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Boyden Cave Wall, Magic Mountain Marble Majesty

When you're driving toward Kings Canyon, there are some giant marble buttresses on the left side of the road, but you have to cross the Kings River to get to them. In the case of Boyden Cave Wall, near the popular Boyden Cavern in Giant Sequoia National Monument, I was pleased to find a southeast-facing expanse of climbable marble on the road side of the river, away from the tourists.

On October 2, Neal Harder and I completed Magic Mountain Marble Majesty (8 pitches, 5.11a), the first route on the Boyden Cave Wall. This route ascends over 1,000' of solid and uniquely featured marble, with bolts and some traditional protection, climbing features rarely found in California, more akin to those found on European limestone. Chris LaBounty and I had established the first half of this route in 2014, but a fire kept this area closed until 2016.

The recommended rack includes a single set of cams from small to number three, plus extras from 0.5 to 1. The route is set up for double-rope rappels from the top of the seventh pitch; we downclimbed the relatively low-angle eighth pitch. The road into the area is generally open from May until mid-November.

– Brandon Thau