Some of the easiest climbing on New Directions.
Rusty Nail PhotoClimbing Rusty Nail to the lower Garden Party Belay. 7 Draw is on left. Breadsticks 5.11 on friction slab below right. Upper Rusty Nail 5.8 is above, and Bootlegger 5.10c/d is upper climber left.

Middle Cliff

Along with a few original bolted routes, some fun new lines have been added. On the right of the wall are Surfers Route and Fun, Easy Route, rated 5.7/5.8, although they feel more like 5.8/5.9. Two difficult routes are just over to the left of these; Argentum and Platinum. Even further left are two new routes: Heckler 5.11 and Kernville Choppers 5.10b from Herb Laeger and Mark Krebs.

Southern end of Middle Cliff
Above: The southern end of the Middle
Cliff with climber on Fun, Easy Route.

Right: Climbing Kernville Choppers,5.10b.

Kernville Choppers













Herb Laeger on The Heckler
Herb Laeger in the crux of the
Heckler, 5.11.
 Heckler on Middle Cliff
Approaching the roof on The Heckler.

Parking Lot Rock

Some new routes with some originals, like Hair of the Dog crack, close to the parking area.

More information coming!

Heart Rock

Great climbing on some of the classics in the area.

More information coming!

Nearby Climbing

Dont Get Lost!
Kernville Adventure Map

This climbing spot,and several more, are depicted on the local adventure map:

Buy Locally

Map Details