This past Saturday was near perfect. After a stressful week full of selling and packing, I was happy that Dan and a couple of guys from work, Austin and Jeff, had planned a morning of climbing on the beach. It was the perfect way to start our weekend and get us out of the clutter of our apartment!
Dan and his friend Austin started doing indoor rock climbing and bouldering sometime early in 2014 and it has been his favorite activity since. I joined the gym along with them and used to climb every other Saturday or so, although that tapered off over time. My favorite is climbing via top-rope, where someone belays you as you climb in a harness, but Dan has gained the most strength and stamina from bouldering. In bouldering you "send" a route (completely ascend) using your hands, feet, and strength alone. This is something my absence of upper body strength has permitted me from doing successfully, but Dan and Austin hang, climb, and jump all over those bouldering walls as though they must only weigh 10 pounds. It takes a lot of practice and is a lot harder and more technical than it looks.
Pirate's Cove Beach is a popular bouldering spot in Orange County, located just north of the main beach in Corona del Mar (between Laguna and Newport.) These beaches don't technically face the ocean, but instead align the eastern side of the mouth of Newport Bay, opposite the Balboa Peninsula. We scrambled down the rocks to a steep staircase and the three guys laced up their climbing shoes. No, I didn't join them in their activity... I was just there for the fresh ocean breeze and to enjoy my morning in the sand, snapping photos from my beach towel. It wasn't too crowded until closer to 11am.
Here's how to find this
GPS to 2804 Ocean Blvd, Corona del Mar, CA. (This is not an actual building address, just a midpoint in the street there where you can start looking for a place to park.) Walk towards the ocean and go left along with Ocean Blvd. At the intersection of Heliotrope Ave you will see stairs leading down to Corona del Mar beach with a large outcropping of rocks to the right. Head down towards the beach and then find your way to the top of this rock formation. There are stairs leading down the other side and onto Pirate's Cove beach. Bathrooms are available back over on the CdM Beach side.
Here is a great video by Brad Alexander on Vimeo of some climbers bouldering around the Pirate's Cove cliffs, and here is some technical info from WikiBoulder.