Alice in Wonderland, 5.9-5.11c

Alice in Wonderland, 5.9-5.11c

Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.01249°N / 116.1421°W
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing, Sport Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Fall, Winter
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Dow leading Black Rabbit, 5.10a*
Dow leading Black Rabbit, 5.10a*

One of the lessor known of the remote climbing features in Joshua Tree National Park is a perpendicular paired wall system named Alice in Wonderland.   It is located in the upper reaches of the Comic Book area in the center of the park.  The namesake route for Comic Book, 5.10a**, is the featured attraction to this area, but few other routes on this hillside get much attention.  Alice in Wonderland is aptly named as you need to “spelunk” your way through tunnels formed by large boulders to reach the base.  The local guide classifies this approach as “heinous”; something a sport climber might agree with, but anyone with a sense of adventure will concur that the approach is almost as much fun as the climbs.  And there are several good ones, both crack and bolted.

Alice in Wonderjam, 5.9**, is the main attraction, one of the coveted multi starred 5.9 trad routes in Miramonte’s extensive local guide.  A true finger to fist splitter that can be seen on approach and is no doubt the feature climb of this small collection.  However, Black Rabbit, 5.10a*, is every bit as good and this coming from a dedicated trad climber.  Black Rabbit and White Rabbit are both bolted slab climbs on the perpendicular wall to the right of the main wall where Alice is located.  Black Rabbit is one of the better (moderate) bolted arête climbs in the park .  White Rabbit, 5.10aR*, is on the left side of the same wall and shares the same fixed rap anchor as Black Rabbit, but climbs typical slab face through two bolts vs the well bolted fun arête climbing on Black Rabbit.

Dow leading Alice in Wonderjam, 5.9**
Dow leading Alice in Wonderjam, 5.9**

Park at the side road parking area designated by a trail marker (2018) for the hike into Comic Book.  It is located on the right not even a half mile north of the left turn for the large Echo Tee parking area.  There are multiple pull off parking areas.  Essentially you are looking to hike southeast skirting the rocky formations along the bottom of the large hill on your left.  Near the end, you will turn left past Sinagar Rock and into what they name Box Canyon which is home to one decent 5.10a trad climb named Drano.  Follow the boulder clogged gully back up and left (northeast) to the very top.  You can easily see the face that sports Alice in Wonderjam and can make out the splitter during the entire approach.  When faced with the option, fork right and stay in the main boulder field that appears to dead end.  Locate cairns (2018) that mark the start of the cave like approach experience. Burrow up several chambers through the large boulders and when you pop out at the top, you will be just meters from a sunny (December), relatively flat, oasis below both walls.  Alice in Wonderjam and Combination Jack are on the main wall and Black and White Rabbits are on the slab to your right.  The fixed rap atop Black Rabbit (50’) serves as the final descent for all the routes, meaning you must partially down climb/scramble off of the main wall to reach that anchor.

Routes Listed Left to Right as you Face the Walls

Combination Locks- 60’-5.11c*/

Alice in Wonderjam- 60’-5.9**/ An outstanding finger to fist crack in a well featured (for the grade) crack from bottom to top.  If you brought it, the C4#4 will make you feel warm and fuzzy inside, but you can easily get by without it.  A few hand and finger pieces.  You can place gear at will.  Sustained near the grade, the crux for most folks will be when it starts to get wide near the top.  Stop at the first ledge you come to and build a gear belay.  Descent is to walk around climber’s right on this ledge to a steep gully.  Descend a few meters and ascend to the fixed rap atop Black Rabbit.  Dow

White Rabbit- 50’-5.10aR*/ Not near the route of Black Rabbit, but worth doing if at the base of this wall.  Climb the slab face on the left side of the wall through just two bolts.  Not as sustained as Black Rabbit, but definitively has moves at the grade on the steep slab.  Finish at the fixed rap atop Black Rabbit.  Dow

Black Rabbit- 50’-5.10a*/ As good of a route as many of the local guide’s two star 5.10a’s.  Climb the right side arête of the perpendicular wall to Alice in Wonderjam through four well placed bolts.  Great movement keeping your right hand moving up the sharp arête through the first three bolts.   You leave the arête for the slab face through the final bolt to a fixed rap.  Sustained and well protected.  Dow



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