Heart And Sole is the name of a route on Echo Rock in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
During the early days of technical climbing in Joshua Tree the best lines on every formation were quickly located and climbed. In my humble opinion, Heart And Sole is the best route on Echo Rock. The man responsible for the first ascent of this line was no other than the prolific Herb Laeger. knowing Herb's special talent for playing with words, it is reasonable to assume that he named this route Heart And Sole because you need to bring both a strong heart and a pair of good soles, as in climbing shoes, to do this route. When you do the route you will see that the name fits the climb.
On the right hand side of Echo Rock there is a huge flake. Heart And Sole starts on a slab to the right of the flake. This slab is the first place you need to have steady nerves and a good pair of soles on your shoes. Climb on tiny flakes and smears on friction to a bolt that is a bit too high for comfort. You don't want to fall before clipping the first bolt because landing on the rocks below can be deadly. Note: I placed a small piece of protection behind a flake on the left before reaching the first bolt. It is doubtful that the protection would have held a fall, but I feel that it could have slowed down my fall.
After the first bolt climb right and up over a small roof, first crux, to another bolt. Traverse left, another crux, past a bolt and reach for the crack inside a right-facing dihedral made of the huge flake and the main formation. Using your own protections climb the 5.8 crack to the top of the flake. Note: it is safest to anchor and belay as soon as reaching the top of the crack. The rappel station is too far to the left and not very safe for your second. It is also possible to place a piece of protection and a sling near the top of the crack and belay at the rappel station. The last piece of protection and sling will function as a "directional" for your second.
To descend: rappel from the anchor bolts on top of the huge flake.
Essential Equipment: One sixty meter rope, standard rack with protection up to 2.5 inches, 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 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.
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.”
Echo Rock is visible from here and not very far. You will enter a gully from the south. Echo Rock will be on your right and the large flake/Heart And Sole base is hidden behind the overgrowth.