Ride a Wild Bago is the name of a route on Sport Challenge Rock in the Real Hidden Valley area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.
If you have even walked around the Nature Loop Trail in the Real Hidden Valley of Joshua Tree, you have walked right past Sport Challenge Rock. The northeast face of this rock is overhanging and offers a number of very challenging routes. The southwest face of this rock, however, is only vertical with a number of more moderate routes. The subject of this page is one such case.
Ride a Wild Bago, rated 10a, is an interesting route that combines face climbing ability with wide crack experience. This route is located just to the right of a line of bolts up the middle of southwest face belonging to a route called "Rap Bolters Are Weak, 11c." Don't be fooled by the 11c rating, it is much harder than that. Our route, only a few feet away, is by far easier and more manageable for leading. Be warned that the protection for the first two thirds of this route is sparse.
Climb on thin flakes and small face holds past a few irregular and discontinuous cracks on the lower face to a wide crack. Transition from the face to the wide crack may throw you. To make sure you are making this move safely, place protection in the Horizontal crack at the end of the face moves. Once your feet are inside the crack, the climb becomes much easier all the way to the top.
To descend walk and scramble down the south shoulder of Sport Challenge Rock. This shoulder may also be used to climb to the top for setting up an anchor for top roping the route.
Carry a 60 meter rope, standard rack with pro up to 4 inches, slings and draws.
Southwest Face of Sport Challenge Rock
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 Park Boulevard 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.
Turn right onto the road leading to day use area with a large parking lot and bathrooms. The Trail to “Real Hidden Vally” is obvious and starts here. This trail leads to “Nature Loop Trail” and “Real Hidden Valley.”
When you get to the Loop Trail take the right fork. After a few minutes you will see a large and steep blocky rock formation to your left. That’s Sport Challenge Rock.
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
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.