|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.|
Joshua Tree National Park is about 800,000 acres. Of the thousands of rock formations within the park, the greatest concentration of explored and climbed rock formations is on the west side of the park. There is, however, a smaller area that may be considered as a "mini Joshua Tree" on the east side of the park. This area is known as Indian Cove and, for the most part, is accessed via the east entrance to the park. The main climbing areas and formations are located behind campsites. It is obvious that long before this area was used for rock climbing, it was used mainly for camping. There are no paved roads here and the campsites and driveways tend to be large. In fact, many people with RVs tend to use Indian cove as opposed to the campgrounds closer to the west entrance. It is a good idea to ask for permission to cross occupied campsites to approach the rocks.
Moosedog Tower is, by Joshua Tree standards, a high rock formation. Its two tier system consists of two pitches of well featured faces with several moderate climbs on high quality granite. You will not find any sport routes here. What you will find, however, are a number of memorable trad routes.
The first documented climbing activity on Moosedog Tower dates back to 1969 when a certain amount of direct aid was used on the “Direct South Face, 5.9.” Direct South Face is one of the best climbs on Moosedog Tower and it starts on a left facing dihedral directly below the most prominent overhang on the south face. The climb by-passes the overhang by the means of climbing a bulge/shoulder to the right and continues up the cracks and face moves to the top of the first tier.
The short second pitch climbs up discontinuous cracks and face moves on the upper tier to the top.
Another great climb is Wandering Winnebago, 5.8+. This route climbs up to the prominent overhang via the same left facing dihedral as Direct South Face route. Upon reaching the overhang, the route traverses left and up, and true to its name, wanders up the face until it joins back with the direct south face route and continues to the top of the lower tier.
There have been several variations made on a number of the routes on Moosedog Tower. For the sake of simlicity, I have chosen the most standard routes.
|Climbs of Moosedog Tower|
|A||Lucky Charms, 5.7, Standard Rack|
|B||Third Time's A Charm, 10b, standard rack|
|C||Bitch In Heat, 5.9, standard rack|
|D||Wandering Winnebago, 5.8, standard rack|
|E||Direct South Face, 5.9, standard rack, a must do|
|F||Tranquility, 5.6, standard rack|
Feudal WallFeudal Wall
select routes of Feudal Wall
|A||Monaco, 11b, bolted face|
|B||Marchesa, 5.2, Standard Rack|
|C||Dum Roodle, 5.6, Standard Rack|
|D||Princess, Standard Rack|
|E||The Mikado, 5.6, Standard Rack|
|F||California Crack, 11a, toprope|
Pixie RockPixie Rock
A personal note: I top roped “Silent But Deadly” in 1992 and thought it was 10d/11a. I do realize that top roping a climb, as opposed to leading it, tends to reduce the mental factor in difficulty rating.
Climbs of Pixie Rock
|A||Lascivious Conduct, 11c|
|B||Scream Chuck, 5.7 run out|
|C||Vaino's Lost In Pot, 5.7 Run Out/ X=extreme danger|
|D||Who's First, 5.6|
|E||Rhythm Of The Heart, 5.8, X, extreme danger|
|F||Silent Scream, 10a, bolts|
|G||Silent But Deadly, 11a, bolts|
|H||Pixie Stick, 10a, top rope|
Billboard ButtressBillboard Buttress
If there is one place in the Indian Cove area you could see many people bouldering, it is on the base of Billboard Buttress. For most people the first six to eight feet of the smooth and difficult start to Gait of Power, rated 10b, is sufficient to get satisfaction and still stay within jumping down height, or down climbing to the right. Note: The start of Gait of Power is shown in light blue. The best way to do anything higher, however, is to use a rope, essential equipment, and a partner.
There are a number of moderate routes on this formation. If you are in the mood for a great hand crack, consider The Reverend, rated 5.8. This is a crack inside a dihedral on the right hand side of the west face. Another highly recommended climb is a face route on the south face called Driving Limitations, rated 5.8, and protected by a few bolts.
Select Routes of Billboard Buttress
|A||We Dive At Dawn, 5.8, standard rack|
|B||The Reverend, 5.8, standard Rack|
|C||Driving Limitations, 5.8, bolts|
Short WallShort Wall
Short Wall has traditionally been an ideal sight for climbing classes, private climbing clubs and groups. The right side with all of its easy cracks is a perfect location for beginners to learn jamming techniques. The approach to the top to set up top-rope could not be easier. Go around the formation from the right side to reach the sandy corridor separating this rock from Feudal Wall and scramble up and around boulders to reach the top of Short Wall.
The left side, however, is somewhat different in that it offers a number of more difficult routes to mid 5.10s. One of the face routes on the left side is "Double Trouble, 10a" and its first ascent goes to my good friends Herb and Eve Laeger. Unfortunately, at some point in time, the bolts protecting this route were chopped rendering it into only a top-rope problem. In addition to the list of select routes in this page, there are many more face routes that climb in between the crack systems. You will also find several face routes to the right of the last crack, "S.O.B." on the right side of this formation.
select routes of Short Wall
|A||Double Trouble, 10a, Top-Rope|
|B||Mad Race, 5.4, Standard Rack, wide pro|
|C||Bombay, 5.8, standard Rack|
|D||Calcutta, 5.7, standard rack|
|E||Double Cracks, 5.3, standard Rack|
|F||Toe Jam Express, 5.3, Standard Rack|
|G||S.O.B. 5.6, Standard Rack, wide pro|
Varnished WallVarnished Wall
Walking from the campground parking area toward the base, one feature of Varnished Wall will jump out at you. This is a perfectly straight-in crack up the middle of the smoothest part of the wall. This crack is the most popular route on the entire wall. It's called Crank Queenie, rated 5.8. No bolts here, bring your own standard rack. There are a few more moderate routes to the left of Crank Queenie such as "With Malice and Forethought, rated 5.7. This is a crack line slanting to the right located on the left side of the wall. Be careful with the three routes in the 10d and 11a range between these two easier routes.
To get to Varnished Wall:
Indian Cove is located roughly nine miles east of the town of Joshua Tree on highway 62. The sign directing you to Indan Cove is obvious. Turn right, going south, here. If you go as far the town of 29 Palms, you have gone too far. It’s about three miles from here to Indian Cove Campground. Drive south on this road to a ranger station and the enterance to the park. You will be checked at the gate for your America The Beautiful card, or will be charged an enterance fee. Driving past the gate will bring you to the Indian Cove Campground. Pixie Rock is to your right just before entering the campground. Varnished Wall is a short distance across the road to the southeast of Pixie Rock.
select routes of Varnished Wall
|A||With Malice And Forethought, 5.7, standard Rack|
|B||Mosaic, 5.8, standard Rack|
|C||Crank Queenie, 5.8, Standard Rack|
Dos Equis Wall, by Dow WilliamsDos Equis Wall
Willit PillarWillit Pillar
Routes of Willit Pillar
|A||Unknown Highway, A1, lookout for missing bolt hangers and bolts|
|B||Hollywood And Vaino, 10c, RUNOUT, standard rack|
|C||Call of The West, 5.9, standard rack|
|D||South Face Route, 5.9, standard rack|