Ancient Kingdom, 5.7-5.9

Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Lat/Lon: 34.08661°N / 116.15551°W
Activities: Trad Climbing
Season: Spring, Fall, Winter


Overview/Approach

Spanish Bayonet, 5.9**
Dow leading Spanish Bayonet, 5.9**

Johnson Canyon is often overlooked at Indian Cove.  There are not many routes up this short canyon and normally you are either hanging closer to the campground or heading up the much more significant Rattlesnake Canyon.  However, if you are chasing down all the 5.9 recommended routes in Miramontes guide, Spanish Bayonet, 5.9**, will draw you up to perpendicular walls that form Ancient Kingdom.  And it is a stellar 5.9 trad lead assisted by one bolt.  Carmania, 5.7*, formed by the corner of these two walls is a worthy climb as well.  Babylonia, 5.7*, I soloed and found unremarkable.  However, when combined with routes on the Left Entrance Wall (Reeeeally (sic) Good, 5.10c**), which you pass on the way in to Ancient Kingdom, you can get a full half day of climbing milked out of Johnson Canyon. 

Park at the Short Wall parking area which allows day parking.  Hike southeast towards an unremarkable canyon (photo) which is located west of Rattlesnake Canyon.  Head up the drainage passing Left Hand Entrance wall on your left and continue up and left to the sloping base of two walls meeting.  Spanish Bayonet is the obvious lightning bolt crack on the left wall, Carmania is the obvious corner between the walls and Babylonia goes up the right wall through a wide feature.

Routes Listed Left to Right as you Face East

Carmania, 5.7*
Dow leading Carmania, 5.7*

Spanish Bayonet- 75’-5.9**/ Lynn Hill found this gem.  If this classic crack climb in good rock were any closer to the road, it would be considered one of the better 5.9 trad climbs in the entire park.  The traverse in from right to left is the crux of the climb making a long stem left via finger edges.  Then up a beautiful varnished finger crack to almost the top, then traverse right and up to the fixed rap on the sloped wall.  Single rack to C4#2 along with a few wires and/or offsets.  One bolt off the deck.  Slings for the traverse.  Dow

Carmania- 60’- 5.7*/ This is one of the better 5.7 trad routes in the park.  It offers some cool variety at the grade.  Stem up to a wide crack/corner.  Some awkward chimney or just plain off width climbing (with solid smaller gear) gets you to the juggy top for a hero move.  Difficult to set a gear top rope, better to bring up the 2nd and rap Spanish.  Single rack to C4 #3.  Dow

Babylonia- 50’-5.7*/ Not worthy of the star (recommendation) in the guide.  It looked 5.5 and I soloed it and it felt 5.5.  Climb up the easy crack that heads up and to the right side of the block that forms Carmania.  Zig zag a bit through the wide and finish up and right.  Carmania is way more technical a pitch for the grade than Babylonia.  Dow








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