Al’s Crag, 5.7-5.10b

Page Type
Mountain/Rock
Location:
California, United States, North America
Activities:
Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Season:
Spring, Fall, Winter
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Al’s Crag, 5.7-5.10b
Created On: Mar 5, 2018
Last Edited On: Mar 5, 2018

Overview

Glass Onion, 5.10b*
Dow leading Glass Onion, 5.10b*
Headroom, 5.8
Dow leading Headroom, 5.8


Joshua Tree is marred at times with the gym climbing hoard who frequent Hidden Valley and its confines. But almost anywhere in the park, if you are willing to hike for a few miles, you can have a specific area completely to yourself and if the views align just right, it can even have an alpine flare as you stare out to Mount San Jacinto’s snow covered summit. 

All that said, East and West Siberia can actually be quite crowded on weekends despite the several mile hike due to the free backcountry camping nearby and the “modern” graded and bolted routes on East Siberia’s sunny face. However, few humans are found to the left (west) of East and West Siberia, on a short varnished face named Al’s Crag. This southeast facing wall has only three established trad routes as of 2018 but Miramontes guide includes another bolted route, The Glass Onion, 5.10b*, found on a short and mostly shaded wall directly behind and right of Al’s. Of the three trad routes on the main wall, Headroom, 5.8, is by far the best of those three but it is not given a star in the guide. Oral Sex Bozeman, at the same grade, is given a recommendation but is not near as interesting as Headroom. Twinkle Toes, 5.7, is a scary lead for the grade and not recommended for soling. In fact, I down climbed it due to the poor quality rock and soloed Oral Sex Bozeman to set up a top rope on Twinkle. The Glass Onion was an outstanding sport route, albeit short. It is hard to set up a top rope and in fact I recommend bringing up the 2nd and walking off directly to the back. Kahn’s Corridor is worth a visit since you are this close. It is one of the more remote feeling corridors in the whole park.

Hike in via the Boyscout Trail as you would for the Siberia faces. Al’s Crag is to the left of West Siberia’s dark face, on the opposite side of a wide boulder strewn gully. It is a short brown varnished wall that is mostly south facing. The Glass Onion is located behind it on another short wall on the right side and draws shade from the backside of Al’s Crag. The three trad routes are all obvious via natural crack lines. The Glass Onion is fully bolted and is the left most bolted route on its face. There are other bolted routes to the right that are not published in Miramontes guides as of 2018.

Routes Listed Left to Right as You Face the Wall

  • Twinkle Toes- 55’-5.7/ A bad route: difficult to protect and too nasty to solo. Start up the varnished flake and mantle up to a micro seam where micro wire placements in a sandy crack do not build confidence. Dyno for a jug so you do not have to rely on any paper thin face sloughing. Scramble down climbers left. Someone set up a slung block rappel for a 15’ section, but it is down climbable by the competent party. Dow
  • Oral Sex Bozeman- 60’-5.8*/ A secure solo for the grade. Mostly hands in a varnished crack, then traverse right to the next hand sized crack. Plenty of features and large jugs above to reach the top of the wall. Medium sized gear belay/top rope. Scramble off climbers left. Standard single rack. Dow
  • Headroom- 60’-5.8/ Even though Miramontes guide has Oral Sex Bozeman recommended over Headroom. Headroom is by far the more interesting of the two routes for the grade. A thin cruxy start gets small gear after several moves. Follow a varnished crack right, then back left and up jugs to the top of the wall. Medium sized gear belay/top rope. Dow
  • Wall behind Al's Crag main wall


  • The Glass Onion- 50’-5.10b*/ Short but fun on a shaded and varnished wall. Use a massive under cling to step up on small edges to get through the first two bolts. Use a side pull or two to get through the next two bolts. Climbing eases up to a hand crack which takes you to the top. No top rope anchors on this wall (2018). Walk off to the rear and climbers right. Dow