My first day of climbing at JTree involved 13 different routes, the majority of which were concentrated at the Hall of Horrors. We had camped at Ryan the night before and incurred quite a heavy frost. By early morning we were climbing sans shirts at the Hall of Horrors area. We spent most of the day there, beautiful weather, until we finished off across the way at Saddle Rocks. During the entire day we only came across one boulderer and one other pair of climbers on a mid-day, late February, early March. The west face of the east wall is obviously a good afternoon objective during the winter months.
The west face (east wall) of Hall of Horrors is the largest face in the Sheep Pass area short of Saddle Rocks. This face is divided up in the new guidebook (2011) as the North End, Exorcist area, Troy Block and the Jaws area. The routes are a combination of classic crack climbs like the Exorcist (5.10a) and Nurn’s Romp (5.8) as well as several face climbs, Casual (5.9) and Love Goddess (5.12a). The Exorcist area consists of six routes with several 100' classics. Obviously a great place in the winter during the afternoon with good shade offered in the mornings.
Follow Park Blvd to Loop road past the Ryan campground. Next parking area on your left will be the Hall of Horrors. From the parking/rest rooms, head straight north for the right side of the long Hall of Horrors wall in front of you. Follow the trail signs to the right end of the wall and circumvent back to the center of the northwest wall where you will find an obvious 5.8 crack to the top (Nurn’s Romp). Exorcist (5.10a) is just a few meters further right. Jaws (5.6) is all the way down on the right side of this northwest facing wall. Exorcist, Jaws and Nurn’s Romp are all marked with their own signs (2011).
The Routes are Listed Left to Right as you Face the North Wall
- Lickety Splits 80’- 5.7/*
- Lickety Dogs 80’- 5.9/
- Diamond Dogs 80’- 5.10a/** This is a fascinating route and second best only to the Exorcist in the Hall of Horrors in my opinion. Most no doubt top rope it from the easier routes to the left, but it is an interesting lead. Stick a C4#4 up deep on the first major under cling grab. Continue moving right up the strenuous flake (harder than it looks). If you have a C4#6 you can place it, but it is rattly. Bottom line is the start of this route has fall potential. Mantel the obvious horn. From there, you climb up and left on intricate slab moves. Do not hang with the remaining flake for too long. Move up and left on slab where you can get a sloper with not much for feet. Mantle up on that and follow two bolts to a fixed anchor. They are run out but protect the crux face moves which still offer some decent 5.9 climbing. Dow
- Nurn’s Romp 80’- 5.8/** This is a fantastic hand crack to warm up on. It is the most obvious route on this side of the formation. The start has a bit of easy off width, then into the crack with all the medium gear you want. The old guide book calls for you to jump across the void on your left at the top to walk off the route. No worries, only a 10% chance you might go to the hospital. Or......you can simply rap Exorcist with a 60m rope which should be your next route anyway, a super classic 5.10a. Just walk the ledge out climbers right. Not knowing this, I soloed down the east side, only to look up and see a feature rap on that side as well. Dow
- Exorcist 100’- 5.10a/*** Robert’s guide book says 60’, but it might be more comfortable for some to belay at the base of the wall which is 100'. However if you will scramble up to the ledge below the crack itself, it offers a fantastic position. This namesake for the west face of the east formation is one of my favorites at JTree. You climb a beautiful thin finger crack with relief at the feet from time to time making it a 10-/5.9+. Layback facing left, then right. Just small lay back moves off of finger and ring locks. The crack vanishes at a bolt where you make one crux balancing move (right finger edge) to a huge horn. Make a physical mantle to easier ground above. The rap is up and left and a 70m makes it all the way back to the ground. All finger pieces. Dow
- It 60’- 5.9/*
- Antichrist 30’- 5.11a/*
- That 25’- 5.10b/
- What It 100’- 5.8/