Page Type Page Type: Mountain/Rock
Location Lat/Lon: 34.03484°N / 116.13986°W
Additional Information County: Riverside
Activities Activities: Trad Climbing
Seasons Season: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter
Additional Information Elevation: 4230 ft / 1289 m
Sign the Climber's Log


southwest face

Bankrupt Rock is a rock formation in the Wonderland of Rocks area of Joshua Tree National Park, California.

Often ignored, neglected and even gone un-noticed, Bankrupt Rock is actually not such a bad formation to climb. If this small formation was close to Intersection Rock or Hemingway Buttress, you would be hard pressed to get a turn on it. The fact is, Bankrupt Rock is far from the most popular areas. Quite different from Quail Springs/Trashcan Rock, no paved or dirt roads lead to it. It is, however, right next to the trail leading to South Astro Dome and North Astro Dome. You could climb on Bankrupt Rock without seeing a single soul. In short, if you are looking for an easy day on a secluded formation that is not too hard to get to, Bankrupt Rock will fill the ticket.

The most prominent features on Bankrupt Rock are three crack systems and to that end most of the routes follow these weaknesses. There is one face route, Overdraft, 5.8, that was only a top rope problem for a long time. In the more recent years, climbers have figured a way to do this route on lead, runout as it is. They climb the nearby crack, Chapter 7, and place a piece of protection high up on the route. Then drop down into a dish/scoop and runout the rest of the route to the top on face features. Using your imagination, I have no doubt a few more face routes could be done in between the cracks.

Topo of the routes

Topo of the routes
Left side
Right side

With a name like Bankrupt Rock, it should come as no surprise that all of the routes have names to suggest some kind of financial disaster. Starting from the left is the first crack, Insolvent, 10b, probably the best route on Bankrupt Rock. The crux is some twenty feet up where the crack goes through a bulge. The next route is Chapter 7, 5.6 runout, that starts on an un-protectable seam for about twenty five feet. The crack suddenly widens to a fist size and wider for your first piece of protection. The next route is actually a more difficult variation to Chapter 7, and was described earlier on this page. The next route is Creditors Claim, 5.7 and follows the third crack on the right side of Bankrupt Rock. The last route is runout for its first thirty feet. This is Wasting Assets, rated 5.6, and starts on a low angle, unprotected face to a chimney leading to the top.

List of the routes

Routes of Bankrupt Rock
AInsolvent, 10b, Standard Rack, pro to 2.5 inches
BChapter 7, Runout, Standard Rack, pro to 4.5 inches
COverdraft, 5.8, runout, Protection to 5 inches
DCreditors Claim, 5.7, Standard Rack
EWasting Assets, 5.6, runout, Protection to 5 inches

How to get there

Yucca Plant

Take the left fork here
Shortly after the parking lot, take the left fork toward Uncle Willie's
Uncle Willie s Health Food Store
Uncle Willie's Health Food Store
The hike into Wonderland of Rocks can be a lot of fun with incredible views of rock formations and valleys. The highlight of the hike is the view of the North and South Astro Domes from a distance.

From the western entrance to Joshua Tree National Park drive on Park Boulevard, formerly known as Quail Springs Road, for about nine miles to a major rock formation called “Intersection Rock.” Intersection Rock is a major landmark on the north side of Park Boulevard with ample parking for visitors and climbers alike. This rock, true to its name, sit at the cross roads to “Hidden Valley Campground”, Barker Dam Road and the road to “Day use and picnic” area. Take the road toward Barker Dam.

To get to the trailhead to Wonderland of Rocks and South Astro Dome, drive about quarter of a mile past the Barker Dam parking on Big Horn Pass Road. This is a dirt road with a dirt parking area and a bathroom. From the east end of the parking area hike on a well worn trail for a hundred yards to a fork in the trail. Take the left fork and within a few minutes pass by the ruins of an old structure known as "Uncle Willie's Health Food Store."

Past Uncle Willie's, go left to the main wash coming down from the Wonderland area. Follow the trail next to the wash passing by a very small dam. After 15 minutes you will see the Bankrupt Rock to your right very close to the middle of the wash. This rock is located across from another rock formation with a cap on it. That formation is called Fire Me a Burger Rock and it's located high up on the hill to your left.

Camping, Noise Considerations, Environmental Concerns, Fees & Food

Joshua Tree landscape
Typical Joshua Tree landscape

Protecting native plants
protecting native plants

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.


Joshua Tree sunset
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

Noise considerations

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.

Fees and Food

Entrance station...
The best Thai food...

My wife and I have had Thai food in many different restaurants and cities. This Thai place beats them all. In November when the number of visitors to Joshua Tree reaches its peak, this restaurant puts on a Thai buffet, all you can eat for 10.95$/person. But, you must get there early, or be prepared to wait by the door for a table. The latest information indicates that the buffet style will be terminated by the end of February and will resume in November of 2010.