The most beautiful hiking at the City of Rocks can be found in what Bingham labels the North Fork Circle Creek area. One of the larger faces at the City is named Steinfell’s Dome which is accessed via a separate and dead end road named Circle Creek Overlook. This road is a right hand turn before you make the main City of Rocks right hand turn. It is well signed and this trailhead services both the Steinfell area as well as the outback objectives to the east of the main reserve. Stripe Rock, the Great Wall and Tahitian Wall are several of the main climbing areas, but the rock croppings laid out in these huge flowering meadows are vast and varied. Stripe Rock centers the area and gaining its summit gives you a solid scouting opportunity to determine where you are going next.
Dike clearly visible
Stripe Rock only offers a couple classics and they are in the low grade range, Dike of Gastonia and Cruel Shoes, both 5.7. Gastonia is by far the most interesting of the two in that it follows a 250’ by meter wide dike from just above the ground to the very summit. Cruel Shoes is more common if simply because it is a sport climb. The huge dike is obviously a more striking feature but offers less protection. Both are multi-pitch climbs.
Park at the Circle Creek Overlook Trailhead at City of Rocks. Follow the road beyond the gate northwest from the parking area. Take a left through another gate following the road through huge meadows. Continue west and soon you will easily make out Stripe Rock as the dome shaped feature with a huge dike running up its left side (the “stripe"). Turn right after Bucketland (all well signed in 2013) and proceed through another gate at the creek. Cross the creek and head up to the base of the east face.
East Face Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
Dike of Gastonia- 5.7**/
This could be the premier solo route at the City. It is deserving of as many stars as any other 5.7 I would assume, but it is not sustained at the grade (most of it is mid-5th class), thus the only reason I can imagine Bingham gave it less stars than Cruel Shoes, a sport climb to the right. It is very aesthetic. Even if roped up, I see it as more of a two pitch climb than three. The first pitch is to access the start of the dike and contains the only 5.7 moves (slab). Some might consider this a bit run out, depending on experience I guess. I slung two trees and placed a piece to reach a huge slung horn at the base of the dike. To start the second pitch, pull the horn to start the dike and climb up the ladder! Your only pro from there will be slung horns. I chose to have my wife simul-climb on a 70m rope for less than 5 meters to reach the very top of the dike where I could establish a comfortable belay by slinging the top. Rap Poly-Stick-Em just to the right with a single 60m no worries. One of the raps is hidden in a hole, third one down I believe. Four raps to the ground. Dow
This beautiful face climb reaches the top of Stripe Rock in three bolted pitches. The rock is clean and the bolts are abundant making this a good choice for a beginning 5.7 leader. Radek
As Bingman says, looks great on approach. At the base, looks quite mossy.
West Face (Echo Wall) Routes Listed Left to Right as you face the Wall
Sonic Boom- 5.10b*/
Shock Waves- 5.10d**/
""You cannot stay on the summit forever; you have to come down again. So why bother in the first place? Just this: What is above knows what is below, but what is below does not know what is above. One climbs, one sees. One descends, one sees no longer, but one has seen. There is an art of conducting oneself in the lower regions by the memory of what one saw higher up. When one can no longer see, one can at least still know.""