OverviewThe Flake is located on the famous Intersection Rock and, without a doubt, is one of the most sought-after 5.8s in Joshua Tree National Park. What this climb offers is more than just another 5.8 crack. The Flake will test your skills in a number of different rock climbing techniques.
To do the Flake you need to be well versed in chimney climbing, face climbing, crack climbing, laybacking and friction climbing all at a moderate level. As in any other climb, if any part of this climb feels more difficult for the 5.8 rating, you should know that’s your weakest skill area that you need to work on more. I personally don’t do well on friction, and it came as no surprise that the friction face near the top felt harder than it should have. The rating for this climb may be only 5.8. but you will have a feeling of accomplishment when you get to the top.
The Flake, 5.8The Flake is best done in two pitches, although some prefer to climb it in one long pitch.
Pitch one: Climb a short chimney with some creative protection placement at first. The chimney soon narrows enough to accept a 2-3 inch cam. Above the chimney, face moves and a jam crack will bring you to the base of a flake, hence the name of this climb. Layback and jam up this flake to the top of a pedestal_top of the flake. There is a nice crack for setting up your anchor here. Bring your second to the top of the flake.
Pitch Two: You’d better like friction climbing for the second pitch. Climb a short wavy friction face past two bolts to the top of Intersection Rock. A double bolt anchor on top awaits your arrival.
Congratulations, you have just proven you can lead most 5.8 climbs in Joshua Tree.
There are rappel stations on top that are pretty easy to find. If you are climbing with one rope, you will have to rappel twice.
Gear: Carry a standard rack up to 3.5 inches.
Variation on the first pitch: Some people prefer to climb the face and short layback flake just to the left of the initial chimney and bypass the chimney all together. In these photos Mark B, climber extraordinarie and guide, is using this second option.
Camping and Noise Considerations
There are nine campgrounds in Joshua Tree National Park. At the entrance to the park you are always asked if you would care to have a map and a brochure. The brochure will have plenty of information on the campgrounds and the map will guide you to many of the pleasant hikes throughout the park. You may even get the latest information as to availability of campsites. During the peak season (mid winter through spring) finding a campsite may become a major task. It is highly recommended to use the link on Joshua Tree camping and general information in advance. Joshua Tree Camping and General Information
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.
Environmental ConsiderationsPlease tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do you 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.
How To Get There
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.
Red TapeThere are no permits required to climb or hike in Joshua Tree National Park. However, there are fee requirements for entering and camping within the park boundaries.
7-Day pass for each passenger car---$15
7-Day pass on foot, bicycle or motor cycle ---$5
Joshua Tree Annual Pass/non transferable---$30
Interagency Annual Pass---$80
Campsite fees are $15/night for Black Rock, Cottonwood and Indian Cove campgrounds.
The fees for the remaining campgrounds are $10/ night.