Drive to Ryan Campground. Visible from the road into the campground, is a balanced rock poised above a pile of boulders. This is The Headstone, and every climber imagines him\her self on top the instant they see it. Park in the day use area (or face enraged campers and rangers that love to hand out fines). From here follow the way to the graven image of the Headstone, as any heathen climber must do. Hop among over and around boulders. Advice: Leave the sloppy pooch behind on this approach, it's too traumatic for ol' Rex. Once at the base of the rock, there are two routes, both bolted. The left is a 5.6, the SW arete, the right is Cryptic.
Follow the bolts, first climbing the face, and then closer to the right arete. After the fourth bolt, DO NOT go straight up, unless you enjoy runout 5.9. Instead, ease right, along the edge of the arete, to a crack that takes a #12 Stopper, or equivilant cam. Not only is this way easier, it's safer, and on route. A fat two bolt anchor awaits on top, but the natural pro is a vital directional piece, as the anchor is some distance from the route.
Descend by rappeling the opposite face.
This climb is best done at sunset after a long day of leading other scarier climbs. What could be a more perfect way to end the day on a short, safe route, with a topout on a narrow exposed pinnacle. If your mind is so altered, and the light is just right, you can see the shadows of the Joshua Trees dancing on the flat desert floor below.
Exactly 5 Quickdraws
2 or 3 pieces in the 1 inch or less range.
Webbing for the anchor.
For Great photos and more details, see Headstone Rock under route descriptions. It was submitted after Cryptic, but it's all good.