Banana Cracks Rock is a small formation in Joshua Tree National Park's
Entering Joshua Tree National Park from the western entrance and driving down Park Boulevard you will see many singular formations on both sides of the road. Some of these formations are literally next to the road such as Roadside Attractions Rock
and some others such as Dihedral Rock
and Banana Cracks Rock a bit further. Although this rock is over-shadowed by its much larger neighbor, Hemingway Buttress, it still gets its share of popularity. The main reason for this popularity is the steep cracks on its west face.
Banana Cracks Rock is short, only about thirty five feet, but it sits on top of a jumble of large boulders about another thirty five feet high themselves. The approach to the base is somewhat precarious to say the least. Some climbers rope up for the low fifth class direct approach to the base. The safest approach, however, seems to be scrambling on large boulders on the left side of the west face. In either case, if a climber thinks he/she is ready for the difficult climbing on Banana Cracks, then they are willing to make the awkward approach to the base.
Although there is a difficult bolted route on the overhanging arete of this rock, most people come for the crack lines, most likely for the Right Banana Crack, rated 11a. The Left Banana Crack, rated 10b, makes for a good warm up route for the real objective, the Right Banana Crack. To descend you can either rappel from the top or scramble down the left side.
Select Routes of Banana Cracks Rock, west face
|A||Papaya Crack, 11a, standard rack|
|B||Left Banana Crack, 10b/c, standard rack|
|C||Right Banana Crack, 11a, standard rack|
|D||Trails of Poodles, 10b, standard rack|
Northeast face of Banana Cracks Rock seen from the approach trail.
From the west enterance to Joshua Tree National Park, drive about eight miles to a large paved parking area with a bathroom. This parking is about two miles past Quail Springs parking, and it has its own sign, “Hemingway” indicating that you have arrived. Looking toward the west you will see the elongated Hemingway Buttress at a few minutes walking distance.
There are at least two trails heading out toward different nearby formations and an Access Fund trail leading toward the main Hemingway Buttress. Head toward Hemingway Buttress for about a hundred feet then go right toward a clump of rocks on the right. Go around the rock to see the west face. Banana Cracks are unmistakable.
Camping, Noise considerations, Environmental concerns,
Typical Joshua Tree landscape
Please tread lightly. The Access Fund has gone to great lengths posting trail marker for approaches to many of the more popular crags. Do your 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.
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 following link to get more information in advance.
Joshua Tree Camping
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.