Arid Piles is a little-known formation located in the heart of Lost Horse Valley. That said, the formation contains over 20 published routes as of 2019, several of which are pretty damn worthy. A competent trad climber can definitely spend all day at Arid Piles and neighboring Mount Grossvogel chasing down decent leads.
Nice and Steep and Elbow Deep, 5.10b*, is located on a boulder at the northwest corner of Arid Piles and offers a stellar, but short, off-width crack. Napkin of Shame, 5.10b*, and Quarter Moon Crack, 5.10a, are side by side at the north-west end of the formation and offer solid pure trad leads at the grade. There are no bolts or fixed anchors on any of these three routes. At the southwest end, Night Gallery, 5.8, and Shooting Gallery, 5.10bR*, climb tall opposing corner systems, again, with zero bolts in sight. Shooting Galley does have a hanging block that needs to be cleaned near the finish, making it more X than R in 2019. All of the beforementioned climbs require gear anchors and can be scrambled down climbers left.
You can reach Arid Piles from either the parking at the dead end of Lost Horse road or from the parking for Real Hidden Valley. The distance is equal and the ground flat. Jimmy Cliff and Arid Piles offer enough routes to keep you busy for days. These two large formations form a triangle with Mount Grossvogel in the middle of the flat desert meadow known as Lost Horse Valley. I prefer to park at Real Hidden Valley and hike west out of the parking area on the well-established trail as you would for the popular sport climb named Loose Lady, 5.10a****. Pass its formation which sits on the right and continue out into the open desert for Arid Piles straight ahead. There is some red colored rock at the northwest corner and that is where you find the good off-width, Nice and Steep and Elbow Deep. The rest of the routes are located on the formation.
Night Gallery- 120’- 5.8/ The opposing corner system (right facing) to Shooting Gallery. Climb multiple easy corners (for the grade) to the top. Trending left to right. Gear anchor. Scramble down climbers left. Single to #3. For 5.8, a realtively secure solo. Dow
Shooting Gallery- 120’-5.10bR*/ Not recommended. Not for the R rating the local guide gives it, but rather for the X rating I give it relative to a hanging small varnished block that requires you to yard on it near the top of the chossy final corner. This block needs to be cleaned for this to be considered a safe route. Decent climbing via tips/finger stemming through semi-closed stacked corners to that point. Gear anchor. Wires and micro to small cams. Scramble down climbers left. Dow
Quarter Moon Crack- 80’-5.10a/ Definitely worth pairing with Napkin of Shame even though it is not given a recommendation in the local guide. As the name suggests, this route climbs the arcing crack to the left of Napkin (same angle as a quarter moon). The crux is the transition (rightward traverse) across chossy slab into the main feature. Small to micro gear protects as this crack peters out and you pull over to the right onto slab. Another slab move at the grade, then up and left on chossy, but lower angled, slab to a wide horizontal. Access the crack up and left, way below the grade, and set up a medium gear belay. Scramble down the gully climbers left. Single from micro to #3. Dow
Napkin of Shame- 80’-5.10b*/ One of the better moderates on Arid Piles. The obvious crack system at the north end of a large corridor at the west end of the formation, ascending the northwest arete. The crux is the transition from the left initial crack to the main crack on the right. Some cruxy pro via exposed moves. Reach into fingers and then it eases up to hands almost immediately. Widens as it climbs, but well below the grade. Medium to large gear anchor. Scramble down a gully to climbers left. Single from micro to #4. Dow
Nice and Steep and Elbow Deep- 35’-5.10a*/ A fun and short, slightly overhanging, off-width in the solid red colored rock formation in front of the north face of Arid Piles. This crack mostly faces north and received decent shade in April. I placed one #3 and #4 and felt relatively secure. Medium to large gear anchor can be extended for top rope. Scramble down climbers left. Easier than most 5.10- off-widths I have led in the park. Fists at the crux and resetting feet up higher, more physical than technical. Dow
Mr. Bunny Quits- 50’-5.10a*/
Baggage Claim- 50’-5.9/
Tower of Babel- 50’-5.10R*/
U.B. Kook- 50’-5.11a/
29 Palms- 80’-5.11d***/
39 Slaps- 90’-5.11c*/
Edge of Doom- 40’-5.10c*/
Acid Crack- 40’-5.12d***/
Just Another New Wave Route- 35’-5.9/
I’d Slap You, but Shit Splatters- 60’-5.9/
Taming of the Shoe (sic)- 50’-5.11aR*/