OverviewHemingway Buttress in Joshua Tree National Park, California.
It should come as no surprise that Hemingway Buttress is so popular with Joshua Tree Climbers. You have a multitude of great routes such as Overseer on the left side, White Lightning in the center and Prepackaged on the right side of Hemingway Buttress. Originally rated at 5.9, and now upgraded to 10a in difficulty, Prepackaged deserves every number and letter grade it receives. This route was first established in 1977 and the credit for the first ascent should go to none other than the climbing legend Herb Laeger and friends.
This one pitch route is basically following a crack system that starts to the right of the center of the buttress. After the initial easy moves, the crux section begins. This section consists of climbing on a pedestal looking rock with a crack in a dihedral to your left and the edge of the pedestal to your right and not much of anything else than friction smears for your feet. The protection for this section is pretty thin and may be accomplished using small to medium nuts. After this crux section, you will be climbing on solid hand-size crack inside a dihedral to your right. This section easily deserves a 5.8 rating with many opportunities to plug in 1" to 2.5" cams. The last portion of the route will be like a walk to the top of the formation.
To descend walk north and down climb into a gully that leads to the northeasteast side of the formation.
Hemingway Buttress is northeast facing and gets the morning sun for a few hours. The best seasons to climb here is from mid autumn to late Spring.
From the west enterance to Joshua Tree National Park, drive about eight miles on Park Boulevard to a large paved parking area with a bathroom. This parking is about two miles past Quail Springs parking, and it has its own sign, “Hemingway” indicating that you have arrived. Looking toward the west you will see the long and narrow Hemingway Buttress formation at a few minutes walking distance.
There are at least two trails heading out toward different nearby formations and an Access Fund trail leading toward the main Hemingway Buttress. Prepackaged is to the right of the center face routes. Scramble on and around a few large boulders to the base.
Essential GearOne 60 meter rope, standard rack, pro small nuts to 2.5 inch cams, slings,
Camping and Noise Considerations
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