The north wall of Echo Cove is a large formation in the Echo Rock area of Joshua Tree National Park, California. Due to the extensive size of the north wall, I have chosen to divide this formation into two separate, left and right, sides. I will concentrate on the left side for this page.
Located right across from the North Face of Echo Cove and the very famous and sought after route Big Moe, rated 11a, it should come as no surprise that this formation also receives a great deal of attention. In contrast to the opposite side, the north wall of Echo Cove is generally low angle and offers a number of easy to moderate routes. Another factor that helps this general area is that it's the first formation you come to as you enter Echo Cove from the west.
Most of the more difficult routes in this area are located on an adjoining formation further to the south, across from the descent chimney, the right side. But, the left side with all of it's easier routes sees a great deal of activity on regular basis. As you approach the formation, the first route you come to is a climb called Fun Stuff, rated 5.8. This route is so much fun that it deserves at least three stars. This route involves friction face climbing past two bolts to a hand crack in a corner. It finally reaches a solid double bolt anchor.
Moving further to the right, you have a huge slab surrounded by two crack systems. The crack on the left is Chute Up, rated 5.2, and similarly, the crack on the right is another easy route called Helix, another 5.2. These two routes are the keys to reach the top for setting a top rope on the main objective, W.A.C., rated 5.8. This route climbs up the middle of the large slab. W.A.C. has it's own double bolt anchor.
Another way to reach the top of the formation is to scramble up the chimney that separates the left and right sides. This chimney is often used for descending the formation.
How to get there
Just past Intersection Rock, take the road to Barker Dam for a short distance. Shortly after getting on this road you’ll see a sign for “Key’s Ranch” Road. Take this dirt road to a large parking area on the right. Just beyond the parking area there is a sign for “Key’s Ranch Guided Tours.” You can drive further on this road to access several other climbing formations, but you will run into a locked gate for “Key’s Ranch.” Walk along the dirt road and within less than a minute the South Face Of Echo Cove will be on your right, and right next to the road. Continue walking along the road to the end of the south face where you will see another small parking area. In front of the parking area there is a sign reading "Thin Crack" pointing you into the gully/cove. The North Wall of Echo Cove, left side, is immediately to your left.
Camping, Environmental concerns, noise considerations, Fees, Food
Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do your best to stay on these trails, and where you are forced to use a different path, choose the ones that rain can mend in time. Drainages make for good trails where there are no established trails.
Avoid stepping on native and fragile plants, and do not feed the coyotes. Coyotes are very much used to people and often hang around picnic areas and camp grounds in hopes of getting a hand out. It’s better to let them live their natural life.
Joshua Tree Camping
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.
Fees and Food