Dandelion is the name of a route on The Old Woman in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
Viewed from the southeast, The Old Woman looks as beautiful as any formation in the world. From this angle, The Old Woman appears as a perfectly shaped granite pyramid. The most striking feature of the rock is a crescent crack leading to a straight up crack and a short face leading to a comfortable ledge. This is Dandelion, rated 10a.
First climbed in 1971 using a certain amount of aid, then it was free climbed by John Long and friends, Dandelion soon became a favorite route on The Old Woman formation. Climbers graduating from leading Double Cross, 5.7, Dogleg, 5.8, and Orphan, 5.9, flocked to the base of Dandelion to try their first 5.10. This route surly provided what an up-and-coming climber needed to expect entering the realm of 5.10. Dandelion, located at the entrance to Hidden Valley Campground, still attracts much attention from climbers and photo-snapping tourists alike.
Start your climb on the 4th class approach rocks at the base. Undercling and jam the unmistakable right-leaning crescent crack to gain another crack. A short distance up this crack, you will be climbing the crux of the route with a long reach from a shallow hand jam. When the crack runs out you will be climbing on a friction face past a single bolt to a ledge.
Descent: There are no easy descent routes from the top of The Old Woman. You will, however, can find a number of rappel stations on top of some of the routes. The closest rappel station to Dandelion is on top of Toe Jam to the east of this route.
Essential equipment: One standard 60 meter rope, standard rack with protection up to 2", slings.
From the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive on Park Boulevard, formerly known as Quail Springs Road, for about nine miles to a major rock formation called “Intersection Rock.” Intersection Rock is a major landmark on the north side of Park Boulevard with ample parking for visitors and climbers alike. This rock, true to its name, sit at the cross roads to Hidden Valley Campground, Barker Dam Road and the road to Day use and picnic area. Old Woman formation is located across the parking lot from Intersection Rock and right next to Hidden Valley Campground.
There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. At the entrance to the park you are always asked if you would care to have a map and a brochure. The brochure will have plenty of information on the campgrounds and the map will guide you to many of the pleasant hikes throughout the park. You may even get the latest information as to availability of campsites. During the peak season (mid winter through spring) finding a campsite may become a major task. It is highly recommended to make reservations in advance.
When you are camping with friends and sitting around the fire, it is easy to forget that there are other people trying to sleep in the nearby campsites. It is important to put yourself in their shoes. Keep the noise and music to a minimum and certainly not too much past 10 p.m. Your neighbors will smile at you in the morning instead of giving you dirty looks.
For camping and general information on Joshua Tree refer to the following link:
Joshua Tree Camping