|Note: Joshua Tree National Park is tremendously large and includes thousands of rock formations. The purpose of this page is to bring some sense of organization to many "Mountain & Rock" pages I have posted for the past two years. This particular page may be considered as a mini "Area & Range" page that will be attached to the main Joshua Tree page as a child.|
Directions to Hall of Horrors:
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 Quail Springs Road 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. Continue driving past Intersection rock to Ryan Campground clearly marked.
Hall of Horrors is a grouping of rock formations approximately one mile northwest of the Ryan Campground turn off on Park Boulevard. Use the same parking as for Saddle Rocks. There are ample parking, bathrooms and marked trails leading to different formations. Looking in the westerly direction from the parking lot you will see several rock formations. This area is known as Hall of Horrors.
North and South Horror RocksHall of Horrors, North and South Horror Rocks
West Wall, East FaceHall of Horrors, West Wall, East Face
The east face of the west wall at Hall of Horrors is generally short in height and bolted. Typical to Joshua Tree face routes, don't expect to find a bolt every four or five feet. These routes are more sporty than sport. There is one easy route in the middle of the face. This is known as Jessica's Crack, rated 5.6 established in the mid 1970s where as the more difficult bolted face routes began to appear in the past twenty five years.
Jessica's Crack provides an easy access to the top of the formation where you can find a number of double bolt anchors. These anchors provide a good way to top rope some of the more difficult routes on either side of Jessica's Crack. For those looking for face routes reaching the extremes, they can try Avant Chain, rated 12a. For a more moderate, still pretty challenging face route, try Read My Flips, rated 11a.
On the right side and somewhat separated from the rest, you can find a rather convoluted route which requires gear placement as well as bolts to reach the top. This is Read My Lips, rated 11a, and it weaves around a few overhangs to reach the bolt protected upper face and the two-bolt anchor on the top.
Exorcist Area by Dow WilliamsHall of Horrors, Exorcist Area
West Wall, West FaceHall of Horrors, West Wall, West Face
Saddle RocksSaddle Rocks
Note: Saddle Rocks are not generally known as part of Hall of Horrors. They are, however, very close to this area and I have chosen to include them in this "Area" page.
The most popular routes lie on the low angle lower summit of Saddle Rocks. A number of face routes have been done on this face, but the easiest route, Walk on The Wild Side remains the most sought after. The biggest problem on these face routes is shortage of protection. For example, the route just to the left of Walk on The Wild Side, Harlequin, rated 10c R, has long stretches of rock between bolts. This is totally understandable considering the ethics of the first ascent party that included Herb Laeger. They did the routes ground up and drilled for bolts from stances, when they could. This route is recommended for competent climbers solid on upper limits of 5.10 difficulty range. These routes are NOT sport climbs by any stretch of imagination.
If you are looking for easy to moderate crack routes, you will find two highly recommended ones located on the north end of the west face slab on the lower summit. These two crack systems are Orange Flake, rated 5.8 and Right On, rated 5.5. There are no easy walk off from the top of these two routes, but you will find anchor bolts to rappel off of to the base.