Storms Destroy Bouldering Paradise

By Dougald MacDonald ,

Texas Flake.Photos courtesy of Bob Banks.

The torrential winter rains in Southern California have washed away one of the nation’s best boulder gardens: the Tar Creek, a.k.a. Swimming Hole, bouldering area. The creekside sandstone boulders near Fillmore, Calif., once held around 250 problems, but the storm-swollen stream, carrying mud and debris from fire-ravaged hillsides, overturned, broke up, or simply swept away dozens of boulders during December and January. Widely traveled boulderer Wills Young said, “This was my favorite bouldering area for many years, and I have very fond memories of the place with it’s incredibly smooth sloper problems. One of the best problems I’ve ever seen—Magic Johnson—was there, but there must have been at least two dozen problems that were truly world-class.” Local climbers revisited the area in early February to survey the damage and establish several new problems. But most of the bouldering, as well as the scenic beauty of the area, has been ruined. Visit for more details and photos of the damage.

No more Texas Flake.Photos courtesy of Bob Banks.

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