Guidebooks
photo© Greg Epperson

Recommended Routes

Planning your weekend climbs? Want to know about Joshua Treeís best climbs?

Well, here they are. This list was taken from three sources:

Randy Vogelís ***** routes
    (his maximum star rating)

Al Bartlettís *** routes
    (his maximum star rating)

New routes, which I find awesome

Keep in mind that just because a climb has stars, it doesnít mean that itís safe or has good protection. Also, star ratings are all very subjective. One manís classic is another manís pile. This is an attempt to provide you with a selection of Joshua Treeís best climbs, and information about them.

  Randy Vogel's ***** Classics 

Randy Vogel did not give out many dick-wrenching mega classics, none under 5.10b. Here's his list of the best of the best, and my jaded biased comments on these 5 star routes.

Caught Outside on a Big Set, 5.10b
This is a very good climb in an out of the way location. The first ascent of this route is supposedly by Dave Evans and company, but it's possible that this line was first climbed by Herb Laegar and company before Dave's ascent. Five stars? Probably not, but it's a good one and strenuous, too. While you're at the Bighorn Mating Grotto, also check out Dangling Woo Li, Book of Changes, and Morning Thunder
Figures on a Landscape, 5.10b
It's reputation as an excellent yet scary climb is well deserved. I personally think this climb rules, and the climbing positions and challenges make this a high quality experience. This is a heads-up, scary climb to lead and not for the wimpy or faint of heart. The original hanging belay has been moved to the right, which is a good thing. Now you make the crux (and sort of run-out moves) at the end of the pitch, rather than right off the belay. Also, there was talk that the original belay was in less than sound rock, which was not a comforting thought. I have heard of getting hurt on this climb (broken ankles), falling down low on the first pitch. I've personally taken the crux fall and survived unscathed. Even Dave Evans, first ascentionist, has taken the whipper at the crux on a repeat ascent of his own route.

Finger strength and a long reach seem to be a plus, not to mention confidence, good footwork, and a cool head. It is often cold and windy at the North Astrodome, which would make a committing, difficult , climb even harder. Even with the 5 stars, stellar reputation, and relatively mellow approach, this climb is rarely one you have to wait in line for. It has been free soloed before (Dan Michaels) and has been on the cover of Mountain Magazine. Reading this information about the climb might tend to scare one off, but if you are solid at 5.10, it's the real deal and worthy of it's 5 star quality rating.

Illusion Dweller, 5.10b
Illusion Dweller
photo© Greg Epperson
This is one of the best routes in the park, and a must do for the local hopeful. The protection is excellent, and the climb has some length to it (for a single pitch climb). Bring enough gear, so as not to run out. If you are shy of gear, I've seen people belay near the top, just before the steep crux, and make the climb a 2 pitch route. John Yablonski did an on-site free solo of the route, which was very committing given the sequential and somewhat tricky and strenuous crux.

This climb has a lot of jamming (finger, hand, and fist). Some of the jamming is strenuous, but there are many rests or half rests along the way. I've heard the climb called everything from 5.10a to 5.10+. I've also heard people say the crux is at the bottom, but I beleive the top moves are the hardest. This climb is easily approached, gets afternoon sun (at least the top part of the route does) and has a bolted anchor from which to belay. It can be crowded, especially on the weekends, and struggling climbers can take awhile on this long pitch.

 

Treasure of the Sierra Madre, 5.10+
This is a very good climb in a secluded, out of the way spot. It is never crowded and it's not without it's quirks. The approach is long by Joshua Tree standards, and up a big hill as well. The first bolt is a way off the deck with a not-so-happy landing, so don't even think about falling before the first bolt is clipped.

There is a fixed piton on the route which may or may not be reliable and the top moves are funky, confusing, and a bit run out. I know this doesn't sound like a 5 star climb, and maybe it's not; but, it's good, and if you are solid at 5.10, go give it a whirl and you be the judge. Not my favorite of the 5 star routes.

Gravity Waves, 5.11a 
This climb is one out of three 5 star 5.11a routes, and when I went to climb it, I was disappointed. Here's what I found (maybe you had a different experience? Email me please). First of all, the climb seemed way harder than 5.11a, the bolts seemed too far away, and the climb was beyond our abilities. Maybe holds have broken off, or there was some mistake about the 5 star rating...I don't know. Maybe I just suck can't and climb worth a damn. My suggestion is to go somewhere else. It's a long approach to get denied on a sandbag.
White Rain, 5.11a 
Walt Shipley's masterpiece climb, White Rain, gets great reviews from people who do the long approach to this classic route. It's way up on Queen Mountain in a very isolated and beautiful wild area. I have not climbed this route (yet) and am probably not up for the lead. I understand it is quite scary and considered run-out for all but the superheroes. For strong, talented, confident leaders, I heard it's a good a climb as any. Peter Croft raves about it. I also hear that the really hard moves have protection, but there are still moves away from the bolts. There are also supposedly some excellent, previously unreported routes nearby.
Such a Savage, 5.11a 
This is an excellent and awesome climb, one of the best in the park, and a true Josh classic. It's well-protected and short crux won't stop you, and the climbing is steep, exciting, airy, and in a wonderful location. The only problem with the climb is that first damn bolt is up awful high, and the slippery, slabby moves to get to the bolt have been known to have some pine needles and/or sap on them. Once you get that first bolt clipped, you're in there. I love this climb and you will too! Go do it!
Last Unicorn, 5.11a 
This seldom done climb is way, way, out there, and not just in it's approach. The first pitch has ground fall potential and the after the fact second pitch doesn't have the 5 star reputation of the first. I haven't done this climb and not many others have either. It's in a very, very beautiful, remote, wild, and fantastic area of the park. If you are very confident, talented, and solid at 5.11+, maybe this one is for you.
Hot Rocks, 5.11c 
This campground classic is a good one. The crux, down low on the climb, is unfortunately not well protected. This climb is 9 out of 10 times toproped, and often people who lead it have toproped the climb before. It's steep, sunny in the afternoon, and very easy to get to. The crux is just a move or two, with finger strength and reach a plus. This is an excellent climb: go do it!
The Blood Line, 5.12a 
This awesome line is one damn hard climb. The first time I saw this climb I was very impressed with its aesthetic line of ascent and overall presence..... it's a slanting, bold and very attractive looking way out there on Queen Mountain on the Olympic dome. There is some bolt protected face climbing which leads to the awesome crack, and it wanders a bit and isn't protected like a gym climb, but the crack is the real business. This climb took the very talented first ascentionist many days to get the red point. If you get off on very hard crack climbs in a very beautiful and isolated wilderness setting, you've found your challenge here. It's a stunning looking route, but way out of my league as a mortal.
Leave it to Beaver, 5.12- 

Leave it to Beaver

A local favorite, this hard route sees many ascents. This is due to a number of reasons. It is very easy to get to, the climb is very good, and the crux section can be "wired" with many repeated attempts. This climb is toproped nine out of ten times, but has protection for those who wish to lead it. It is rarely onsighted but has many leads and a number of solos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Black Diamond, 5.12 
Another very beautiful looking climb in a very beautiful and isolated setting. this climb "supposedly" shut down John Bachar on his first attempt, but he returned later to send one of the best climbs in the park. The crux is down low, and this this face climb looks as good as anything anywhere. It was put up on-sight on the lead by Tom Gilje, without much fanfare. This route was originally toproped by Craig Fry who intended on putting it up on lead, but was one-upped by Gilje who drilled the bolts on-sight, on the lead with no previous knowledge other than the fact that the route did go.
Dictators of Anarchy, 5.12c 
I haven't done this route (nor will I ever because its too damned hard for me)
Equinox, 5.12c 
photo© Greg Epperson
This is an awesome splitter crack that is well known and often photographed. It still doesn't get that much traffic due to its difficult rating and most ascents are still top ropes. It has had a lot of leads, even an onsight lead. Its beautiful location, aesthetic splitter line and very challenging (and painful?) climbing make it one great climb. I've done it on aid, it goes clean as well. I understand that Peter Croft may have attempted to free solo this route (ask him about this)?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Warpath, 5.12c 
Consult Leavitt on this one
Book of Brilliant Things, 5.12d 
(see above statement)

 

 

 

South of Heaven, 5.12d 
South of Heaven
photo© Greg Epperson
The Greg Epperson picture you have all seen of this climb is truly stunning another Gilje creation, this route is supposedly very, very good. it must truly be a masterpiece.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cosmic Trigger, 5.13a 
I need info on this climb: toddgordon@joshuatreeclimb.com
The Iconolast, 5.13a 
Once called "perhaps the best route in southern California," this over hyped route sees very little action, it leads partway up a face to a hanging belay out in the middle of nowhere. I've seen people hang dogging all over it before, there is a cool DMM poster of Steve Petro on it.
The Powers That Be, 5.13a 
Another Leavitt test piece.
Hot Pants, 5.13b 
I've seen a picture of Leavitt on this very difficult face climb. The formation is rather small. It's on the cover of Vogel's 1990 Select guide.

WHY ARE ALL THESE HARD ROUTES SPRAYED WITH STARS! HELP!!!!

Have info? toddgordon@joshuatreeclimb.com
Chain of Addiction, 5.13c
Hydra, 5.13c
Ocean of Doubt, 5.13c

Ocean of Doubt

Al Bartlettís *** routes

Bartlett uses a three star system to grade the quality of the routes. The three star routes are what Allan thinks are the best routes in the park. He has lots of them, throughout his series. With Randy's 5 star system, Randy gave out only twenty three 5 star routes, with none under 5.10b.  Bartlett gives out a lot of his three star ratings once again, here's my jaded biased comments on the three star mega classics.  As for moderates, Bartlett only has about 20 routes 5.9 and under.

Eye, 5.3
This great route is steep on big buckets, has great views, and is fun and exciting. Just because its rated 5.3, don't think its a gimme. It's slippery in some spots and scary for a new leader (and sport climbers), it's intimidating steepness, some bird shit covered holds, and poor pro. Give this climb some respect. It's a great climb, located right in the camp ground. Climb through the eye, enjoy the view, and walk off the backside.
White Lightning, 5.7
This great climb is one of the most frequently climbed in the park. It's moderate rating, excellent pro, short approach and good climbing no doubt has a lot to do with this route's popularity. Bring wide stuff and enough of it so as not to run out. You need to set your own anchor too.  There is a bolted rappel off to the right.  This climb is often busy, especially on the weekends. It is shady in the afternoon, so not a good choice on cold days.
Double Cross, 5.7
This excellent straight in splitter is one of the best moderate crack climbs in the park. unfortunately, very Unfortunately it has also been the scene of some very bad accidents. If you can hand jam and place protection, it's safe. Located in the campground, sunny all afternoon, and gets climbed almost every day of the year, often many times a day on the weekends. Bring wide stuff and enough stuff to protect it the way you want to. Anchors off to the right. Be careful, be smart, don't be a casualty.
SW Corner of Head Stone, 5.7
This excellent climb is the best moderate climb in the park. Moderate rating, easy approach, thrilling climbing and superb summit make this a true mega classic. This route is not an easy 5.7, does not have gym type pro and the exposure can be very intimidating for the new leader. Even the rappel off the back is scary! This is a wonderful climb. After you do it once you'll want to do it again and again!
Mental Physics, 5.7 
If you see people walking into the South Wonderland there is a good chance they are going to go do this striking two pitch climb. Sometimes there are even lines at the base of this climb! The first pitch has excellent jamming with great pro, and the second pitch is face climbing with a few bolts. The rappel station is off to the right. This is a wonderful climb and very popular. It's sunny south face make it warm in the winter months, and it's isolated, beautiful location and awesome views add to the climbs quality. This could be the most popular climb in the Wonderland.
Gem, 5.8
This and the Colorado Crack are both in this hidden corridor.  Both are moderate good trad climbs (see Colorado Crack).
Cryptic, 5.8
Along with its sister climb SW Corner, 5.7, this climb is awesome.  It's steep, airy, and on positive holds.  It also gets you to the top of the pinnacle summit. Don't forget to look for the perfect knob to sling to protect the last few exposed moves. Everyone should go do this route... now! Why are you still reading? Go!
Colorado Crack, 5.9 
Colorado Crack
This is an excellent trad climb in a hidden corridor.  Also nearby is the Gem, 5.8, another trad crack. Both have excellent jamming and excellent protection. People frequent the area, usually to do these two climbs. So share with others that are in the area as well. This is a shady area and can be cold in the winter.
Invisibility Lessons, 5.9
Excellent trad hand crack in a cool area with a shorter approach, this and the nearby Continuum, 5.8 are usually what people come to this area to do. So if others are there, get in line, you won't be disappointed. There are other climbs nearby but they are much harder. These can be top-roped, but Continuum is hard to TR because it leans and slants a bit to the right.
Popular Mechanics, 5.9
This very cool corner is located in the beautiful White Cliffs of Dover area. The rock here is some of the best in the park being very compact and grayish, almost like Tahquitz granite. This is a good trad lead. The crux is down low and it takes excellent pro. Branching off from this climb is the excellent Ace of Spades, which shares the same start. This is a good area to spend a day or three, as there are lots of cool climbs here. The 30 min approach keeps crowds away. It's often cold here in winter months.
Direct South Face Moosedog, 5.9 
This popular climb goes up a striking line on the big roof in the campground. Its difficult roof moves have been called a sandbag by some.... and it is. Just be a solid 10a climber and you'll have no problem. The rest of the climb is moderate. The route is in the sun most of the day, the sunset at the top of the formation is an awesome sight. The rappel is exciting also. This is a great multi pitch route.
Cake Walk, 5.9 
This excellent climb has great protection, great climbing and some length to it. Its short approach and sunny location add to its popularity, and it's considered by some to be "soft touch" for its rating. A great outing.
Rock Candy, 5.9
This excellent climb has great protection, using thin nuts, small TCU's and a few bolts. The area is beautiful and shady. Probably the best climb in Rock Valley Garden.
Touch and Go, 5.9
One of J-Tree's best moderate crack pitches. This climb is steep, has great moves, nice rock, and great pro. placing the pro can be a little strenuous, but it's good. The descent is a bit involved but not too bad. This climb is often in the shade. This and the short walk to such a classic climb make it often crowded on the weekends.
Silent Scream, 5.10a 
This very popular Indian Cove route is excellent.  It's right by the road and it usually has a top rope on it, especially on the weekends. It has steep, fun climbing on excellent rock. To set up a top rope, some creativity is needed as the route leads to the top of a small pillar, but the anchors are behind the pillar in a crack. There are a few other routes on this formation that are also excellent. Please be courteous to other climbers and share the climbs!!!!
Right V Crack, 5.10a 
This is another extremely popular Indian Cove climb, located right in the campground near the popular Short Wall. It is a rad climb, yet very strenuous lead.  Many consider this climb a sandbag at 5.10a.  I've heard it called anything from 5.10a to 5.10c. It has also been soloed several times. This is one of very few crack climbs that has piton scars, as this used to be a very popular aid route in the 60's and 70's. It is a good climb to practice aid techniques too, but this ties the climb up for awhile, which would be bad style, especially on a busy weekend when others want to free climb it.
Head Over Heels, 5.10a 
This is a popular, reachy, strenuous climb at the  Hemmingway Buttress. There are two ways (or more?) to do the crux, both are stretchy and strenuous.  Some consider this climb a sandbag at 5.10a, but everyone agrees that this climb is excellent and exciting . Hemmingway is a shady area so you'll freeze your balls off in the winter months.
Loose Lady, 5.10a  
Loose Lady is one of the most popular moderate face routes in the entire park. It's name comes from the fact that it used to be loose and flaky, but after literally thousands of ascents it has now been licked clean. The one hard move is down low and well protected. Some people consider the bolts to be widely spaced. On a windy day this balancey climb is scary, so keep this in mind. There is a two bolt belay/rap station on top. This is a must do Joshua Tree classic. It gets climbed quite often so just be patient and wait your turn. There are other routes to do in the area while you wait. Go try Gaines's new route around the corner?
Exorcist, 5.10a 
This superb finger crack is a favorite and has excellent climbing and pro. You have to be able to hang of finger locks to place the pro, which can be very strenuous. A bolt protects the reachy crux moves, and there is a rap anchor right above the climb. People have grounded on this climb with hard moves right off the ledge that you start on, so be careful. There is nothing wrong with placing pro from the ground to save your ankles! Bird of Fire, 5.10 +
Youíve probably seen pictures of this wonderful crack climb in a magazine before. This excellent and very popular crack climb is a very, very good climb, with a steep and exciting finish. The protection at the bottom before you get to the main crack is a bit sketchy, so be careful here. The top steep section goes from fingers to locked hands, but the gym climber may opt for face holds, which are beside the crack. This climb is often cold during the winter season. There are other very good climbs near by, and it is rare to have this area to yourself. Be kind, curious, and share. Once you do the 4th class scramble to the ledge, it's a great hang spot.
Third Times a Charm, 5.10 b
This is a fun Indian Cove climb with a short, bolt protected crux. There is a variety of climbing in this route, and it usually doesn't have anyone on it. This climb used to be a dicey aid climb; but with modern gear and the added bolt at the crux, it can be adequately protected for the modern free climber. Remember that 5.10 at Joshua Tree can be difficult.
Witch Hunt, 5.10 b
I haven't done this Gilge Arete Climb. I'll go do it and let you know what I think. Feel free to send me info on this climb if you've done it.
Taxman, 5.10 a/b
This very cool splitter has a finger jamming crux. The climb has excellent pro, is steep, and is a great trad lead. The top part does get a bit wide, so bring bigger stuff for the top. This is a shady area in the afternoon and often cold in the winter months.
Poodles are People Too, 5.10 b
Thin crux, good pro, easy access, great climbing. This is a very popular and excellent climb. Bring some TCU's and stoppers too. This area is shady in the afternoon and often cold in the winter months.
Bird on a Wire, 5.10 a
This wonderful multi-pitch classic on a big sunny wall is the best route on the Lost Horse Wall. It's direct line, very good pro, cool climbing, and excellent position makes it a favorite and very popular. The crux is very short and considered by many to be soft touch, for Joshua Tree anyways. The descent is a scramble off right.
Run for Your Life, 5.10 b
This is one of the best face pitches in the Park. The rock is excellent, the climbing exciting, sustained, and challenging. The first bolt is rather high, but on fairly easy (J.T.) climbing on positive edges. There are 5.10 moves on this climb a bit away from bolts, so heads up. This is a great climb, for confident 5.10 leaders. Its shady in the afternoon, and often cold on the fingers in winter.
Shock Therapy, 5.10 c/d
EBGB's, 5.10 d
This is a very excellent and exciting face climb, in the sun and near the road. Be forwarned, this is a heads up lead. The opening moves have been called 5.11 (by almost everyone who climbs it), but you can pull through and cheat on the very difficult opening moves. The top face moves are run out and slabby. To give you an idea of what's up with this climb, let's just say that Lynn Hill took a 20' plus whipper on this route and Tucker Tech broke his ankle on this route. If you are solid, confident, and have a cool head, go for it!
Importance of Being Earnest, 5.10 +
I believe that this is possibly the best climb at Hemingway. It's steep, challenging yet desirable, exciting, and just a great climb. There used to be a fixed copperhead on this climb for lead pro (gulp!), but I think there's other pro available. This climb is often top roped, because there is a commonly used rap station at the top of this route. Go do this route!
I Can't Believe it's a Girdle, 5.10 -
I have mixed feelings about this fantastic route. It is truly a masterpiece of a climb, with great exciting climbing, wild positions, and in a wonderful setting. It also is 4 pitches long, which for Joshua Tree is almost unparalled in length. The protection is less than desirable, and some find the whole experience dysphoric because of the run outs and potential bad falls, for both leader and follower. If you are in a party of 3 or more and you go in the middle, well....that's a different story. When you follow, you can safeguard yourself by leaving a piece of webbing at certain bolts, and belaying yourself with an extra 40' piece of rock and a jumar (figure it out....). If you have steady nerves, confidence, and are solid at 5.10, this climb is just fabulous. If you are not quite up to par for this climb, it could just be your worst nightmare.
Solid Gold, 5.10 a
Solid Gold
This is an excellent climb, fairly popular, multi-pitch, and goes up an awesome piece of rock on an awesome formation. It does have certain characteristic which you might want to know about. The first pitch is steep, on crimpy dimes, and is adequately protected but still possible to take some long whippers. Some find the edges sharp, painful, and unenjoyable, but if you are good at crimpy dime climbing, you'll love it. The 2nd pitch, I personally find more enjoyable, although at the land of the 2nd pitch here is this sort of mantle move (about 5.8) way out from pro. Some do the 1st pitch of Solid Gold, then continue straight up moderate (5.8?) crack of the 2nd pitch of My Laundry. Rap down to packs. Remember that in winter this face is cold and often windy. This climb has a very good reputation, and is a sought after "classic." Go do and see for yourself. Climbing on the Astrodomes rules, no doubt.

 

 

Dangling Wo Li, 5.10 a
This is my favorite of the Big Horn Mating Grotto routes. It's steep, fun, juggy, and cool. This area is protected in its small niche, but still can be a cold place in winter. Follow maps to this beautiful, secluded area. Don't be surprised if others are there too, because the guides give the few climbs here many (too many?) stars.
Caught Outside on a Big Set, 5.10 a
(see Randy's ***** comments)
No Self Respect, 5.10b
This, and it's sister climb No Self Confidence (5.10c) are both excellent jamming cracks, and, in my opinion, worth the very long hike out to climb them. If you are good at Yosemite-type hand slamming, you'll love these and think they are a cruise. If your jamming skills are not your stronger point, it could be a battle. These climbs are way out in the North Wonderland, so far out there that if others are there too (which is unlikely), you'll be glad to have some company! This climb is excellent, and sunny in winter too.
No Self Confidence, 5.10c
This excellent climb is a lot like it's nearby sister. No Self Respect (5.10b) Go do this Yosemite-like hand slammers! They rule (so does the nearby Booglesby 5.10 c). Sunny in winter.
Treasures of the Sierra Madre, 5.10 +
(see Vogel ***** comments)
Big Mo, 5.11 a/b
One of Joshua Tree's most popular 5.11 - climbs. It's short approach, gym type moves, easy T.R. set up, and usual festive atmosphere makes this a clear favorite. The crux move, relatively low, is reachy and the top moves pumpy. There is usually a rope on this climb all day every Saturday and Sunday, so if it's your rope, share with others, you'll feel just like you're at you're local gym, pulling down on your favorite top rope, with an audience watching you flag, dyno, flex and send. This climb is in the shade in the afternoon, which means cold in winter months. Maybe when you're there some superstar will solo on through, making the hard moves that he/she has ruthlessly wired seem trivial.
Swept Away, 5.11 a
This sunny route is 2 pitches, has great positions, fun moves, and good protection. Itís crux section is short, and it's stellar reputation well deserved. Here is a 5.11 a at Joshua Tree which will probably not beat you up too bad, but will still challenge you adequately. A wonderful and excellent climb, which takes a bold line up an awesome buttress. This climb is close to the road, and probably not as fun on a windy day. Itís a bit run out on easy ground (down low), so watch yourself. A bit creepy for the follower when you are down low, with a feeling that if you slip, you could pendulum off the climb.
More Monkey that Funky, 5.11 +
This novel climb ascends a big roof, and requires you to climb quite a ways on hand jams totally upside down. The roof part is fun, fairly solid if you know how to jam, and really a kick in the ass fun. Turning the roof is so hard and usually only pulled off in good form by super heroes. Almost always t-roped and rarely led, this climb is weird in a super cool and fun way. It's close to the road, definitely worth a visit and a burn or two, and an experience you won't soon forget. Some people also enjoy a back belay for the roof part, to initialize the swing should you come off, and to safeguard a bungle at the start of the upside down part. Tape up, psyche up, and pump out. And when you are ready to turn the roof, with the veins in your neck as big as #2 pencil, think about John Bacher casually free soloing this climb, fully under control and not straining a muscle at all. Some big holds at the lip have follow or been pulled off, but I don't think the climb really got any harder than it was before. The 5.11 + moves after you turn the roof are still the same.
Shakin' Like Milk, 5.11 b/c
This is the easiest of the Love Nest Sport climbs and a wonderful climb. The 3 Love Nest Routes are some of the best sport climbs in the park, and they are 3 side by side to boot. The short approach, excellent climbing, and sunny locating make them a favorite for the gym types. There are a limited number of climbs here, so please share if others are visiting too. Anchors on top.
Snake Book, 5.10d
Randy gives the Snake Book 5.11b, but I think Al's 5.10d is closer to it's realistic rating. It's got steep exciting stemming up a corner with adequate protect on good rock. Most people send this climb, but it's still quite challenging. Don't forget to do "The Rattler" while your visiting Emerald City.
Figures on a Landscape, 5.10 b/c
A candidate for Joshua Tree's Best Climb. See comments in Vogel *****.
Where have all the Cowboys Gone 5.10 d
This is a recent addition to the *** list. Another Gaines climb, this is a multi-pitch climb on the left side of Saddle Rocks. The first pitch is moderate (5.8) and goes up a crack on a pillar. The 2nd pitch is the business (5.10 +) and climbs flakes and the face is protected by bolts. 2 single rope raps down. If you want something easier, instead of the 5.10 + 2nd pitch, you can go out on the face right (Santa Cruz 5.9) past 5 bolts. This is also an excellent climb. [(2 raps down)]
The Rattler 5.10 c
This climb is rated 5.11a in Randy's Book. Al gives it a 5.10 c rating (personally I'd give it a 5.10 a/b...go see for yourself) It's an awesome, sunny, Yosemite-like hand-slammer. It rules! The Rattler is an excellent trade lead with fantastic jamming and steller protection. It's sunny in winter and there are other very good climbs nearby. It's downfall could be that it is a bit of a hike and on hot days it's probably not a good place to climb. The area is isolated, beautiful, and never crowded. This is probably the best cliff at Oz.
Path of the Oyster, 5.11 c
(One of the 2 excellent Oyster Bar routes) see The Oyster Bar 5.11b....climbers argue as to which of the 2 climbs is actually harder.
Split Personality, 5.11 d
This climb locks awesome and goes up a very stunning arete. I hear it's quite good and has one section that is quite hard. The oyster bar area is away from the crowds, has very good and interesting climbs.
Highway Man, 5.11 b/c PG/R
I haven't done this route. At 5.11 b/c PG/R, I won't lead it. I'll try and get more info on this.
Sweat Band, 5.10 c
This is a very good face route and one of Indian Coves best 5.10 face climbs. It's sunny in winter, takes an esthetic line and has an isolated, yet tricky crux with adequate protection. It's very close to the road, in fact it's in someone's campsite, so be respectful to the occupants of the campsite when you do this great climb.
Alfís Arete, 5.11 b
This is a very good climb and a favorite since it's first ascent quite some time ago. The bottom part is a bit creepy with hardish moves going from one side of the arete to the other. The well protected crux near the top is hard and tricky, but 5.11b is hard and tricky for most mortals, right? If you like climbing 5.11, this is one of Joshua Tree's excellent 5.11 climbs. It's shady in the afternoon and often cold in winter.
Scary Poodles, 5.11 b
I try to stay away from climbs with the word "scary" in the title. This climb is supposedly very good, has a fixed pin on it, and probably has something scary about it.
Scary Monsters, 5.11 d
This awesome climb ascends a beautiful steep dihedral with power stemming moves. I've been on it twice, and got schooled each time, but I've seen people who are strong at steep stemming "send." It's a difficult and excellent climb. It sort of short in length, but with such hard moves, doesn't seem all that short, for some reason.
29 Palms, 5.11 d
This is probably the hardest climb I've done at Joshua Tree, and I followed it. It is a very, very excellent climb with powerful, yet delicate stemming. The protection is smallish and adequate if you are strong and talented and steady enough to calmly and masterfully get the good placements. Too often, shaky quaky rattling leaders, and their limit, in way above their head, hastily place the pro, fall off, and zip pieces. If you ain't a stem master, best to T.R. this great, great climb. You probably won't have to wait in line to do this, either, but it does get visited now and then.
Acid Crack, 5.12d
A short, difficult, powerful climb, with pumpy sequential moves. I remember Dan McQuade going to this climb often. He loved it, for some reason. It's supposedly an excellent climb.
Evil Tree, 5.11+
This Lechlinski route is located in a seldom visited area. This climb is not very popular, probably very difficult, and supposedly excellent.
White trash, 5.11+
There are 2 climbs called "White Trash" at Joshua Tree. This is the hard one. Not a popular climb, in a very isolated and seldom visited area, very difficult, and probably very good.
Blood of Christ, 5.11 d/5.12 a
This and the other climbs on the Wall of Biblical Falacies, are all sort of short. Have you seen the footage of Mari Gingerly on this in one of those climbing videos? Looks difficult, and is probably the best route on this wall.
Stand And Deliver, 5.12 a
This climb looks like a bolt ladder, and went through a chopping, replacing phase. I hear it's difficult and excellent for those of you who climb at that grade. It's sunny in the afternoon too.
Hot Rocks, 5.11 b
(see Vogel ***** comments).
Moonbeam, 5.12 d/5.13a
(steep climb on east face of Peyote Formation) One of the highest concentration of very difficult, easily accessible hard routes in the park. Shade in afternoon.
Baby Apes, 5.12 b
Difficult quality route on east face of Peyotes. Shade in afternoon. Easy to get to high concentration of quality, steep, hard climbs.
Rastafarian, 5.12 d/5.13 a
Difficult quality route on east face of Peyotes. Shade in afternoon, easy to get to, high concentration of quality, hard, steep climbs
Dial Africa 5.12 b/c
Difficult quality route on east face of Peyotes. Shade in afternoon. Easy to get to, concentration of quality, hard, steep climbs.
Apartheid, 5.12 a/b
Difficult, quality route on east face of Peyotes. Shade in afternoon. Easy access. Concentration of quality, hard, steep climbs.
Wangerbanger 5.11 c/d
An excellent crack climb, and one of Joshua Tree's best hard cracks. The hand section is short, and it's thin hands, so it's easier if your hands are small. Often the crux is still hard, but do-able and with pro. Often top-roped, but an excellent, proud, worthy lead. Get's morning sun.
Chicks for Free, 5.12b
An old aid route that was freed. Goes to the top of a small, blocky pillar. Not often done, but supposedly quite good. Looks very hard.
Jane Addiction, 5.11b
One of Joshua Tree's most popular 5.11 climbs. Short route, good pro (especially at the crux), easy to reach, easy to set up as a top rope. This climb has fun, powerful moves, and a long reach down low. Finger strength a plus. Some climbers go here so often that they get the moves wired, so they can stroke their fragile egos and show off for their friends. Located in the popular Hall of Horrors area, with lots of other quality stuff near by.
Silver Lining, 5.11b
Another Gaines quality route. I haven't done this route. Bob says it's excellent and an excellent rock. Go do it and let me know what you think.
We Don't Need No Stinking Badges, 5.11 b/c
An excellent sport route. One of the Love Nest Trio of superb sport climbs.
Boys Don't Cry, 5.12a
One of the Love Nest Trio of excellent sport climbs. I hear this is a "do-able" climb, probably meaning that if 5.12 is your bag, you might succeed on this. If you like hard climbs, I hear this is a very good one.
Soul Fusion, 5.12a
I've seen the very cool pictures of climbing on this spectacular poised route. I hear the lead is a bit scary, and I've also heard, for people who climb at this level, that it's a very, very good climb.
Cutting Edge, 5.13a
This climb ascends a very defined edge on headstone rock, one of Joshua Tree's premier spire summits. I've heard the climbing is very hard, the falls jarring (not much rope out), and that it's a very, very difficult climb. The epoxy glue on the bolts looks ugly, but keeps the mean-spirited bolt choppers away.
Condor, 5.11 d
This climb looks cool and has a very good reputation. It's shady most of the day and at 5.11d is quite difficult.
South of Heaven, 5.12 c/d
(see Vogel ***** information)
Frontier Justic, 5.11 b
This excellent climb has wild moves over a roof, then face climbing. I haven't done it, but it's got a good reputation and the picture on the back of Al's Indian Cove Book of Jeff Archer turning the roof looks intense and exciting.
Spaghetti Western, 5.11 d
Pet Cemetery, 5.11 a/b
This is a steep, pumpy sport climb, away from the masses and sort of all by itself. The moves and protection are very gym-like, and strong plastic pullers will find this route a breeze. Chubby or weak trad climbers will struggle and battle this modern big hold jug haul.
Pat Adams, 5.11 +
This very steep jamming, stem, lieback climb will pump you out until you are seeing stars, and purple tracers. It's angle is so steep it seems over hanging and the powerful moves would pump out Schwartzenegger himself. It's difficult to get the pro just right on this climb, and climbers have taken some good whips on this not-so-long climb, so be careful on the lead. Join the local gym for a year or three, buy a bowflex, eat some steroids, then hop on Pat Adams dihedral. It's one of the best short cracks in the Park.
The Oyster Bar Routes, 5.11 b
The two Oyster Bar routes are excellent on a positive, pumpy steep small knobs. This small face is unusual for Joshua Tree, and if you have strong fingers and got the gym moves down, you'll find this climb dreamy. If you haven't been working out as much as you like, and or gained a few pounds over the holidays, you could get denied. Well worth a visit, and you'll have fun even if you get your butt spanked on these cool routes.
Bridge of Sighs, 5.11 b/c
This strenuous route is excellent with wild stemming on steep rocks. Unfortunately, the pro is tricky to place and less than what you would like or probably need. This climb was the scene of a serious accident where the leader fell off the climb and seriously injured the belayer he fell on. Be careful and wary of this one. A great top rope!